This is Part 2 of our 2018 review of the test plot performance of Midwest Monster's food plot blends and seed offerings. If you're joining us here, be sure to read the full series starting with 2018 Review Part 1: Eagle Forage Soybeans.
I'm going to publish the 2018 test plot reviews installments:
Part 1: Eagle Forage Soybeans
Part 2: Mega Clover Plus
Part 3: Brassicas Bender (coming soon)
Part 4: Monster Rye (coming soon)
Part 2: Mega Clover Plus
Mega Clover Plus is our signature, northern-hardy clover blend. This blend has proved to be so reliable that we haven't changed the mix in 5 years. 2018's test plot was another year of proving that from the far northern tier to the central states, Mega Clover Plus continues to be an easy-to-grow, reliable, and top-performing blend.
About this blend: Mega Clover Plus is our signature clover blend that includes:
Medium red clover
White Dutch clover
This blend is designed to be easy to grow and to perform well in a wide range of soil types and growing conditions. Mega Clover Plus is the can't-miss choice to attract deer and keep them coming back. A well-maintained Mega Clover Plus plot can last up to 4 years, so this blend provides a low-maintenance option with high nutritional value.
Performance review: Excellent results again. The 2018 test plot grew very well despite both cooler and wetter-than-average conditions during the growing season.
Midwest Monster Home Farm Test Plot
This year we decided to try an early summer planting of Mega Clover Plus at the Midwest Monster home farm near Hinckley, Minnesota. We understand that there can be benefits to planting clover in late summer, but the late summer planting strategy has two drawbacks:
Late summer planting doesn't provide a thick, lush plot for deer to utilize in the fall.
Late summer planting can leave clover prone to winter kill under certain conditions.
For 2018, we decided to test the performance of Mega Clover Plus when planted in the early summer. I had hoped to plant the plot in mid-June, but due to heavy rains keeping the test plot too wet to work, I had to hold off on planting until July 7, 2018.
As an important note, normally I would not recommend planting clover in July, even in our far-northern location. 2018 was an exceptionally wet and cool summer, so I was able to safely plant in July. We normally recommend early-planted clover be put in in May or June in our area, as you go further south, you can plant even earlier.
Because we have a high deer population at the Midwest Monster home farm, we always plant clover with a nurse crop of oats to protect the young clover from over-browsing. We used 75 pounds of oats per acre on the test plot. By the way, your turkeys will love the oats.
Even the mid-summer planting date didn't slow down Mega Clover Plus. within two weeks of planting, the ground had a carpet of clover plants. The nurse crop did its job and gave the deer something to browse on without damaging too much clover.
The picture below shows the progress by August 6 (1 month after planting). Plenty of the nurse crop oats showing...
But take a close look and the Mega Clover Plus is everywhere as these two pictures (also August 6, 2018) show.
By the end of the growing season, we had a lush plot of Mega Clover Plus. Our deer herd feasted on the young clover until they had the plot mowed like a golf green. The plot was a prime attraction from the early bow season in September to the firearms season in early November. Only the snow finally stopped the deer from trying to find more clover in the test plot.
Photos below were taken September 28, 2016. Lots of lush Mega Clover Plus. The oats will die out next season leaving what will be a beautiful plot for at least 3 more years!
Midwest Monster Home Farm Test Plot Summary 2018
Variety: Mega Clover Plus
Planting Date: July 7, 2018
Planting Notes: We recommend using a nurse crop of oats or rye when planting clover. For our 1-acre test plot, we planted 75 pounds of oats first and used the disc to lightly till them into the soil. Then we spread clover on top and cultipacked.
A nurse crop like oats will grow faster than the clover and give the deer something to eat so that they don't tear the young clover out of the ground and overgraze it.
Growing Weather Notes: Ground was very wet at planting and planting was later than desired. Summer was cool and wet, with above-average rainfall
15% more rainfall in 2018 (compared to 10 year average)
1,993 growing degree days (GDD or "heat units") produced from planting day (7/7/18) to October 1, 2018.
No surprises here, Mega Clover Plus again proves why it's our #1 selling seed blend. Reliable performance in variable conditions and a flexible plot blend that brings deer in year after year.