Iron & Clay Cowpeas
Iron and Clay cowpeas are perhaps the most popular peas for wildlife enthusiasts planting warm season plots for deer. It is extremely high yielding, high in protein and productive throughout the summer. It is very tolerant to deer pressure once established and has good regrowth potential. It will also produce seed in pods in late summer that make excellent quail and turkey food. The recommended planting rate for Iron and Clay peas is 50 to 75 lbs per acre. Peas are a legume, so they help augment soil nitrogen for other food plot plants as well.
There are a few steps that should be heeded during soil preparation and planting to insure successful germination, and healthy growth of seed.
First a soil sample should be taken and analyzed. Soil samples can be taken to a local Agriculture Extension agent, fertilizer plant, or private lab for analysis. The analysis will reveal the soil type, pH, and other factors. The analysis will allow the agent to make recommendations as to what will need to be added to the soil to make it ideal for the type of seed to be planted. Most seeds will do well within a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
A properly prepared seed bed is essential for successful planting. The area to be planted must be cleared of debris and all existing vegetation removed. The area should then be chopped or disced as needed to create an even fluffy soil.
The preferred method of planting seed is with a grain drill or culti-packer. This equipment allows for precise metering of seed and depth placement. Most people will not have access to a drill and will instead use a broadcast spreader for planting. The broadcast method will work well, but also requires the area to be rolled to insure proper seed-to-soil contact. In areas with very fine sand, light dragging is preferred to rolling. In any case, seed should not be buried more then ½ inch deep with ¼ inch being ideal.
Fertilizer can be applied at the time of planting. Consult with an Ag extension agent or fertilizer plant for proper formula and application rates.
For any other questions about specific planting methods, please call us at (863) 635-4473 and we will be happy to assist you.