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Do food plots really work?

Well it is August 24th of 2008 as I write this article, all of our 8 food plots are now in. There are two different planting season for the majority of the seeds out there marketed to hunters. I tend to stay away from the spring planting only because we our meadows are loaded red top clover and there is plenty of feed available during this time for the deer to browse on.

Last year we planted a total of 6 food plots from soybean (biologic)  to fall foliage. We also had a local farmer plant 26 acres of field corn and another 2 acres of sweet corn. Again we saw positive effects of what can happen when quality food plots are planted and knowing the PH and how much fertilizer to use.

I have been checking around the local area and antler size was down last year and thus far I can only relate it to the drought this summer. The odd thing is that there was plenty of food sources available to the bucks for antler growth such as a great mast crop of apples and the corn grew great. So what happened? My guess is it had something to do with minerals needed for antler growth and here is NY we are not allowed to supplement any form or salt or minerals for the deer.

Why Should you Plan a food Plot?

In the movie of the baseball player in the field of dreams the quote of " If you build it they will come" pretty much says it all. I can pretty much guarantee that if you take the time to get your soils tested for the proper PH, add the correct amount of fertilizer and lime and do your homework on the seeds out there that work best in your area....the deer will find it.

I hate to admit it, but I can be a bit stubborn and bull headed at times when it comes to doing things. Take two years ago for instance....heck, I was a dairy farmer for years and I knew how to plant. Well to make a long story short, I went ahead and planted my food plots with out a soil test, no lime or fertilizer and pretty much bought off the selves at Wal-Mart just about anything they had for sale that said it would grow big bucks.

At the same time a neighbor and long time friend Roger Perrin planted his food plots but did everything right in the way of adding lime and fertilizer and researching seed companies to see what would grow best up here in the north country. My plots were over taken with weeds and the deer in our area spent the fall feeding to their hearts content on the lush growth that Roger had planted.

Live and learn right? Well from that day forward I started doing it the way it was suppose to be and started to see the results. If your going to spend this kind of money is gas, seed, fertilizer and time...why not take the time to do it right.


PH Levels

Proper PH for most crops is between 6 and 7.5

You will need to adjust your soil's PH  by adding lime.

The following is the amount of lime required to adjust your PH one point.

To move the PH level from 5.5 to 6.5 would take 75-100 pounds for 1000 square feet

 or 2 tons per acre.

You can buy a Portable Battery Powered pH Meter

for around $22.00


Perennials verse annuals

Perennials are plants that will come back next year on their own and will usually keep doing this for up to 5 years or more. I like to plant this style seed where I am doing rotations from year to year. An example would be a one acre chuck of land that you plan to hunt over. You would start off by sectioning this area off into 4 sections. This year do just one section of that acre with perennials and plan for the following 3 years of doing a section at a time. At the end of the 4 years you now have a full acre food plot that is producing for you. I find it the better bargain when you look at cost.

If your just looking to get in a one year crop....annuals are the way to go. I also like to use these as a fall cover crop when planting the perennials. If your doing a fall planting which usually takes place in late August and early September, your perennials will not have time to come up. But by planting them with an annual, the annual will come up for the fall hunting season and the perennials the following spring.


Northern Planting Guide

 

To give your plants the best chance of success, plant with adequate soil moisture. Typically, early spring and fall planting will be the most successful. You can frost seed or plant in the spring when daytime high temps start to reach 63-65 degrees. Fall plantings should be planted prior to the onset of autumn rains. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your food plots are planted at least 30-45 days prior to the first frost. Clover Plus, Premium Perennial and Maximum are excellent choices for planting in the Northern Zone. For more details on Waterfowl Forage planting in the Northern Zone, please contact BioLogic™.

 

BioLogic™ Products Planting Dates for Northern Zone
Maximum Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer/ Late Summer
Premium Perennial Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Clover Plus Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Green Patch Late Summer / Early Fall
Full Draw Late Summer / Early Fall
BioMaxx™ Late Spring / Early Summer
LabLab Early Summer
Hot Spot Late Summer / Early Fall
Outfitter’s Blend Late Summer / Early Fall
Turkey Gold Chufa Late Spring / Early Summer
Chicory Spring / Early Summer / Late Summer
Whitetail Addiction Trophy Oats Late Summer / Early Fall
Whitetail Addiction Clover Patch Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Plot Performance Additive Chicory Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Plot Performance Additive Brassica Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer/ Late Summer
Plot Performance Additive Alfalfa Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Plot Performance Additive AlfaClover Frost Seed / Spring / Early Summer
Waterfowl Forage Call for details
Guide’s Choice Summer

Check out Biologic's home page


 

Submit your article on what your thoughts are concerning fall planting and food plots. What works for you?

 

 

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