Man & Wildlife
I have been blessed to be the National Sales Manager for Tecomate Wildlife Systems until 2015. It was a great adventure to blend modern agriculture with the wild life industry. You see, food plots for deer and their booming populations are extremely important to maintain a healthy nutritional level in deer herds. Now... this is especially true where fields of agriculture are not present. Food plots not only provide nutrition but also much needed cover from predators for all wildlife. Railey Farm & Field is a new, unique and one-of-kind company! You see... we approach the food plot industry in a completely new light. It only makes sense to me to provide a food plot that both Man and Wildlife can use.
I came up with the idea while standing in a field of Hasting’s Prolific one year, and the next year in a field of Bloody Butcher. Both times the deer had devoured these fields. Not far away, a field of Round-Up Ready corn lay untouched (These fields were for food plots, not seed saving.) You see, many of our older heirloom corn varieties contain a higher protein level than most of our modern GMO corns. The crows, coons, and deer... they know it! Many times we witness coons wiping out a small field of Indian corn when it is in the milk stage. When the corn dries for harvest – then the deer move in. To give you an example... Blue Hopi contain 28% more protein than modern corn does. Bloody Butcher and Jimmy Red also contain more protein and Jimmy Red contains more sugar than modern varieties. It is amazing to me how wildlife knows this same data that modern science scratches its head over. Maybe we should pay more attention to the wildlife around us.
Management is the key:
Example 1 – Every Spring I plant a field of corn in our food plots. Now I have done this two ways. I plant corn with a broadcast spreader pre-mixed with our non-GMO climbing beans, peas and squash. (Man and Wildlife Spring Mix.) Now you let it grow! Deer and turkey will work the peas and beans. The peas and beans provide nitrogen to the corn because they are legumes. (I still pre-apply fertilizer when I plant.) Now listen closely, because this is what happens: The beans will climb the corn. You can eat the corn, beans, peas and squash. The squash spreads and shades the ground, providing moisture as well as keeping down weeds through shade. Does that sound new???? Well it’s thousands of years old!!! It is called “The Three Sisters,” and in this case The Four Sisters type of farming that our American Indians taught us. It is very, very proficient. Add to this... it’s all heirloom, non-GMO seed! You are now providing food for your family and wildlife. It provides wildlife much needed cover from predators and you are rebuilding your soil. I allow this to dry. The ears of corn are now drooping down and the field looks like a dried jungle. In September I mow ten yard wide parallel strips through the field. In those newly mowed strips, I disc, fertilize and plant our Fall Man and Wildlife in the strips. The fall mix has grains and a mixture of very old heirloom turnips that our forefathers lived on. So now you have a new food source for the winter mixed with the un-mowed, dry spring mix which provides dried corn for the winter and a wonderful wildlife cover from predators. Where we have done this, we have seen more deer and turkeys in our food plots and I tell you now... our first covey of quail in a long, long time.
Raising a productive food plot is not about planting anything in a camo bag, and it is definitely not about planting the cheapest mix you can find. It is all about management! You want to think about the long term, not short term; think about the feature and benefits and not about price. In the end what we provide is a food plot that both man and wildlife can enjoy.
Example 2 – Plant our corn in rows with a corn planter... then in the fall mow your strips and plant Man and Wildlife Fall mix. I have done both but I always lean back to broadcasting the Spring mix of the beans, corn, peas and squash because of the cover it provides. The key is to do what fits your land and management style. I encourage you to try our way of planting a food plot because it works!! Food for wildlife... cover for wildlife... food for your family... it is a brand new way of thinking when we manage wildlife food plots.
I want you to think about this... thousands of hunters use 50 pound bags of corn as a feed/attractant. Many larger land owners buy it in bulk. Do you realize that 99% of this corn is a GMO corn? In most cases it is a Round-Up Ready/Bt Ready corn. Hunters are feeding this to deer…..and then eating the deer. The use of non-GMO corn like Hasting’s Prolific, Bloody Butcher and other heirloom varieties is something you need to seriously consider. Without a doubt this will ruffle some feathers – but one must think about the venison we feed our families. For me, my deer eat old style, non-GMO corn... beautiful fields of Hasting’s Prolific and Bloody Butcher along with peas, beans and very old varieties of turnips. Now, I am not saying this is for everyone. It’s new and it’s different, but I challenge you to try one acre. We call it the Railey Acre. Try it and then you’ll manage a field that is scientifically and agriculturally sound. It will provide wildlife cover and a food source for both man and wildlife.