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Home > SEEDS - Food Plots (Wildlife) > ALL SEED Varieties > Sunn Hemp Seed Deer

Sunn Hemp Food Plot Seed

Sunn Hemp Soil Rebuilder & Cover CropSunn Hemp has been gaining popularity as a excellent summer food plot crop for deer for the past several years. Sunn hemp seed (Crotalaria juncea L.) also produces a fast growing legume that is a nitrogen fixing soil builder and cover crop for tropical and southern climates.

A wonder crop, it is a non-toxic fertilizer for soils that grazing wildlife such as deer simply love. Livestock such as cattle prefer the dried forage (hay) of Sunn Hemp.

This amazing crop has many advantages that cannot be overlooked
  • Matures 60 to 90 days from planting at around 6 ft tall -- this may increase under proper conditions, to a height of 10 -12 ft
  • Produces 100 lbs of nitrogen -- this may increase with favorable conditions to 200 lbs
  • Moves a minimum of 10 lbs of residual phosphorous from the subsoil to the topsoil -- this can be as high as 20 lbs
  • Moves around 80 lbs of residual potash from the subsoil to the topsoil -- under favorable conditions this may increase to 160 lbs
  • This all occurs after the plant's growth cycle and as a bonus it produces up to 4 tons of organic matter (biomass)
  • Suppresses rootknot and nematodes as well as weeds!
  • A great soil builder, increases drought tolerance and yield and cash value of the next crop
  • The leaves of Sunn Hemp contain 30% protein
  • Food plots -- Deer love the leaves; turkey and quail love the cover provided; Livestock will eat the dried leaves or 'hay'.
  • When properly planted Sunn Hemp will eliminate weeds -- an advantage for food plots and farmers alike
Note that raw Sunn Hemp seed requires an inoculant for nitrogen production -- Inoculate with the cowpea-type rhizobia bacteria.

Sunn Hemp Seed Deer
Code Name Image Price    


Planting & Growing Sunn Hemp Deer Food Plots

Sun Hemp is gaining in popularity as a deer food plot crop in the Southern USA as deer love the leaves -- 30% protein -- and if plowed under after reaching maturity (first flowering) it also fixes the poor soils so often found in sandy Southern USA. Turkey and quail will use Sunn Hemp for cover.

Sunn hemp, being a tropical plant, grows only in the summer here in the USA and needs warm weather (frost-free) for 8 to 12 weeks to provide biomass and nitrogen. Sunn Hemp is much easier to get incorporated into the soil to fix nitrogen when needed than sorghum, cow peas, and many other cover crop varieties.  It has been grown as a deer food plot, soil rebuilder, green manure, livestock feed for forage, hay, and for non-wood fiber.


Planting rates for food plots range from 15 lbs. with other species to 30 lbs. as a stand alone. Be sure and inoculate seed with a cowpea type inoculant  (a Bradyrhizobium species). Into a well prepared weed-free seedbed, broadcast pure live seed at 4060 lb/acre (4567 kg/ha), or drill at 3050 lb/acre (3456 kg/ha) to a depth of 1⁄21 inch (1225mm) in rows 6 inches (15 cm) apart. Use higher seeding rates if the crop will be incorporated within 3045 days or if severe weed competition is expected. Where weed competition is mild, drilled rates as low as 20 pounds of live seed per acre have been satisfactory.

Food Plot Management

Sunn Hemp germinates and grows incredibly fast. For food plots, Sunn Hemp should be incorporated or tilled back into the soil after 60 to 80 days to prevent the plants from reaching full maturity ( timing based on length of daytime in your location) -- unless you wish to enhance the soil. The reasoning behind this is that Sunn Hemp grows a very fibrous stalk which can be problematic after maturity. The best management practice for Sunn Hemp for food plots is to mow the hemp off at 12 inches after it reaches 3 to 4 feet in height. The plant will re-grow and the deer will continue to benefit from the plants nutritious leaves and tender buds.

Warm weather (frost-free) is needed for 8 to 12 weeks to provide biomass and nitrogen. Sunn Hemp must be plowed under before reaching the full bloom stage or it becomes too fibrous when using it as a green manure. Maximum foliage nitrogen content is highest at or before the early bloom stage. Home gardeners with light tillage equipment should incorporate when plants reach a height of 3
ft (90 cm), within 3050 days after planting.

Please be aware that just because Sunn Hemp is a member of the Crotalaria genus, some people may be concerned about the appropriateness of its use as an agricultural crop. These concerns are not warranted just because it is in the Crotalaria genus as there are 600 known species in this genus all with varying characteristics. Please see this USDA article for more information.

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depending on the item shipment location and your ship-to destination. (NOTE: No shipments delivered on weekends)
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