Forage Radishes

View of forage radish leafy top and shoot in ground
View of forage radish leafy top and shoot in ground

Forage daikon radishes are a variety of radish that can can grow a leafy top as high as 2 feet out of the ground and also can grow a shoot (similar to a carrot but larger) under the ground as deep as 24 inches. Forage daikon radishes are in the brassica family and have as good or better protein and mineral content as other members of the brassica family including turnips and rape.

Forage daikon radishes are a cool season food plot forage that attract deer to eat the leafy tops and are easily mixed into your fall food plot mixes. Forage daikon radishes provide a super attraction forage for does to spend more time in your food plot and draw in bucks during the rut.  These have become our #1 fall attraction forage with over 95% success rate.  In fact, we have stopped recommending winter peas in fall mixes and have replaced them with forage radishes because they cost half as much to plant per acre and will re-grow under deer grazing unlike the winter peas that die easily under grazing.

Not only do these forage daikon radishes provide attraction but they also aerate your soil, build organic matter, and increase nutrient content in the root zone. The forage daikon radish shoots under the ground rapidly decompose in early spring to create a void in the soil which aerates the soil. At the same time, the decomposing forage daikon radish shoots provide new organic matter for your plots. The third thing forage daikon radishes do to improve the soil is to reach down and pull nutrients from deep underground and use them in the development of the shoot which decompose later in the spring. There are many more functions of forage daikon radishes - all of which produce better soil quality.

As mentioned before, you can mix forage daikon radishes with your winter food plot mix (5 pounds per acre recommended planting rate) or you can plant forage daikon radishes by themselves (10 pounds per acre recommended planting rate) planted at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep. Just make sure you plant forage daikon radishes at least 6 weeks before the first frost in your area to give them adequate time for development before cool weather hits.

Like other brassica family members that make a bulb like turnips and forage beets (Forage Rape varieties do not produce a bulb), it is recommended that you rotate forage daikon radishes every few years to avoid potential long-term fungus problems.  Every third year, you can plant a Forage Rape variety to eliminate fungus problems however fungus issues are a rare problem that we have only ran into once in all of our food plot acres.  One other item to keep in mind is that forage daikon radishes do not do well on wet sites so don’t plant them in areas that stay too wet all winter long or you will get little to no growth.

Forage radish shoots with leafy tops cut off

Forage radish shoots with leafy tops cut off

To top it off, forage daikon radishes are priced competitively for 2012 as low as $4.36 per pound which will allow deer managers to plant even more acres this coming fall.  Add forage daikon radishes to all of your winter food plots!  Whether your goal is to harvest a quality buck or to simply improve your soils, forage daikon radishes give you a new tool in your food plot arsenal!