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