Caribou Gear Tarp

Foodplot Problems

MNElkNut

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We have planted corn twice now in our foodplots. only 1 corner of 1 plot grew (and it looks great). The problem is, something is eating the corn seeds before they grow! You can see where something walked right down the row and plucked our every seed. My brother did some research and found that Sandhill Cranes will do this. Anybody have any experience with this problem and if so, how did you solve it?
 

Gellar

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We have planted corn twice now in our foodplots. only 1 corner of 1 plot grew (and it looks great). The problem is, something is eating the corn seeds before they grow! You can see where something walked right down the row and plucked our every seed. My brother did some research and found that Sandhill Cranes will do this. Anybody have any experience with this problem and if so, how did you solve it?

Lots of critters will walk right down the row and pluck the seed or fresh sprout right out of the ground. The new greens are very nutritious. I have seen turkeys, ducks, geese and sandhill cranes do that same thing. Turkeys are the worst in our neck of the woods.
 

backsmasher23

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I've heard of this problem over in WI too. I know a buddy of mine puts out one of those fake coyote decoys until it his corn plot gets 6-8" tall.
 

BIDZ

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I don't have 1st hand experience with corn, but I saw this a couple days ago and it seems to speak to your exact issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBANVeozbE

(Particularly around the 7min mark)

Give the critters an easy meal to keep them off your plantings until they reach maturity.
 

RUT JUNKEY

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Agree with all of the above. Turkeys, geese, and crows are the major problem in the early stages around here . . .once the ears are developing and soft the coons will destroy an area pretty quick. Last couple of Fall's, when the corn is ready for harvest, I have had beavers absolutely cut a huge swath in a field by the river. . .looks like someone drove a truck through it.
 

dcopas78

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I have problems with crows, black birds and morning doves pulling it out to eat the kernel when it comes through the surface. I tell you something else that will eat the heck out of a corn crop when it starts getting ears that most people don't think about....foxes. Especially a grey fox.
 

1_pointer

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How are you planting the corn? I'm wondering if you're not getting the seed deep/covered enough.
 

hank4elk

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Been looking for a small drill seeder for over seeding rangeland.
Rodents and ravens are my biggest threat besides elk after it comes up. Did have some success with hand broadcasting and a rake last year.
I think my best bet will be getting seed down before winter snows.
 

1_pointer

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If you can't find a drill, I'd at least suggest a cultipacker or something like a Lawson aerator. It'll increase the seed/soil contact. Depending on what your starting from, I've seen very good results with broadcasting and/or using an aerator.
 

Gellar

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How are you planting the corn? I'm wondering if you're not getting the seed deep/covered enough.

I wondered this yesterday as well. There are a lot of other factors that could come into play, soil temperature, moisture or lack there of, seed depth, soil type, ph level, etc...


All the birds that I see picking our corn out wait until it is about 2-3" tall and than go right down a row and pick every plant out. Try digging up a few seeds and seeing if the seed sprouted and never made it to the surface or if it is rotten or moldy or if there is no seed at all. That will give you more clues as to what is going on.
 

MNElkNut

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we originally broadcast and tilled it, which has worked beautifully for years. Thinking that may have been a problem somehow, we bought a corn planter. You can see where some evil beast has pecked each seed out of the ground BEFORE the seed even had a chance to grow. Right down the row, there are little holes where the seed was ripped from its loving home. We tried finding a seed, but virtually every one of them is gone. Each field has about 10-30 corn plants growing. This has happened on 2 different farms 15 miles apart (1 farm has 2 "fields" about 400 yards apart). I say "fields" as they are each about 3/4 acres plus or minus.

My brother put it most eloquently when he said, "something needs to die!".
 

TimeOnTarget

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Sounds to me like you are not getting the seed deep enough. You generally will want the seeds about 1.5' deep. Good firming and closing wheels should make this seed invisible to critters until it has sprouted.

Seed populations should be around the 34-36k per acre mark. So each plot should roughly be 26,250 seeds on your 3/4acre plots. That's a lot of seeds being eaten if you only have about 30 plants showing up. I'd have to think the seeds can be seen easily from the surface if that many are being eaten.

What model planter?

Are your row openers in good shape? firming wheels? closing wheels? down pressure setting?
What is your planting depth? Are you planting to fast causing the row units to bounce?

Just some ideas?
 

MNElkNut

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TOT,
I appreciate all of those thoughts as some of those questions have really, REALLY stumped us. When broadcasting, sure some of them were visible. But most of them weren't...???
Depth of the planter, I would say all of 1.5", maybe even 1.75-2". A few were visible as we bought an old planter that was chopped in pieces and made into a 3 row planter. But we were down on hands and knees and most of them were well hidden. A few didn't get closed enough and were visible (combination of old corn debris in the field and bumps I believe). But the vast majority is planted well. You can see where the evil beasts dug right down and found them. Which has me scratching my noodle continuously......birds cant smell! how did they know where to find them? So is it gophers? I saw one gopher hole in one of the fields. Too small of a hole for any type of big animal. I should have taken pictures. Every 6-8", there is a little hole where the seed was eviscerated from its home. Pretty uniform holes that are circular so it isn't like they were dug with paws in one direction. we even dug down with our fingers trying to find the seeds and they are just plain gone. Every time we think we know what it is, there is some evidence that just doesn't fit!

Here is the latest plan. We are gonna plant some more and put a trail camera up. probably way to late to actually get cobs, but we have to solve this for next year. Probably then we will just plant wheat in a couple for the pheasants and rape in the one we deer hunt.

If one of you is coming over here and messing with us by digging up 26,230 seeds on each of 3 different plots......it aint funny no more :eek:
 

1_pointer

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Unless you already have the seed, might want to consider soybeans at this late of date. Early varieties should still produce grain, plus they generally dry down early enough to broadcast a fall planting on.
 

MNElkNut

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Update:
My brother planted a couple small areas just to see what happens. He bought some stuff that you put with the seed and is supposed to stop the evil beasts from pulling them out. As we have researched and looked at this, I think maybe the plants had just sprouted and then the birds got them. Could be turkeys no doubt.

We will replant the rest in either wheat and/or rape. Not as good for the pheasants (the wheat will long be gone before the end of winter), but we kind of got goofed up this year.

I will post on if it works or not.
 
Yeti

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