Friday, October 7, 2016
My daughter and I planted in the dust our fall plots this past week in hopes of getting some rain off of Hurricane Mathew. We planted a mixture of seed giving the wildlife a variety of plants to browse on if we get rain before the seed is eaten up by the birds.
Below is a picture of our largest field we plant for wildlife being about three acres.
This field has had some fall crops planted in strips: but we chose not to plow under the complete field. You might ask why? The reason is the field will continue to produce a high protein forage until frost. This field was planted in sunn hemp as was most of our summer plantings. Some places in the field the plant has gotten about ten feet tall. Deer love this stuff. They are slow to eat it the first year because the protein is so high in the plant but after they get started they will destroy small field plantings of this crop. Below shows the results of deer eating the plant.
Some of the plants have been topped three times and have leafed back out to produce more forage. The plants that are tall have had the leaves stripped off as far up the plant as the deer can reach.
Why sunn hemp? The leaves contain 28 to 30 percent protein where alfalfa is about 20 percent. It is an annual crop and will not reseed because it is tropical so you don't have to worry about it becoming a weed. It grows well in our soil types and because of its rapid growth it adds organic matter to the soil. It is a legume that they claim will add 100 pounds of nitrogen, 10 pounds of phosphorus, and 80 pounds of potash to the acre.
This is the second year for us to plant sunn hemp and we are very pleased with it.