As always, detailed information on brassicas can be found at this link: Brassicas.


Groundhog forage radish roots can become very large…

Radishes

Radishes are quickly becoming some of the most popular brassicas food plotters are planting. They should definitely be used in ones food plot strategy but don’t forget other brassicas, they all serve their purpose and diversity is best. There tends to be some confusion in the some farming circles- particularly in the Midwest about what kind of radish we are talking about. To keep it simple, there are forage & tillage radishes and oil seed radishes. Oil seed are bred for their forage and oil production, not so much on their roots. While forage & tillage radishes have long tap roots useful for recycling soil nutrients and breaking up hard soils. Many are finding that even when deer refuse to eat other brassicas, they’ll devour radishes.

Deer ate every radish plant and root in this field by Sept 15 but left all other plants alone…

Radish – PROS

Forage radishes are extremely fast growing and can be planted from late July to early September. Deer seem to favour their leaves over other brassicas and they will eat their roots as well. Planted thick enough it will indeed canopy and smother competition but at lighter rates it lends itself better to being mixed with other brassicas or in fall cereal grain plantings. Forage radish plants are unique in that their roots can grow 2-4 feet and tap roots as much as 8 feet deep allowing them to pull up subsoil nutrients from deep into the soil. More on radishes root structure is discussed below.

Radish – CONS

 The roots are also very high in protein but because much of it is below ground do not offer the late winter food source potential that turnips do.
The real standout attribute of radishes comes the following spring when the rotted tap roots will leave deep holes that will have shattered the hard pan. Water runs into the holes and the freezing and thawing breaks up compacted soils. There is a new improved radish called Groundhog Forage radish available from Welter Seed and its root structure is unbelievable at breaking harden soils. Imagine hard soils like a plate…what happens when we pour water on a plate? Pour anything on a hard surface and it’s going to run off. Imagine roots trying to penetrate that hard plate, imagine the stress and energy on a plant as its roots struggle for everything it needs, unable to go vertically where the “gold mine” lays. Now imagine a soft fluffy sponge. Water and nutrients absorb instantly rather than running off. Tap roots of whatever we plant on loosened soils can penetrate deep into subsoil for moisture and nutrients previously “locked” beneath the hardpan or “plate” so to speak. This makes them an excellent soil building tool for food plotters.

A 20-inch long Groundhog radish root…

In spring roots decay opening the soil for water to run in and begin to freeze and thaw, thus breaking up the soil…

For more helpful information on brassicas and how to plant brassicas in your management program or if you have questions, click here. If the brassicas thread doesn’t help, register, and send Paul a personal message.