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Overlooked Benefits of Planting Brassicas

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It’s common knowledge that Brassicas such as radish, rape, and turnips make for attractive deer food plots. However, as gamekeepers we need to focus on more than just using food plots as a tool to bring deer in closer for a shot. So what are brassicas good for other than being a favorite fall/winter food item? Following are just a few of the many positives:

  1. Turkey Food. When the plants mature and die in the late winter, the decomposing tops and roots attract all kinds of invertebrates such as flies, beetles, and worms well into the spring. This couldn’t come at a better time of the year when there isn’t much quality turkey grub around.
  2. Natural Weed Control. Brassicas grow tall and have wide leaves that have a knack for out competing other weeds sprouting nearby. But that is just a physical weed barrier. They also produce and secrete chemicals called glucosinolates that act as chemical control by discouraging many weed seeds from sprouting. The two methods combined do a pretty good job of setting back the competition.
  3. Soil Improvement. Brassicas taproots go further than most species can to get nutrients from down deep. When they die, those “mined” nutrients are left on or near the soil surface for the next crop. That same taproot, when decayed, leaves a hole thus increasing soil aeration and water infiltration.

This tip is courtesy of the GameKeepers Field Notes, a weekly wildlife and land management email newsletter produced by the Mossy Oak GameKeepers.

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