Time to get those bird fields Planted!


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MtnCreek
May 10, 2013, 12:05 PM
Around here weíve had a lot of rain and itís been tricky getting a window to prep fields. I planted some sunflowers a few weeks ago that came up good in places and not so good in others. Last night, the ground there was still a little damp, but dry enough on top to work a little more flower seed in. On some higher ground, I planted 6 rows of sweet corn. Dual purpose; Iíll eat the corn and use the stalks for cover when hunting. There was some seed already in the planter that was left over from planting in the garden; smaller seed, so Iím thinking it was super-sweet type. I used it till it ran out then filled the planter with Silver Queen. It makes nice tall stalks (good for eating and hiding inÖ). If I get a chance before the rain moves in, Iím going to plant a few rows of grain sorghum tonight or in the morning. In a week or so, Iíll start planting millet. I like to plant millet in strips, a little at a time. That helps to spread the seed out longer from late summer, through early fall. The field currently has a mixture of wheat, oats, red clover and winter peas on it that I used for off and on grazing. Iíll leave small strips of this between my new plantings. The local birds can enjoy it late spring / early summer while the flowers and millet are growing.

Spend a little time planning your fields. Doves love to travel power lines, tree lines, creeks, ... Use that in your planning. IMHO, you can channel their flight with the direction and types of crops. They also like to fly into a field and take a break in the trees beyond the field. I like to plant something tall to hide in nearer the tree line that they have to cross to get to the feed crops.

If youíre groundís ready, itís time (at least around here) to get planted!

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Patocazador
May 10, 2013, 12:37 PM
Our season opens a month later than yours. If I'm planting peas or milo, I plant the first of June. If it's browntop millet, I plant the first of July.
We don't get good rain until the middle of June usually.

MtnCreek
May 10, 2013, 01:03 PM
What kind of peas do you plant? Do you let them dry down, then bush hog? I've never thought about planting them for birds. I remember last fall when I bush hogged my peas in the garden the crows were all over that for a couple weeks.

trapper1
May 10, 2013, 01:43 PM
I'll be broadcasting an acre or 2 of grain sorghum here soon, when I get the sections tilled up. I've tried alot of different things over the years, and the sorghum seems to do the best in attracting a variety of game and birds, offers some cover, and withstands some harsh winters and snow.

Will also be putting in a couple rows of sunflower and oats this weekend for the doves.

Patocazador
May 10, 2013, 09:51 PM
What kind of peas do you plant? Do you let them dry down, then bush hog? I've never thought about planting them for birds. I remember last fall when I bush hogged my peas in the garden the crows were all over that for a couple weeks.
I planted cowpeas a few years ago for the doves because the best dove shoot I ever had was on a pea field. I bush hogged the dried peas but the doves never really liked them. Rabbits, crows, and cranes did however. Since then I've been planting about 1/2 acre of purple-hulls and harvesting them and putting them in my belly and the freezer. I rotate the milo or browntop with peas to replenish the nitrogen in the soil. The birds around here haven't been introduced to peas much and it seems they prefer browntop but I prefer purple hulls. :D

MtnCreek
May 20, 2013, 02:09 PM
Anyone else planting bird fields? There's still plenty of time and it's cheaper to plant now than 'planting' in September... Several years ago I got a ~$350 award for 'poor farming practices'.

Even if you don't want to go all out with soil prep, over seeding an existing field w/ millet works OK. Sometimes I'll overseed millet in an area of pasture that may not be needed and just walk the seed in w/ a disc harrow w/ the disc's turned strait. It's enough to work some seed in, but does not destroy the existing turf.

Season's not that far off. A little work now will make for a fun couple weekends this fall. :)

Patocazador
May 20, 2013, 05:20 PM
On a couple of hunt clubs we "planted" bird fields by scattering browntop millet on raked dirt and then running it over with 4-wheelers and sweeping it with branches. We never got a record yield but we always had some shooting. The main advantage was that we didn't need a tractor or discs.
If you do this without much fertilizer, it will seed out fast so wait until ~6 weeks prior to the opener if rain is common then.

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