Labor Day Fall Food Plots
This is one of the most exciting times of the year if you’re a hunter. For my sheep hunting friends, some of you have already had some incredible successes! I know some of my MacMillan River Adventure clients have just experienced the sheep hunt of a lifetime. In some states, deer and elk season has already started. Many of us are preparing for hunting season to start in our own states. Preparing means different things to all of us. For me, it means practicing with my bow daily, shooting all my hunting rifles and shotguns, and planting food plots. I literally just finished seeding one of my food plots on my farm here in Kansas. Admitting upfront that I am not an expert by any means, I will share with your what I do when planting food plots.
I first decide where I am going to put in a food plot, how big the plot is going to be, and what varieties I want to plant. Then, I follow these simple steps:
1) Get a soil test. I get this done by taking a soil sample to my local agricultural extension office. They will test your soil and give you all the pH information you need to adjust your soils nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels.
2) Kill the weeds in your food plot with a herbicide. Glyphosate is, by far, the most used weed killer as it kills any plant that it contacts.
3) Till larger plots, or for smaller plots, rake the topsoil. Depending on the seeds you will be planting, pay attention to the appropriate depth the seed needs to be planted for optimum germination.
4) Re-spray your herbicide 7-10 days after tilling if weeds linger.
5) Smooth the plot for planting. I use an old baseball field drag, but a piece of chain link fence works just fine.
6) Plant! Try to time your planting just before a forecasted rain. Try to avoid planting before a draught or monsoon! After I spread my seeds, I roll the soil for better seed-to-soil contact.
NOTE: Follow the planting directions for each seed exactly! More is not better and planting too deep can ruin your plot before it starts.
I like to plant a variety of seeds in my food plots. I plant a mixture of perennials, Grains, and Brassica. Perennials, such as clovers, provide year-round nutrition. Adding in Chicory and alfalfa provide a variety of perennials, and act as an attractant, just like clover, to your food plot.
Brassicas, such as radishes, turnups and rape, provide a great source of crude protein. Also, they are sweet as candy once the weather turns cold.
Grains, such as oat and wheat, are a great addition to any food plot. They are high in carbohydrates and are a great source of energy for rutting, and post rut, deer.
Now, set back and, like any good farmer, pray for rain!
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I wish all of you the best hunting season of your life. And, I pray that you and your families stay safe, healthy, and free!