View Full Version : Spring food plot

01-19-2014, 03:08 PM
This is the first year I've hunted the property I'm on now. The land owner was excited when I mentioned I want to do some food plots. I have the extra time and small equipment to till up land properly (atv).I know I have to do soil test and stuff. My questions are what's the best was to clear out tall grass ands weeds from designated area? And recommendations on what seeds or mixes of seeds work well in the spring and last long? This will be my 1st food plot so any advice will help some. Planning on doing 2 plots each about .5 acres.

01-19-2014, 05:50 PM
well now is a great time to be planning, have lots of time to get ready, or??
I would get teh soil test done ASAP
reason being, right now winter time is the best time to be adding lime if you can
many bulk delivery companys can get on frozen gorunds they cannot get to any other time of the yr, and the both spread it for you and they charge about half or less than half of what a ton of pulverized lime will cost you by the bag, and thats hard to spread without a correct spreader for it
and about 3 maybe 4 times cheaper than pelletized lime by the bag, which is the easiest to spread with most atv pull type spreaders(pulverized will not work in a broadcast spreader, will just clog up and stop falling, all the more so if its damp at all)
OK after you get the soil test done
you asked how is the best way to get rid of tall grass weeds, ???
well if you have access to a brush hog type mower, and the crap is still standing, meaning no snow has packed it down flat
use that to get it into smaller pieces, as long strands of grass and what not's, will be a lot harder on atv type, even bigger pull type disc's andf harrows, it kinda forms like a carpet, and its a tuff bed to slice up
so that's the best call, to mow while standing as low as you can
come green up, it will green up in most places, long before its really planting time
thus, you can then spray said site with round up, or the likes to help kill what's coming up fast
you want a seed bed to be as weed free as possible, that means NOTHING green growing before your seeds do
if anything is green when you seed, odds are it will grow a lot faster than what ever you plant
that's how you bestwant the seed bed to be
NOW< back to the lime
if you get the soil test done NOW< take a bunch of samples from all over each plot site and keep each site in a seperate soil test, soils can change a ton in just a little didstance from each other(boilogic, does soil test fast for like 10 bucks each too, highly recommend them, can get there forms free on line too, just print and send and you will get back info, on how much of lime and fert you need to plant"X" sed too)
once you get teh soil test back
, if you can get that lime down NOW, and even better, disc that lime into the soil right now too, lime takes a lot of time to work, its not a magic pill, to fix PH, its a very slow deal, so sooner you get in down the better
plus if you can disc the site now after you add the lime, you will be way ahead on how easy the plot will be to do come planting time, will turn over way easier after having a till now, plus will help any matter on the ground to break up faster too, win win, doing this NOW

as for seeds, plant types to plant
clover is a great seed, comes in many types, some grow taller, bigger heads, some smaller and lower, but all clover makes a good plot, and add nitrogen to the soil for free too!, so its a good plant/seed to use for a food plot, will green up fast, grows yr to yr(some times up to 8+ yrs if you do your part right) and will stay green till a few heavy frost cause it to go into winter stage
it also holds well to lots of browsing too, to a point and many many critters will use it, from turkesy picking bugs, to deer, and other critters
draw backs, seed can be pricy(even off brand names, and brand names are NOT needed here either, don't buy into the hpye, sure there good seeds, but not really any better for the value)
clover, is a plot that can be over run with weeds very fast, and I mean very fast
it however can be managed for weeds by both mowing and spraying, and even both, mowing is cheapest way too
spraying can mean needing a bigger sprayer than a back pack too if your doing over a 1/4 acre, and if you buy a sprayer, but a good one, and about 40 gallon tanker too, smaller one's mean a lot of fill ups/down time, and they will come in handy after the plot bug bites and you plant more LOl
chemicals for spraying can be very pricey, for brand name, and fairly costly for off brand names, both work well when used right, so that's a plus, but many places getting a sprayer in and water can get tricky, but possible about any place

another good plot is chichory, it works a lot like clover, but tens to stay greener a hair longer into winter time, but also needs to be mowed and sprayed to make it last long and be full
these would be my two suggestions on seeds you don't have to plant every yr

NOW if you wanted a hunting plot, that is a plot you plant in the late summer, and they work a ton better, for two reasons,
one they are simply a new food to the area, deer like people get tired eating the same crap every dy, so anything new, and even betetr good food, is a hot spot
second, fall plots last as long as the deer don't eat it all, well into winter if you plant enough, and even into spring time, before green up happens every where else, making your land a hot spot, and a great place to find sheds
fall plots can be super easy to plant too
say you want to plant your two, 1/2 acre sites in spring time
well plant just a 1/4 of each in like clover or chichory, and the other 1/4 of each in like buck wheat
buck wheat will draw turkeys like mad, if your into spring gobbler hunting, or fall, and it will keep the soil in that site area, very soft
whick means come late summer, you can turn it over very easy, plant your fall plot fast and have all plots having done good for you yr round, buckwheat seeds are cheap, easy to plant, need very little fertilizer, or any maintaining once planted
deer eat it too, mostly while plant is growing, but by the time its done, its time for the fall plot, so no down time on your plots
for a fall plot, I highly recommend brassicia, it works the best for me, grows fast, can buy cheap rape seed(same deal) and have a great hunting plot for cheap

NOW if your into planting, adding corn , is always a plus BIG time come fall
you can get very cheap GOOD corn seed, by joining the NWTF, they sell left over prime seed for cheap to memebers, its all round up ready, making maintaining the corn simple
hardest part of corn is getting rid of the crap the next yr, stalks are a pain in the A$$ to get rid of
TWTF, also, many times has soybeans, sorghum, and other seeds for sale, even clover some times, winter wheat, buckwheat, and other's
all depends on what your chapter has on hand
NOW is the time to be contacting them if you want seed from them, they like to have pre ordered seeds, so they don't get stuck with a lot of extra, super way to get seeds for a plot
been planting food plots since 1989, so have a lot fo trial and error's over the yrs, and a lot of knowledge here
and glad to help if I can

01-19-2014, 06:12 PM
Yes it's a lot of help. Thanks for the input. I plan on planting some in spring and some in late summer for hunting purposes. Question: spraying weed killer and mowing the plots won't hurt the clover or chicory?? How do you know when it's time to mow? When weeds are bigger than plants? Not plating corn or soybeans. Property has close to 100 acres of corn/soybeans already from farmers leasing it. I can get a bush hog there easy. I don't have a sprayer tho. Will look into that. Anyways around it or is it inexpensive? I will test soil after season is over in ohio. I don't want to mess around out there to much. My dad is still hunting hard.

01-19-2014, 07:15 PM
OK first off, when I say spraying the site and spraying the actual food plots to prevent weeds, its two totally(actualy 3) different things
you will use a round up type chemical to kill everything on the site, how strong, a mix, depends on the type of chemical and the type of plants you have to kill
next once a clover or chicory plot if up and growing, you have to use special chemicals that will kill weeds(either broad leaf or grass, one chemical for each) and these chemicals are designed to work in a food plot and not kill the "X" plant you have growing there
they need to be sprayed before the weeds/un wanted things go to seed head, same with mowing
you do not want them to produce any more weed/un wanted seeds, thus you spray to try to kill remaining growing un wanted things in plot, and to prevent them from seeding more seeds of un wanted things in your plot
you also mow for same reason, PLUS< after you mow you make new growth happen, and critters like more tender new growth better than older plants, easier for them to digest and I guess it taste's more tender/better to them
so mowing and spraying together works the best
but weed seeds are a royal pain in the A$$, as the wind will blow seeds into a plot from miles a way
so its a constant battle, pending how free you want your plot to be

reason I suggest corn, or beans is this, regradless of if theer are a lot planted about you(actually it will help you if there are) most crops are cut LONG before hunting prime time happens in most area's
and come after the rut, for sure, and if you have corn, and or beans, you will pul deer from afar when the temps drop, making your lands a prime time spot, over others lands about you
the fact other BIGGER farm crops are there, will help allow your much smaller corn and beans make it to late season, thus why I said it will help you more if they do plant other places, as deer tend to feed in big crop fiels over small plots of corn, due to more cover
next on beans, if you plant beans, round up ready beans in spring time, come late July, you can simply just wait till a rain, and broadcast some rape/brassicia seeds in the plot in a rain, and double up the plots pull for deer, as it will have both brassicia and beans for late season, a hot spot of sorts
the beans can be kept almost weed free by spraying the beans after there avout a ft tall into growing, then they will pretty much shade out any new weeds, but come late summer when they brown, and loose there leaves, teh soil will still be fairing soft and weed free, a great seed bed of sorts
plus beans make for easy ground to turn over too, allowing you to rotate crops very easy on plots, same as with the buck wheat too!

here is a good read for you on chemical use


and here is a good site to see what chemicals are out there in a some what off brand name brand, you can still price shop for these chemicals on line and you will find price's can be many dollars off from site to site, brand name chemicals, for food plots, would be like whitetail instute(which uses mostly same chemicals in these here, just do there own blend and mark the price WAY up over these) many of these chemicals these days can be found on e bay too?
they do have experation dates, so ask about them if you find any dirt cheap, and be safe when you handly chemicals, follow exact mix's too!


as for a sprayer, I will be honest, the smaller 20 galloon or so one's that mount on an atv rack, will work, and there nice due to they ride high off the ground, but they do run out fast for me, I tend to plant 1-2-3 acre plots
and it gets to be very time consuming for me to have to fill and re fill a small tank
I use a 45 gallon tow behind sprayer , which I made a 16 ft boom, which saves me a ton on passes, as when you spray, you only go about 3 mph, and if you have justa 20 gallon sprayer, and a 7-8 ft boom , thats a ton of passes on even a 1/2 acre plot
spraying can be very dangerous, on chemical mist and winds, just plain sucks, I suggest wearing a good high quality breating device, and goodles and I even wear a one piece coverall, to keep it from getting on me, chemicals are absorbed thru the skin, so mist is a BIG issue
and also why a tow bhind sprayer can some times help, as its just a little farter away from you than a rack mounted sprayer
Tractor supply sells decent tow behind sprayers, I have a Fimco make and model, been working just fine now for over 10+ yrs
mine is battery opperated at my farm, and we have a gas powered one at my hunting camp(55 gallon one) the gas one has had more down time, sadly and cost a lot more?
I bought a good deep cell battery to run mine, and only use battery for sprayer, its also 10 yrs old and still working, some times spraying 6-7 hrs ata clip between charges, and I since added a cig lighter plug in case it ever runs down, that I can power off my ATv, but didn't want to be taxing my ATv, using it all the time, a battery is cheaper than having a isue on some electronic part of the ATV

biggest draw back to the sprayer I have is that it has piss poor ground clearance, like 6 inches or less
so when spraying corn or beans, I can only do so when its very very low
been planning to modify it with a high clearance axle set up, just never got to it LOl
I am sure a sprayer can be made super simple and cheap too if your handy
spindles, wheels, bearings, and a a tank and pump, can be had for less than buying a sprayer pre made, and you can make it a high axle deal, if you can weld and build one, a boom can also be made rather cheap too, nozzles are pretty cheap
be glad to help design one if your into this

01-19-2014, 07:27 PM
here is a picture of my sprayer
when you buy /build one, look at it as an investment, they last for yrs and yrs if you take care of them adn they wil see a lot of use as time goes buy, better to buy/build a good one once than a few cheap one's
again its a 45 gallon and 16 ft boom, covers about 18 ft per pass, and can be folded down to cover just 5 ft, or 12 ft, or the whole 18 ft or so
if I had to do it over again, I would build one, with a high axle/ground clarance, over buying a pre built one. as very few are made for hunting plots, most are for peoples yards, or fields, that don't have big rocks or tall crops wanting/needing to be sprayed
even if the boom goes high on them, the darn axle's run way too much over and on taller things can break the stem's /plants and kill them

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z457/mrbb1/sprayer_zpsb58ca333.jpg (http://s1190.photobucket.com/user/mrbb1/media/sprayer_zpsb58ca333.jpg.html)

03-16-2014, 01:10 AM
May be some good info, but really mrbb.....really

03-17-2014, 07:07 AM
Lift it mrbb to get a higher clearance I wouldn't imagine it would be that hard

03-17-2014, 02:40 PM
sooner or later I will, but its a little m,ore work than I want to do right now, as I would have to beef up the frame, then get new axle's, re do the hitch point, and so on
but it can be done
I also, have a high axle trailer now, I been just thinking of pulling the tank off this one and then just strapping it on the other trailer, so I can do a fast on off deal with it
might be easier than building this tanks trailer up to get the clearance I would like on it
like most things in life, lots of idea's but when it comes to time and $$ to do them all, we have to pick and choose a little more LOl