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Food Plot Preparation: Plan Ahead for Success

Late July and August can be a very busy month for wildlife management chores. Dove season is right around the corner as well as archery season for deer. Formulating a plan this time of year on what, when, and where you are going to plant cool season plots can save time and frustration. Waiting until the very last minute and scrambling to find seed, equipment or fertilizer can be a major headache.

Check Your Equipment Now

A great task for this time of year is to go ahead and do an food plot equipment check and see if any repairs are in order before planting season. Pull your tractor under a shade tree and make sure all fluids, belts, hoses, and tires are up to snuff and ready for use. Bush-hog blades can be checked for sharpness, and the gear box for the proper amount of fluid. Discs may have bearings or blades that need to be replaced, this is also a good time to grease all bearing fittings. Fertilizer and seed spreaders are always in need of some repair it seems. Give your spreader a good run through and see if there are any parts that need repair or replacement. These all seem like common sense farm chores, but doing them before planting season rolls around can help fall planting go much more smoothly by avoiding break downs in the field that cost you valuable time.

Killing Weeds Early Can Pay Off

It’s not too early to start thinking about getting fields ready for fall food plots.  Fields that weren’t planted in a spring/summer annual are likely grown up in weeds and need some attention before putting a disc in the ground. Overgrown or fallow fields will work up much better if the existing vegetation is killed off.  Tall weeds and grasses can be bush-hogged down and followed up by a non-selective herbicide application such as glyphosate.  Killing the existing weeds and letting them good and crispy makes discing or tilling much easier. This results in saving fuel from making less passes with equipment as well as conserving important soil moisture. Making more passes with a disc, plow, or tiller than is necessary can negatively affect your fields by increasing soil compaction and reducing important bacteria and microbes. If you have noticed that some of your round-up (glyphosate) applications are less effective, it is probably not resistant weeds but rather inefficient herbicide transfer to the target weeds.  Most of us use well water on the farm to fill up our spray tanks, this well water is notoriously hard water. This hard water can negatively affect your spray solutions by not allowing certain minerals to bond together. Adding ammonium sulfate (AMS) to your spray tank can greatly increase herbicide efficiency and give you much better kill on weeds. AMS is available in a liquid or water soluble granular form. The granular form is usually added at a rate of 10-17 lbs per 100 gallons of water and 1-3 quarts of the liquid AMS per 100 gallons.

To learn more about creating the best wildlife habitat possible check out: Want Better Wildlife Habitat? Planning Starts Now. Fall is just around the corner and this can be a great time to look at how your season is going and make a checklist of things you would like to improve in the coming year. Call it a new year’s resolution for wildlife management purposes.


This tip is courtesy of the GameKeepers Field Notes, a weekly wildlife and land management email newsletter produced by the Mossy Oak GameKeepers.

A GameKeeper by definition is someone who truly loves AND lives the land, the critters and nature…not just during hunting season but all the time. A GameKeeper wants to be outdoors every day and work the dirt while living their personal “obsession”.

Find out more about what makes a GameKeeper by visiting our website

Jul 26, 2017

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