The largest factor when it comes to planting and maintaining successful food plots is the soil test. As with anything else in today’s economy, deer managers and land stewards constantly look for ways to save money, and the most practical way to save that cash and make sure your crops thrive is to have your soil tested before planting begins.
A soil test is the first and foremost step before ever being able to plan out a food plot schematic that is best for your property. Every plant has a different set of ideal conditions, so the type of soil, pH of the soil, and soil nutrients will all have a significant impact on which plants can grow the heartiest when it comes to the location they’re being planted in.
A soil test also helps to show the weaknesses in the soil, allowing the land manager to see what the soil may be in need of in order to be more hospitable for the plantings being chosen.
As springtime arrives, planting the food plots that will produce the forage necessary to keep a herd achieving optimal health is number one when it comes to a land management plan. Everything in the world must be checked before taking on the added expense, so even if you purchase the best forage mixtures in the world it won’t matter a bit if they’re planted in soil that will not sufficiently meet their needs. Without the soil test to know what it needs beforehand, you are looking at money being spent to just stand on the sidelines waiting for crops to grow when all they’re doing is dying in the inhospitable soil.
Determining deficiencies becomes an easy, inexpensive thing to do with a quick soil test. On the BioLogic website a soil testing guide is offered, and when the test is complete there is a place to go where the manager can find the best plantings based on zone, region and species.
Taking the time to educate yourself about the nutrient levels of the soil also turns the necessary fertilization step into a breeze. With a soil test, the N-P-K will be known allowing the right fertilizer to be chosen quickly.
Taking a proper soil sample requires no time-intensive study. And if you are planning to plant in several different locations or environments on the property - full sunlight versus excessive shade, etc. - then each area should be tested separately.
For any land or deer manager, soil testing is the rock solid base that they build an economical and environmentally sound fertilization program on. Many factors are taken into account when planting food plots, such as the plantings chosen, size and shape and distribution of the plots, and what species is being fed, in order to make sure high protein and nutrients are there for the wildlife they are trying to maintain.
A well-planned fertilization program based on soil sampling, takes the guesswork out of preparing and maintaining the optimum condition of the soil for the best in plant growth, development and amount of forage.
A soil test will also give access to the existing levels of acidity, which is needed before choosing the correct plant and fertilizer. By collecting samples three to six months before planting time, all needs can be met.
Recommended for soil samples when it comes to conventional crops is to collect the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. For no-till crops and established crops, samples need to be taken only from a 4-inch depth. Make sure the soil is dry when taking the sample, and use a clean stainless steel or chrome-plated tool to avoid contamination. There are also extra tests that can be done with specific focus on plant tissue analysis, waste analysis and solution analysis.
In the end, having the soil tested before planting is required. Helping to save money, this gives you the opportunity to increase yields by planting a successful, nutritious food plot that’s guaranteed.
To provide the wildlife on your land the very best in wildlife forages, visit plantbiologic.com. We understand why you land and critters are important to you and you can trust Biologic to provide the highest quality, scientifically proven wildlife products available.