Question: “We passed on some really nice middle-aged bucks this last deer hunting season and they are showing up on camera now. I am worried that we will lose them during the of season unless I supplement them with something. I have several open areas that would be suitable for plots, but would it be better to plant deer food plots or look at buying and setting up some protein feeders? I have been looking at the Biologic lab lab food plot mix. I just do not want to loose these bucks. Located in northern South Texas. What would you do?”
Response: Lab Lab is a great spring and summer plant for deer food plots but it needs plowed land with no weeds or grass. In addition, lab lab needs to be fenced to keep cattle and deer off of it as it grows. In fact, lab lab must be protected from whitetail deer to at least five to six weeks of age, if possible. Lab lab is drought tolerant but needs some ground moisture at the time of planting and then hopefully some timely rains when growing. It’s not the easiest thing to grow, but it’s not the most difficult either.
Lab Lab is not something you can throw on the ground and expect to grow. As when establishing any deer food plot, get a soil test and the results will tell you what your soil needs for better food plot success. For most legumes, you will need the soil and night time temperatures to be warmer. In my opinion, you will want to be plant around the first to mid-April, at least a couple weeks past the last freeze.
If you plant lab lab to early it will just sit there and not grow. If you plant it when the soil temps are warmer it will grow faster. Lab lab for the most part will jump out of the ground in warm temperatures and then put on two sets of leaves in the first week, then spend almost the next 10 days or so putting down root structure. Any grazing pressure at his point to the leaves will do harm to the plant. In fact, the plants will likely not recover and grow anymore.
If you have a lower deer density then I would try to mix lab lab with cowpeas and plant a large enough food plot to keep whitetail from grazing it out too fast. In Texas, like most places, an acre of good deer food plot can support about four to seven deer if it is has enough moisture and gets a three to four week headstart before the deer find it. Really good, lush lab lab food plots can support seven to 10 deer per acre. Good luck with your lab lab food plot for whitetail deer on your property. If you give it a go, let me know how it works out.