BioLogic® has always been known for its highly attractive, nutritious seed blends for deer. Many do not realize BioLogic® also makes some of the best bird blends on the market. I am very frequently asked what can be planted for turkeys, quail, doves,?ducks, etc. Most often hunters and landowners are looking for ways to keep game birds on their land so they do not have to leave their property to find ample food. Growing food for birds is relatively easy and a little less complicated than growing food for whitetails.
WhistleBack is a warm-season blend of sorghum, three varieties of millets, Egyptian wheat and sunflowers. This mix is designed to produce massive amounts of seed and at the same time offer cover for many species of upland birds. WhistleBack contains varieties that all grow and mature at different heights offering food to birds as small as quail and doves on up to pheasants or turkeys. Our modern day food plot planting practices are not very conducive to feeding quail, turkeys, etc; we plant every available open piece of ground for our deer and figure the birds will be fine. It doesn’t take a large area to feed a lot of birds and designating a third or a quarter-acre section out of some of your deer plots for a strip or perimeter of WhistleBack will go a long way in feeding your target birds.
The plant varieties in WhistleBack will mature in 60-90 days and, once the seedheads mature and dry up, they will begin to naturally drop seeds providing feed for your birds. As the fall turns into winter and birds really start looking for food, the stalks of the blend will weaken with the freezes and thaws allowing seeds to be reached and knocked off by the birds. A half-acre test plot I planted in Alabama kept a flock of turkeys in it from September through February; there wasn’t a day went by that you wouldn’t catch them feeding in it. Some turkeys even learned later in the winter they could step on some of the smaller stalks and push the seedhead toward the ground. This blend also makes a very good bedding area for deer when planted in larger plots and it can also be used for a buffer or a transitional zone between the woods or bedding areas and your other food plots.
The seeds in WhistleBack are all fairly small and ground preparation should be as follows. No-Till drills work great for this blend; most drills have a setting for planting millet or sorghums. If using traditional planting methods, I would suggest spraying the area to be planted a week to ten days ahead of planting with a non-selective herbicide, like Round-Up, to kill all existing vegetation. Ground to be planted can then be disked or tilled and then cultipacked or rolled to create a firm seed bed. WhistleBack can then be broadcasted and lightly dragged in, or broadcasted just prior to a rain event and let the rain properly bury the seed.
A pH of 6.5-7.0 is needed for optimum growth and seed production; however, millets, sorghums and sunflowers are fairly tolerant of acidic soils, allowing you to plant for your birds in areas with less than ideal soil conditions. WhistleBack can use about 300 lbs of 13-13-13 per acre, or an equivalent. All the seed varieties in this blend are nitrogen lovers and it would benefit growth and seed production to implement a secondary nitrogen application four to six weeks after germination, much like you would corn.
Austin Delano is a Territory Manager with BioLogic®.