Food Plots: Simple Tips To Save Money

flatlander plotToday’s guest blog from our friend and habitat-management specialist Matt “Flatlander” Cheever:

Hey Mike: Here are some quick thoughts on how to save some money on food plots if your budget is strapped, or you don’t have the ability to move large equipment from property to property.

Seed depth is critical for quality deer food plot success. Recently I didn’t have the ability to take all the equipment that I normally would to a property where I planted a plot. I had no way to sufficiently drag in the seed. I wanted just a small amount of topsoil over the brassicas.

Rule of thumb is all seed gets buried at twice the depth of the size of a seed (I.E. if soybean seed is ¼” you want it planted about ½”, and if a brassica seed is .10” you want it at .20”) I know this is pretty precise but it’s a good guideline.

The cheap and easy solution is to ratchet strap a simple wooden pallet behind a quad, and drag the seed bed once the seed has been broadcast. I added a field stone for weight (see picture, inside the red oval); it was perfect to get just a dusting of dirt on top the brassica seed. If I were planting soybeans and wanted to plant them deeper I’d add a concrete block or large chucks of firewood and strap them on. The more weight the deeper it digs/covers. The best part is when you wear down the boards, simply flip the pallet over and use, and then switch it from end for end so you’ll have 4 boards to use that last a long time.

I also don’t always have room or the means to take along a seed drill or large broadcast seeder so I’ve always kept a small hand-crank seeder with me. I usually wear out 2 a year as the small seed binds them up. I also break off a lot of the crank handles. I’ve found a solution from Scott called the Wizz (pictured top right). It’s a battery-operated seeder that has dozens of settings for seed size and can even widen or narrow the pattern. My buddies laughed at me for having a battery-operated seeder until they tried it—they then said it might be the best invention ever. It saves a ton of cranking and broken seeders, and is way more uniform in seed spacing, and that saves money on seed. It might be the best $20 property management tool I’ve purchased. The Wizz packs easily and I get about a season’s worth of planting off just four AA batteries.

I hope these 2 great, cheap and easy fixes help the BIG DEER gang get better deer plots in remote places for less money and effort. Good luck to all this season.–Flatlander

One thought on “Food Plots: Simple Tips To Save Money

  1. Good tips.
    Couple years ago I bought a JD 650 at a sale cheap then added a 4′ box blade, 5′rock rake and a 4′ cultivator all found on Craigslist total package came in around $3000… a lot less than even a used ATV.
    When I need to cover seed I either drag a log chained behind the 3 pts hitch or a 5′ piece of chain link fence add the amount of weight in rocks to the chain link.
    I was raised on a farm an can offer the following tips to a good food plot:
    1. Plant oats in every mix they will add the nitrogen for free
    2.Try to plant just before a rainfall is expected
    3. Inoculate your seed if not bought preinnoculted.
    4. Just get seed in the ground! You may not be able to have ideal conditions to grow a plot like the picture on the seed bag but if you add lime the year before you plant or at least when you plant, add fertilizer and make good soil to ground contact with the seed you will get some sort of crop.
    5. Waiting about 4 weeks after planting an adding another batch of fertilizer will pay off big.
    6. Any seed likes a good firm seed bed, loosen your plot the best you can plant your seed. Then if nothing else drive over the plot with your atv.
    **** deer like young green growth you’ll be much better off with a grain like oats or rye at 4-10″ high and we’ll fertilized that you turn under an replant mid season than putting in some of the exotic seed mixes you see used on tv. Plant where the plot will get good sun light, some moisture and each year it will get easier to turn your plot over again.

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