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Bio Logic Food Plot Information on Brassicas

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Glossary of Terms

YIELD

Yield is best measured in tonnage per acre of digestible forage produced. For example, the total tonnage of forage produced by a mature crop of wheat or oats per acre can be high. However, deer do not consume mature wheat or oat stalks. Only the leafy portion of these crops is palatable to deer, and then only during their grass stage (early in heir growth process). By comparison, during all stages of forage Brassica development, the plant is 80+% leaf. Hence, these plants produce a high tonnage per acre of digestible forage. By comparison, most clover varieties are primarily stem. The leaf portion of an individual clover plant rarely averages over 50% of its total mass. Stem material of most plants is very indigestible to deer. This is because the walls of stem cells are extremely thick - to help support the plant. This thick cell wall material is almost totally indigestible to deer. That’s why, in areas with a medium to high deer density, clover fields often appear as a field of stems, with no leaves. The deer have consumed the palatable clover leaves, but not the stems. The total yield of digestible forage from most clover varieties is tons less per acre than the Bio Logic forage Brassica varieties.

PALATABILITY

Hunter In Food PlotPalatability is a measure of animal feeding preference for one type of crop over another. Palatability has to do with the texture and taste of a plant. Both soil quality and plant maturity can affect forage’s palatability. For example, soybeans are extremely palatable when they first germinate. This is actually a negative characteristic of soybeans if they are planted for deer forage. Plants that are extremely palatable when they first germinate will be quickly consumed by deer - often to the point of being browsed to death. Most young tender plants cannot tolerate heavy browsing and will die as a consequence. Therefore, these early browsed plants only provide deer forage for a week or so. The total tonnage produced, and the length of time the food plot serves to attract deer are extremely small. Ideally, a plant should be allowed to establish its root system and become browse tolerant (not harmed by constant browsing) before it becomes palatable. This characteristic has been bred into the Bio Logic forage Brassicas. Cold temperatures can also reduce a plant’s palatability. In field trials throughout the whitetail’s range, the Bio Logic forage Brassicas have proven to remain palatable after several frosts and freezes, long after most clover varieties had been "burned" by frost and are no longer available to deer.

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DIGESTIBILITY

Digestibility is a measure of the amount of forage that is ingested and retained in the body versus passed as scat. A plant’s digestibility is strongly affected by the species eating the plant. For example, cattle have different types of bacteria in their gut than deer. The bacteria in cattle can break down "rougher" forage than the normal bacteria in whitetails. This is why cattle can readily digest grass, but whitetails cannot. This is one of the major differences between the forage Brassicas in BioLogic and clover frequently planted for deer. The forage Brassicas were developed to be used as a deer forage. Deer readily digest the proteins and cell structure of these plants. The most common clover varieties were created for cattle, and later marketed as deer forage. Because of their cell structure, deer cannot digest clover as readily as they can forage Brassicas. The New Zealand researchers have published extensively on the digestibility of forage Brassicas versus clover. Study after study has shown better antler development and weight gain for deer browsing Brassicas compared to deer feeding on various clover varieties.

NUTRITION

To provide a sufficient amount of nutrients to white-tailed deer as a food plot crop, a forage must produce ample tonnage, it must be palatable, and it must be digestible. This is why the advanced cultivars of Brassicas used in the Bio Logic blends are such excellent deer forages. They have all been bred specifically to include all the qualities of a great deer forage, including being extremely nutritious. The nutritional qualities of the Bio Logic forage Brassicas actually were present in the parent stock. Remember Brassicas are part of the herbal family of plants. In field trials throughout North America, Bio Logic averaged 30% crude protein and several times higher in mineral content than any other forage commonly used in food plots.

SUMMARY

Brassicas are a group of plants that naturally have a high yield, are very nutritious, and extremely digestible. They also are relatively easy to crossbreed. Because of these characteristics, they have been used in New Zealand for 30+ years as the primary forage grown on deer farms. New Zealand researchers have developed several cultivars of forage Brassicas with characteristics that make them excellent deer forage. The yield, palatability, and digestibility is unrivaled by any of the plant species typically planted for deer forage in North America.
 

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