Question: “We have a property in eastern Oklahoma that we use for whitetail deer hunting. Over the years, we’ve had good success with using food plots to provide additional food for deer in the area. We’ve been able to hold good numbers using both spring and fall plots, but I’ve heard that some hunters broadcast brassicas (rapeseed) into their soybean plots beans in early September for a winter plot. Have you heard of this practice or ever tried this? Any ideas?”
Answer: When it comes to forage plots for deer there is more than one way to skin a cat… I mean skin a deer. Brassicas make a great winter plot because whitetail stay away from these plants until they really need them, after it gets good and cold. It takes a good freeze to make brassicas palatable to deer, so this is a good plant to use where the size of the food plot is limited or healthy deer numbers are found.
Do not broadcast into growing soybeans unless certain conditions can be met. I’ve never had good success broadcasting into soybeans while they are still green and actively growing. There is just not enough light/soil interaction. I tried this several years ago in an existing soybean plot while the beams were still very green with a thick canopy. I maybe got 15-percent germination and those that did stayed stunted. Now, if you row-planted with a seed drill and there is exposed soil that would be a completely different story and broadcasting could work.
My suggestions, however, is that as soon as the leaves start to yellow then and only then consider broadcasting brassicas rape seed as well as any other cereal grains, i.e. oats and/or wheat, into your whitetail food plot. I’ve done this for a couple of years running and have had great success. Also, if you seed early-maturing soybeans in your spring/summer plot then you could definitely broadcast your fall and winter seeds earlier, especially if the soybeans are heavily browsed and the crop canopy is allowing sunlight to get down to the ground.