Let’s talk about exactly how to plant a food plot. It’s really important to do this right if you want an optimal plot.
- The first thing you should do is conduct a soil test 6 months before planting. You can go to www.mossyoakbiologic.com and click on BioLogic Soil Test to download a form, instructions on how to do the test and where to send the soil for analysis. Or you can contact your local County Extension Office. Soil tests generally run $8 to $20.
- For best results, apply the recommended amount of lime 6 months before you plant. This will allow enough time for the lime to interact with the soil and raise the pH, enabling your plants to use the fertilizer you put down. Be sure to turn the lime into the soil for a quicker pH increase.
- Now, fast forward to planting time. Before you plant, it’s best to fertilize your soil. Using the soil test recommendations, till in an appropriate amount of a regional fertilizer blend per acre. But even if you don’t fertilize, you still need to till your soil for maximum soil to seed contact.
- The last thing to do before you plant is to test your soil for adequate moisture. Grab a handful of soil from the root zone, which is 1-3 inches below the soil’s surface. If you can form the soil into a firm ball in the palm of your hand, then you should have enough moisture to plant.
- Finally you can plant! For best results, try and plant just before expected rainfall so your seeds get a good shot of moisture for a quick jump out of the ground. Use a broadcast seeder to spread your seeds evenly over the entire food plot area. Be sure the seeder you use can be adjusted for seeds of different sizes. Otherwise it might broadcast too much or too little of a certain type of seed.
Then cover your seeds with _ inch of soil using a cultipacker or common drag such as a piece of fence. Do not use a disk to cover the seeds as this can bury them too deep for germination. If rain is imminent, no coverage is needed when planting Attractor Supreme or Texas Perfect 10. For these blends, the raindrops can actually “beat” the seeds into the ground to the appropriate depth. But Antler Advantage contains a large pea, and the rain may not bury it deep enough for germination. So Antler Advantage will require you to cover it with _ inch of soil using either a cultipacker or a common drag.
These steps are ideal for planting your food plot. But let’s face it – not everyone can perform a soil test 6 months in advance, wait to plant until there’s adequate soil moisture, or time their planting just before expected rainfall. So if you were not able to perform a soil test, we recommend you go ahead and add one ton of lime and an appropriate amount of a regional fertilizer blend per acre to your soil. The reason we recommend adding lime without a soil test is because most U.S. soils are naturally acidic. But be sure to check with your local County Extension Office to understand the general pH of the soil in your area.
Furthermore, some people may not have the luxury to wait for sufficient soil moisture before planting. They just plant whenever they have time to get out in the field. Just remember, if you plant without sufficient soil moisture or fail to get rainfall right after planting, there’s a chance top food plot performance could be affected.
Whether it’s our patented AntlerMax Deer Chow or our new high-performing food plot seed blends, our goal at Purina Mills remains the same: to provide your deer with the very best nutrition to maximize their health and antler growth. Please try our new food plot blends, and see what the checkerboard can do.