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Old 12-16-2021, 02:18 PM   #1
cehorn
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Default Food Plot w/ Cows

We just bought a place in May, Tx back in October. We will get protein out in Jan or Feb but I would love to do spring food plots. We are currently leasing our place out for cows as well though. Our ranch is 500 acres and I was thinking 5-7 spots about 1/2 acre to 3/4 acres to start with, basically one at each stand. Eventually I would like to do a bigger one but that will be a couple years down the road project. The cows have our ranch and another that is 700 acres so they aren't exclusively on ours but there is currently no way to keep them off one or the other part right now. Our plan is to get the cows off in a year or 2 when we switch to a wildlife exemption. A few questions:
  • Would this be a waste given the cow situation? Should we just wait until we get rid of the cows?
  • Would it be a waste if just deer, given size of plots, etc? I.e. if we got rid of the cows, would the deer eat it down before it can get established, etc.
  • If it isn't a waste in either situation, what do you suggest we plant and when do you suggest planting? I'm thinking some time in March once spring is coming but I guess it depends on what we plant.
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Old 12-16-2021, 02:23 PM   #2
BURTONboy
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Default Food Plot w/ Cows

I would do as big of a food plot as you can at each spot, and tell your cow guy to have them off your place during deer season. Explain to him that after January 1 they can come back over and will have x amount of acres of oats/rye/whatever for them to graze. I would think that would work out for the both of ya.

Well, may have misunderstood your post slightly. Can you not keep the cows off any certain part of your place, or can you not keep them from getting on your place altogether?


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Old 12-16-2021, 02:55 PM   #3
cehorn
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Originally Posted by BURTONboy View Post
I would do as big of a food plot as you can at each spot, and tell your cow guy to have them off your place during deer season. Explain to him that after January 1 they can come back over and will have x amount of acres of oats/rye/whatever for them to graze. I would think that would work out for the both of ya.

Well, may have misunderstood your post slightly. Can you not keep the cows off any certain part of your place, or can you not keep them from getting on your place altogether?


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Right now we can't keep them off the place at all (physically and I guess legally). We "split" buying a 1200 ac ranch with a friend so he has the left 700 acres and we have the right 500 acres with drawn property lines on paper, etc. The cattle have always been on the whole 1200 acres and there is not a cross fence between the 500 acres and 700 acres so no way other than building a fence. We don't want to build a fence yet because we have a couple of other things going that may allow us to buy some of his 700 acres in a year. Until we have final property lines, we won't build a fence. That is the physical reason.

A side note, we are leasing the hunting rights on the 700 acres for now. The friend bought it as an investment property and will likely sell it in a couple of years so since it is short term we aren't looking to do a lot to the lease side other than hunt and keep corn out year round.

Legally, we did a generic cattle lease from Oct '21 to October '22 so I don't think we could tell him when he can have cows on our part etc until the next contract the way it is written. There are no restrictions in the current contract. We may consider it for next year but he is a good guy that we don't want to mess anything up with until we are ready to get the cows off for good. That is the legal reason.

Last edited by cehorn; 12-16-2021 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:02 PM   #4
JBJTX81
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If your only planting a total of 4-6 acres it would be a waste if not fenced off imo.

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Old 12-16-2021, 03:02 PM   #5
txbowman12
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Cows will mow down anything you plant. However, you can efence them out pretty cheaply. I fenced out 2 acres with two rows of efence line for around 800 last year. Could be much cheaper if you could get used t-posts. Space them every 25-50 feet. If you are just trying to keep cows out, you could just do two strands of the ribbon style wire. Combine that with a 20w solar panel and a 35 ah battery from harbor freight to power your DC fence charger and you should be fine. I haven't (knock on wood) had any issues yet.

I would do 2-3 bigger plots though rather than a bunch of small ones.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:06 PM   #6
DUKFVR
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Originally Posted by JBJTX81 View Post
If your only planting a total of 4-6 acres it would be a waste if not fenced off imo.

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This!
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:07 PM   #7
cehorn
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Originally Posted by JBJTX81 View Post
If your only planting a total of 4-6 acres it would be a waste if not fenced off imo.

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That is pretty much what I was thinking. I was wishing otherwise but I think this is the reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by txbowman12 View Post
Cows will mow down anything you plant. However, you can efence them out pretty cheaply. I fenced out 2 acres with two rows of efence line for around 800 last year. Could be much cheaper if you could get used t-posts. Space them every 25-50 feet. If you are just trying to keep cows out, you could just do two strands of the ribbon style wire. Combine that with a 20w solar panel and a 35 ah battery from harbor freight to power your DC fence charger and you should be fine. I haven't (knock on wood) had any issues yet.

I would do 2-3 bigger plots though rather than a bunch of small ones.
An electric fence may be an option. We do it at home and it seems to work well. We have plenty of tpost as the previous lessees left all their feeder pens and we don't really use them. Eventually I hope to do bigger ones but I don't think that is in the cards short term due to equipment, etc.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:09 PM   #8
Killer
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Hot fence is your only option if you don't want the cows on it
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:09 PM   #9
txbowman12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cehorn View Post
That is pretty much what I was thinking. I was wishing otherwise but I think this is the reality.



An electric fence may be an option. We do it at home and it seems to work well. We have plenty of tpost as the previous lessees left all their feeder pens and we don't really use them. Eventually I hope to do bigger ones but I don't think that is in the cards short term due to equipment, etc.

Just spend the 75 bucks and rent a gas powered t-post driver! Me and a buddy got the whole thing done by noon.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:15 PM   #10
Preacher Man
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If you want to put in kill plots, you might could get away with fencing off small plots. That would solve the bovine problem. But might be fruitless based on the relationship between deer density and the amount of acreage you plant.

If you’re putting in small plots with no fencing, odds are very VERY high you’ve just wasted your time. Between the cows and the deer, the plots would get wiped out.

You might also consider how many cows you’ve got. If the density is lower, or much lower, than the carrying capacity of your land, you’ve got better odds of avoiding a problem with the cows getting in your plots. And carrying capacity can fluctuate with the seasons and range conditions.

If it were my place, I wouldn’t gamble on small plots with no fencing.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:20 PM   #11
Dudley
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Waste of time and money if you cant keep cows off. Instead, I would start clearing and expanding those areas for food plots...spray brush, chainsaw, burn, etc... so when you do get the cows off you will have more area to plant.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:24 PM   #12
cehorn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txbowman12 View Post
Just spend the 75 bucks and rent a gas powered t-post driver! Me and a buddy got the whole thing done by noon.
Ha, I have 4 teenage boys plus myself. Those t post getting in the ground isn't a problem. And when I say myself, someone has to drink the beer and tell them where to put the posts.... We do have a tractor with a bucket also that we have used in the past depending on the amount of rock. The biggest problem with a cross fence is not wanting to do it twice. If we buy more land or we are thinking about high fencing the fence would become throw away, so that all needs to be decided (with multiple other factors) before we put up any fence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher Man View Post
You might also consider how many cows you’ve got. If the density is lower, or much lower, than the carrying capacity of your land, you’ve got better odds of avoiding a problem with the cows getting in your plots. And carrying capacity can fluctuate with the seasons and range conditions.

If it were my place, I wouldn’t gamble on small plots with no fencing.
Yeah, I was thinking about this as well. I don't know the exact number of cows but based on the grass available, overall shape of the cows and lack of hay fed it is well below the carrying capacity of the land. But I'm pretty sure they had above average rainfall so Im not sure how typical that is. They definitely aren't starving and the cattle guy seems like he knows what he is doing with the cows. I don't think they would eat the food plot out of necessity, it would be more if it tastes better or the fact that cows just aren't very intelligent animals in general.


I'm really thinking we either need to go with a hot fence for any food plots or wait until we get rid of the cows.

Last edited by cehorn; 12-16-2021 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 12-16-2021, 03:44 PM   #13
JBJTX81
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Put in high fence on front end. Will be 120-140k for 500 acres if you aren't some funky shape and tons of rock. You will never regret it!

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Old 12-16-2021, 04:15 PM   #14
Lincoln Hawk
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I'd do two strand electric using a braided material. One strand about waist high and the other about halfway beneath the first. If pigs are an issue, three strands may be needed. T-posts can be as far about as 40-60 feet, as there is very little tension.

I'd call up Kencove Farm Fence Supplies and they'll walk you through the process.
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Old 12-16-2021, 04:45 PM   #15
HCGedge3
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INL. I’m in the process of doing the same thing
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Old 12-16-2021, 05:19 PM   #16
Drycreek3189
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If you’re gonna be losing it in a couple years you’re just throwing away money planting in the spring.

If you’re going to plant your side then e-fence the cows out.
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Old 12-16-2021, 10:48 PM   #17
texasdeerhunter
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Build some 8-10 panel feed pens and feed protein until your land situation settles out. You leased the grazing rights for cattle, I would be upset if I was the cattle guy and you started hot fencing off big chunks. Plus, hot wire can keep deer out too. They don’t know what hot wire is any more than cattle do. Until they touch their nose to it and it sends them into the next county. Just enjoy the place until you get your long term plan in place. Build some feed pens for now
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Old 12-17-2021, 08:42 AM   #18
cehorn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdeerhunter View Post
Build some 8-10 panel feed pens and feed protein until your land situation settles out. You leased the grazing rights for cattle, I would be upset if I was the cattle guy and you started hot fencing off big chunks. Plus, hot wire can keep deer out too. They don’t know what hot wire is any more than cattle do. Until they touch their nose to it and it sends them into the next county. Just enjoy the place until you get your long term plan in place. Build some feed pens for now
This will be the likely outcome. We will do this no matter what. We already have a few protein feeders, a ton of panels and tposts. That is priority #1 after hunting season to get that set up. We may try one area with hot wire just to see how it goes.
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Old 12-17-2021, 08:58 AM   #19
M16
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I plant oat patches that are not fenced. They do fine. Cows keep them trimmed down but deer prefer the fresh growth over taller.
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Old 12-17-2021, 10:26 PM   #20
gtsticker
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We use hot wire and it works fine. Deer go under or over.


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Old 01-02-2022, 07:13 PM   #21
gtsticker
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You can also set your cattle lease up like mine where there are no cattle from September 1 to January 31


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