Many are aware that wheat is used to make flour for baked goods, pasta, and cereals. Little did some know that this plant, particularly winter wheat, is also a food source for deer.
Winter wheat is a cool-season crop that easily germinates and is suitable for fall hunting plots. If you are wondering when to plant winter wheat for deer, it’s around October 10-22 in the fall or August to September in colder areas!
Read on to learn more about winter wheat planting time!
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Best Time to Plant Winter Wheat for Deer
Winter wheat endures low temperatures throughout winter. Some farmers sow it to cover the ground during the cold season to reduce soil erosion. But, most often, they plant for deer to eat in winter.
Unlike its spring counterpart, it requires more time to develop before it becomes dormant in winter. Take note that the key to successful deer hunting lies in the strategic planting of this crop.
Thus, winter wheat’s most optimal planting dates are around August to October 10-22, or six to eight weeks before the first frost.
This period marks the transition of late summer to fall, signifying mild temperatures (40 to 50℉) during the day and night.
Said months also provide ample sunlight to facilitate photosynthesis and proper plant development. It also allows the wheat to sprout and establish a strong root system before harsh winters.
Additionally, soil conditions during this season are favorable for winter wheat growth. The ground has had enough time to warm up after the summer heat yet retains some moisture from early fall rains.
For hunters, growing winter wheat in the fall aligns perfectly with the opening of the deer hunting season in many regions. Since it is the only crop to stay green during winter, having winter wheat food plots draws deer to your hunting area, increasing the likelihood of successful chases.
Varieties of Wheat for Deer
The majority of wheat types produce seed heads with awns. Awns are known as elongated, rigid, hair-like extensions of the lemmas.
In contrast, some varieties that lack awns are called awnless. Deer prefer awnless winter wheat seeds because they are easier to consume, have high nutritional value, and are available late in the season.
Here are a few of the best winter wheat for deer available in the United States.
- USG 3013
- Dyna-Gro 9223
- Winfield 9203
- Winfield SRW 9434
- Becks 88
Find the best time to plant different types of food for deer:
Tips for Successful Winter Wheat Planting for Deer
Planting winter wheat for deer requires careful planning and execution to ensure a successful and beneficial outcome. The following are tips for successful winter wheat cultivation:
- Choose the right location
Put your winter wheat planting site first. You need to take account of the area’s local climate and prevailing weather conditions. Remember that winter wheat thrives most effectively within USDA hardiness zones of 3-7.
- Soil Preparation
Winter wheat is most suitable for well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 6.5. You can always add lime or fertilizers to make up for soil deficiencies, and add organic matter to improve moisture retention.
- Seedbed Watering
Before planting, it is advisable to moisten the seedbed first. This method will help the seeds germinate faster. You can use the mist setting of your garden hose and sweep the area back and forth after raking.
- Proper Seed Spacing
When planting winter wheat, adhere to a seeding depth of about one to two inches in rows six to fourteen inches apart. Aim for a winter wheat seeding rate of twenty to sixty live seeds per square foot.
The secret to having a successful deer hunt relies on the right timing of winter wheat planting. Whether you are a veteran or a newbie, you can always return to this guide to remember when to plant winter wheat for deer.
May you enjoy the art of deer hunting using our planting tips and techniques. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready, set, and plant winter wheat for a bountiful and extraordinary hunting season!
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