I am sure you have heard about brassicas in Whitetail food plots. There is a good reason for this. They grow fast, can handle gazing pressure, compete with weeds, remain palatable in cold weather, and are relatively high in protein. They can also be planting using low or no till methods which makes them great for those out of the way food plots.
The most common three used in food plots are kale, rape and turnip. The leafy varieties are better for deer because the big leaves are what they are after. Once the snow is on the ground though, they will dig for the tubers. The leaf is considered more desirable after a couple of hard frosts. Most brassicas take 150 to 180 days to mature but there are some varieties that can be ready in as early as 90 days. So if you are looking for something to plant and have been slow in getting around to it, this can be a great fall choice.
This is another good acidic soil plots as long as pH doesn’t fall below 6 in most soils. It can grow in acidic soils below 6 and above 5.3 but will not grow as well in these conditions. On the alkaline side the flexibility is narrower going up to around 6.8. It prefers well drained soils.
A use of brassicas that is often not considered in food plots is for spring or early summer weed competition while preparing future crop plantings. This can be handy, especially if you are trying to use less chemical weed control. Granted the deer aren’t eating too much of this most of the time spring and early summer because taste is more bitter than other choices, but still a good option if you have a big weed problem and are trying to avoid more chemical control. I have used this technique when I want to plant cool season perennials in the fall but don’t want to “chem-fallow” in order to get rid of the weeds while getting the soil in better condition.
You still need to adequately prepare your seedbed to get these started and planting area should be free of weeds to provide the best opportunity for growth. Depending on soil conditions, you may need to sue Treflan (Trifluralin) against annual grass and small seeded broadleaf weeds when getting things going. Hopefully the robust nature of this plant keeps your weeds down once planted.
Some potential sources for brassica mixes:
Deer Food Plot – BRASSI BUCK
AWH Brassica Blast