Turnips - The Forgotten Food Plot

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Like most hunters we all are looking for something to keep the deer on our hunting ground and to bring more deer into our hunting ground. Most of the time we just don’t have the room or funding for this to even happen. We lease a lot of smaller properties here in Kansas and we know that the farmers are needing every little bit of ground they can get to make a living. So if they give up any ground at all it’s not much. As I was talking to one farmer he told me he could give up about a half acre and he also gave me a suggestion, TURNIPS. At first I was in shock and I asked him why Turnips. He gave me lots of reasons and I thought I would list them below because I was shocked when I heard it myself.

1. You don’t have to worry about treating the soil with any fertilizer.

2. You don’t have to worry about working the ground up that good either.

3. You don’t have to buy any expensive equipment to plant them.

4. You can mix them in my Clover and I’ll give you half an acre to do it in.

5. One acre of Turnips produce up to 8 tons of product.

6. The most important of all he said “I like them and want to pick some to eat."

7. Turnips won’t quit growing till it reaches 25 degrees or colder.

8. When it gets cold the starches in the leaves turn into sugar and the deer love.

After talking to the farmer he showed us the half acre he would give up for us to plant them in. All we did was pull a little harrow around with an ATV and roughed up the ground. After that we just threw the seeds out by hand and drug a pallet over the area. Yes, it was that simple and like magic we have Turnips like CRAZY. It only cost us 15 dollars to grow our food plot and the deer are hitting it already. The farmer was also right about one thing, they are really good to eat. So by making the farmer happy and letting him pick some Turnips we got a great food plot also. We have also found out in the past that later on in December when the snow hits, the deer dig way down through the snow to get the Turnips.

Below is a Picture of some Turnips we harvested for ourself and the farmer.



jim boyd's picture

Great Tip!

Great tip...

I have heard of using turnips and I will also state this - I was in Illinois last week on a deer trip and I stumbled on to a field that had some turnips growing in them.... the upper leafy parts of most plants were almost totally eaten!

Add the fact that these plants are good to eat when food sources for deer are at a premium (winter time and low food supply for wildlife) and this seems to be a no brainer!

Throw in the fact that they seem to be easy to grow and I am already to start planning my turnip patch for 2011!

I note also that "trophy radishes" have become the rage for food plots and I wonder if these two plants are not closely related?

One thing I do know - we have long used beans, peas and sunflower as warm season plots, it is high time to make sure we add some cold weather plots to our leases... to help the hunting and to help the deer make it through the hard times of winter.

Again, superior hunt tip!

CVC's picture

I was amazed to read that one

I was amazed to read that one acre produces eight tons of food.  Heck we should all plant turnips and not only feed the deer but the world.  It sounds like turnips are a good food plot pick, but I suspect they don't have the sexy appeal of some other foods and that is the reason they are overlooked.  Probably negative connotations from childhood.  I never did like turnips and I bet a lot of other people feel the same way.  This was a good tip for those that plant food plots.  I think the easier it is to plant the food plot the better someone will be.  Time is too precisous these days to do all the soil preparation if you don't have to and achieve the same or better results.

So, I guess this tip is a real time saver for people with a hectic schedule but want to plant a food plot.  Good tip.