Buckwheat - The Food Plot Cure-All?
Let me start off by saying I am not a farmer.
I am a deer hunter and I do own a tractor and have all of the equipment - but that does not make you a farmer any more than standing in the garage makes you a car - well, you get the picture!
Having said that - and with most of my ineptitude fairly well hidden - I do think that buckwheat is one of the most under rated cover crops out there.
I say cover crop because I see mixed results as it relates to the deer eating the plants.
By all means!
This is very easy to grow and it is superior at putting nutrients back in the soil - I till it under when it is still very green and it makes great green manure.
I plant it with a broadcast spreader - and plant it fairly thick - I put about 75 - 100 lbs per acre...
It grows in very nicely and literally chokes the weeds out.
Here in the south, I put it in during late March or early April - after the last chance of frost... and let it grow until it is well flowered - and then I till it in. If I recall correctly, it is about 65 days from germination to full flower.
I wait about a week after tilling it in and then come back with my peas, beans, sunflowers - whatever I am going to plant... and the plots that get this treatment do head and shoulders better than the ones that just get planted normally.
Attached is a photograph of a 3.3 acre field I planted this year - I will follow this "tip" up with another one that shows how well my bean mix did behind this buckwheat.
I fertilize lightly and use soil samples... sometimes... and have had good results both ways.
One note of caution, however... do not let it go to seed - it reseeds very easily and will offer great plot competition that you MAY not want.
If your deer eat it well - by all means let it go to seed - it would work wonders in that regard.
Watch for my post on the "Crazy Food Plot" - I will get it entered shortly.