Food Plot Planting
Planting no-till food plots for whitetails or turkeys or planting without cultivating the soil is possible, but the right crop must be chosen. You’ll need tiny seeds with a planting depth of 12 inches or less for the most part. You’ll have to make do with what Mother Nature has given you if you don’t work the soil to build a deeper seedbed. So, unless you have an item that will bury the seeds to the proper depth or a lot of “elbow grease,” large grains like maize, beans, and peas with a planting depth of an inch or more will likely need to be passed on. Small seeds such as clovers, brassicas, chicory, alfalfa, and some cereal grains will be required instead.
In a spring no-till plot (in the north), products like Clover Plus or Non-Typical would be good candidates (late summer through Fall in the south). Clover and chicory seeds are small, allowing for simple seed-to-soil contact. There are many options for late summer and fall planting (north or south) — cereal grain blends, such as Outfitter’s Blend, or brassica blends, such as Maximum, Deer Radish, or Winter Bulbs & Sugar Beets, should produce decent stands in a no-till setting. Many additional blends will work if you follow the guidelines correctly. You might also use a blend like Hot Spot, designed expressly for no-till situations.
My top two picks are Deer Radish as an annual and Clover Plus as a perennial. BioLogic’s radishes are one of the best plants for improving soil I’m aware of, as well as one of the most appealing plantings I’ve ever seen whitetails “attack.” Clover Plus is the most dependable crop I’ve ever planted because it’s simple to sow, maintain, and develop.
There are three critical phases to establishing no-till food plots that must be followed to ensure success:
1. When Planting No-Till Food Plots, Make Sure You Choose an Appropriate Area First.
Suppose significant vegetation grew on the site during the previous growing season. In that case, it usually means there is enough sunlight reaching the region, it is receiving appropriate moisture. The soil is ideal for plant life. Some individuals believe they’ll start a no-till patch near their treestand in the “boonies,” where there are only a few matted-down leaves or pine needles. What makes you believe your food plot will grow any better if there isn’t anything growing there now? I would clear some canopy trees in this scenario before planting the area. Four hours of direct sunlight is the least; Hot Spot is designed to perform in as little as four hours per day, while most other plant kinds require six hours or more.
A soil test is necessary for a variety of reasons. Obviously, we need to know what we’re dealing with, just like any other plot, so we know what to add for success. However, applying lime to lessen the soil’s acidity will be ineffective because we cannot turn the soil into a no-till plot. Lime is not like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Included in your typical N.P.K. fertilizer, which will help you move moisture through the soil, is “stationary” in the soil for the most part. As a result, you should place the lime particle “throughout the soil column where the plant’s roots will reside” for it to complete its work. Following the lime application, one should work the lime into the soil for six to eight inches. Plant selection will be critical because we won’t do so with a no-till technique. An application of pelletized lime may assist. But you’ll need to choose a crop that can thrive at the pH you have now, as raising it (or reducing the soil’s acidity) will be tough without the ability to turn the soil.
It’ll be critical that you pay attention to your soil test results and make sure you use the N.P.K. fertilizer recommended by your test. M.E.E.N. Green Water Soluble Fertilizer from BioLogic is perfect for no-till settings. This one-of-a-kind product contains water-soluble phosphorus, which aids in root development and plant growth. Plants with healthier root systems can use soil moisture more efficiently. It also delivers the fact that nutrients are taken through the plants is a significant benefit of this no-till condition. In addition to the roots, there are leaves and stems. Therefore, the plants will use these critical nutrients even in acidic conditions. This one-of-a-kind solution improves the health and appearance of plants.
2. Next, Remove All Existing Vegetation (Competition). Plants Competing for Sunlight, Moisture, and Soil Nutrients Are Undesirable.
All competing vegetation must be removed. Plain glyphosate (Roundup) is usually the best, easiest, and cheapest solution for this job. There were “perfect conditions” for whatever native plant was growing. Previously, you must eradicate those plants and produce “excellent conditions” for your new suggested crop. If there is a lot of plant mass to kill and remove, some managers may plan a no-till plot a year ahead of time and start eliminating weeds the year before.
Since we’re turning a corner, I’d like to make the most of every advantage I have. I can use a selective grass herbicide like Weed Reaper if I grow a crop that doesn’t contain desirable grass (such as oats, wheat, corn, or sorghum). This clethodim-based pesticide kills annual and perennial grasses while leaving my broadleaf food plot crops unharmed. All grass competition is eliminated by Weed Reaper. The plot’s life and output will be extended due to this. It can be tank-mixed with M.E.E.N. Green to boost its efficiency. Allowing you to foliar feed the crops you’re trying to protect while also destroying the grasses. Spraying grasses when they grow young will yield the best results because the poison will be rapidly absorbed. This product appeals to me because it already contains the surfactant, so I have to combine it with water. It also comes in a “food plot farmer-friendly” pint (one-acre size), which means I don’t have to keep two-and-a-half gallons of herbicide on hand at each property I manage.
3. Ensure That Your Seeds Are in Contact With the Soil. Seeds Must Be Sown at the Correct Depth for Germination.
If a mat of vegetation, such as a layer of sod, exists, it must be removed. Rake out all of the dead plant stuff from the plot. Because there will often be tall green plants or grass growing in late summer planting, you may need to mow before spraying your herbicide. If you mow your lawn, wait a few days before spraying a herbicide. Mowing the plants will shock them into dormancy, and you want your target plants to grow more so they may absorb the poison through their root systems. Whatever the case may be, the dead plant debris must be removed. To remove it, simply use a garden rake and some elbow grease or an ATV with a harrow-style drag to cover the ground much more quickly. Debris can also be removed with a lawn de-thatcher hauled behind an ATV or tractor. The seeds must touch the earth and not become entangled in the plant’s decomposition.
Even if the seeds made it to the soil and germinated, the decaying plant material would deplete the nitrogen and other nutrients available to your new seedlings. Plant development will take precedence over the process of breaking down. Dead plant matter turns into the valuable organic matter; thus, the dead plant residue must be removed.
It’s essential to consider the type of soil you have. Your germ rate will be affected by the type of soil you’re using (from clay to sand) and the weather conditions you’re in. For example, suppose you have clay soil and heavy rain followed by a long period of dry, hot weather. In that case, the soil may build a crust, making effective seed-to-soil contact nearly impossible. Various seed germination and growth scenarios can occur depending on the numerous soil types and present conditions combinations.
Even if you have “everything you need to plant anything,” a no-till planting strategy may be the best option. We have very rocky soil on my Ontario property. We’ve spent years manually picking out the rocks by hand, and we now have around 24 acres that we can safely run a disk through, with more being added all the time. However, we use a no-till strategy when claiming new ground until the rocks are removed.
A no-till drill would be the ultimate no-till planting method. The benefits of utilizing a no-till drill are so numerous that it is frequently the ideal method for planting many crops, whether cash crops or food plots. It saves time for land management during a highly busy time of year, prevents soil erosion, boosts yield, reduces costs, and is MUCH better for the soil. A no-till grain drill can differentiate between planting during a wet year and growing on inclines where we couldn’t before since the slope would have caused serious erosion with tilled soil. Although most food plot farmers dream of having a no-till drill, a plot must still be free of large rocks and sticks.
Planting no-till food plots allow farmers to create a reasonable stand without using a no-till drill. Because we’re skipping a critical step in the planting process, we need to make sure the others are done correctly. No-till planting is a fantastic way to get a stand-in an area where the land can’t be worked because of rocks, stumps, or other debris. A location where machinery can’t get to, or for first-time farmers who don’t have the appropriate equipment. Although creating a suitable seedbed would normally yield better results, this is a strategy that is typically employed when traditional planting methods are unavailable. Although a no-till plot does not have the same aesthetic appeal as a well-prepared seedbed, it can nevertheless provide enough nourishment for your wildlife.
Frequently Asked Questions About Planting No-Till Food Plots
No-till planting equipment, like seed drills, can be expensive. However, it is possible to do no-till food plots with minimal, low-tech equipment. As the video explains, Q.D.M.A. has grown successful no-till food plots using only a mower, a backpack sprayer, and an over-
If you need to till or plow the soil before planting, wait for 4 to 6 weeks so that new weeds have time to grow. You can then kill them before planting clover seed. You may also use the no-till method, in which case you will wait for the dead thatch to turn brown and then lime
Quick Plot Seed is a blend of annuals and biennials that grows quickly. You can plant it from late Summer to early Fall. The Rye and Wheat will grow quickly and give the deer something to eat. The radishes and brassicas will also grow well during the Fall.
There are many types of no-till planting. Some common types include no-till corn planting, soybeans planting, and no-till sunflowers planting. You can also do no-till wheat planting, barley planting, sorghum (milo) planting, millet planting, and alfalfa planting.
Buckwheat is a great cover crop for no-till farming. Leave the plants on the soil to protect it and suppress weeds. You can also sow new seeds or transplant plants right through the buckwheat. The plants will add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
I have found that a clover blend will outperform and outlast any of the other crops listed above. Clover is perennial, so you don’t have to replant every year, and it is generally hearty enough to be planted at virtually any time of the year. … Another benefit of this is that clover is extremely easy to maintain
If you want to plant clover and brassicas, it is okay. However, they will grow much better if they are planted separately.
If you are going to choose one type of clover to plant in your yard, white clover is a good choice. Gillium told me that White Dutch and Ladino are two of the best types of white clover for deer, and they both do well when planted by themselves.
A few important things need to be done for no-till seeding to work. Soil testing is one of them. Making sure there is not too much competition from existing sod is another. Seeding at the right time is key, and using high-quality seed. Finally, it’s important to
The best thing about the no-till gardening method is that it helps to keep weed seeds from germinating. Unlike when you till the soil, the weed seeds are buried deeper and deeper with every layer of organic matter you add each year. This also makes the soil spongier, which is great for plants because their roots can
One of the top three mistakes people make when planting food plots for deer is using too much seed. If it says 4 lbs per acre, 6 lbs are not better. … Set the spreader low and cover the same area 3 times if necessary, but don’t lay it down too thick because you will run out of seed and the areas.
The end of July and early August is a good time to plant a food plot. The weeds will be dying, there will be more moisture, and people who like to plant food plots have plenty of months to prepare for their next planting.
There are certain plants that deer like to eat, including red clover, chicory, and orchard grass. Deer also enjoy eating high-protein crops such as peas, soybeans, turnips, alfalfa, sorghum, kale, and corn. The animals also like to eat nutritious nuts from chestnuts and acorns.
Some common perennial forages planted to attract deer include different types of white clovers, red clover, alsike clover, alfalfa, and chicory.