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Starting a Food Plot

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Bill Wright
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

OK, I want to break ground on a grassy field. I have a 1941 Ford 9N tractor with a brush hog, disk and 2 bottom plow.

In the past I have cut the grass, disked and plowed but never really got the turned over soil I think is best for a good seed bed. I really think I need to rototill BUT a 9N is not a good tractor for a rototiller attachment. It does not have live hyd. (when you push in the clutch the PTO stops) and it goes too fast to till well...

So, do you guys just keep running the disc over or do you run a rototiller first? I think I could find a tow behind rototiller to rent and use my ATV if that is what it takes.

Obviously this is a 2013 project.

Thanks,
Bill
 
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jm.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Well first forget the pull tiller with your atv..The ford with a disk is more. If you get the grass cut down low and disk it a time or two no reason the plow will not turn it over enough to disk it again and plant or sow what ever. What is the purpose of the food plot. What do you want to plant? Have been doing it for years and know a lot of short cuts. Let us know what it is you want to sow or plant.
 
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Bill Wright
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Jm, I bowhunt for deer. My place is in SW WI. I was thinking about three small plots. One on a ridge top in the center of my land. In that I would plant an early season food like clover or some mix with clover to pull the deer to the middle of the land early getting them accustom to the place (I have bedding all around). Down in my ravine I have a spot covered with multi floral rose so I would cut that all down and plant either another early plot or maybe a fall plot. I usually hunt the ridge above the ravine and deer cross both length wise running the ride and go up and over towards the center ridge top. I should back up and mention my 35 acres sits next to a 200 acre AG field. When they plant corn I have a lot of deer. This year it was beans (odd year cycle beans then corn) and I had fewer sightings. Finally on the west side of my property I have a small water hole and some apple trees. In that area I was thinking a small late season plot since the apple trees drop fruit all season long. A late season food plot could take over when the apples stop. These are wild apple trees that I fertilize. One tree in particular still had apples that the squirrels knock off up to a few weeks ago. The deer know this and cruise by for a sweet snack.

What I am really doing is thinking two years ahead when we get beans again. I need something to pull the deer in from the corn fields that other farmers have down the road. The water hole I put in was a good start and I think a few small food plots strategically placed can't hurt.

Thanks!
 
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Fergienewbee
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

An excellent book on food plots is "A guide to Successful Wildlife Food Plots Blending Science with Common Sense" by Craig A. Harper, published by the University of Tennessee. Covers Ph, plantings for wildlife from deer to quail. Also has a section/charts on planting dates and herbicides. 168 Pages with excellent color picture. Cost $20.00 ppd.

Larry
 
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Traditional Farmer
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If you use a ripper or chisel plow first it'll make tilling and disking go alot better.A 9N is really too fast in 1st gear for a tiller.
 
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Billy NY
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've fooled with food plots in our overgrown fields to provide forage, it works well to say the least and if you can get a good stand of forage established, be it annual or perennial, strategically staged, so there's always high protein, palatable forage vs mature growth they shy away from, it sure seems worth the work for the benefit.

Your tractor can do the job, but with conventional tillage, your plow and disc. To break that sod, it is highly advisable to set this plow up correctly, replace worn shares, make sure its level both ways in the furrow, and or observe what its doing and make corrections, so that the sod is completely turned under to get a good kill. When the plow does not completely turn the sod, you will get patches, strips etc, of unwanted weeds or other undesirable growth, necessitating spraying to kill those plants and establish your stand of forage, more so in a spring planting. Also be aware of erosion and compaction if they are an issue and can inhibit root structure. Once you are able to get that plow performing as it should, sometimes I'll let it sit for a short period, dry out or kill off what was growing, then disc it in, make sure its set up and adjusted right, you can apply the old tillage or farming practices, disc at an angle or whatever works. Depending on the soil, due to small seed size you may want to use a cultipacker to firm up the seed bed. I'm familiar with whitetail institute products, follow the instructions to the letter, and you can get a good stand, I've done imperial clover with good success, no plow or no till (but till anyway)the latter will come in nice, but if you want it young for archery, mid summer might be the best time to plant that. In a sense its like small time farming, using older equipment and practices, but without serious detriment if something goes wrong, its a lot of fun to do and observe growing, in my humble opinion.

A very inexpensive forage is oats, whitetail deer, will feed on the regrowth or new growth I can get to come back by actually plowing and using the disc, all depends on rain too, but I tilled a pair of strips in a harvested oat field, and it came in lush again, without seed, it looked like someone cut it with a mower, deer just browsed it heavily. Although a cold weather kind of grass to plant, oats seem to grow just fine for this purpose if planted in August around here. I plow, make one pass with the disc, its not a real heavy one, then broadcast oats thick, make one more pass and it grows just fine for this purpose, depending on the weather, can last right thru rifle season here, even though it tans out, they go for the base of the plant or roots or something sweet, I have not planted anything in 2 years, the difference in overall deer traffic is very noticeable, especially the bucks, its an excellent draw and it will certainly help the locals to fatten up for a harsh winter, I had 7 + acres of this in 2010, some smaller plots fresh planted and when I took a deer, the stomach contents was all grass, nice fat on them, and I found no dead ones come spring and it was a harsh winter, in '02 it was in corn, and I did find several dead, most likely from the hard winter. I try and cut the unused fields later so that theres a nice green growth in the fall, nice 2nd cut orchard grass mostly, it gives them even more to browse, and something to dig up under the snow. Its tanning a bit, but right now as I type, there are close to a dozen out there grazing it and likely to bed down in it. Deer can be a pain with a garden, the darned ticks and all, but its tolerable as they do provide quite a bit of food, and or reserve food in my freezer. I enjoy doing the planting, observing them in their natural state, bucks fighting, playing, etc, when just scouting, as well as knowing I've likely helped them a bit for the winter, ones taken benefit me, the remainder make use of what I've done. When things are real harsh outside, I will pile cracked corn in cleared areas, always half a dozen at the house. Though I curse them sometimes, they grazed off my corn this year, I try and look at the bigger picture, and I suppose a fence and whatever necessary can be done to keep them out of my larger garden next year.
 
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old
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Sounds like you put the cart in front of the horse instead of the cart behind the horse. You need to brush hog then PLOW then disk. You need to have the plow set so it makes a good deep farrow so the sod is turned under well then you go over that with the disk to cut it all up. Done many many food plots and that is how I do most of them
 
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Briar Hill Brittanys
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I do my plotting with an 8N, boom sprayer, plow and disc. Spray to kill the sod or mow as close as possible, plow, disc, plant. If it was me, I'd plow, add lime if needed, and let it mellow over winter. Then you can finish it up in the spring with the disc. From there, it depends on what you want to plant and when. I like to put some buckwheat down to help the soil, and keep the weeds down. I can get 2 crops from one good planting by letting it flower and seed, then discing it down. That gets me to about September, then I plant winter rye and purple top turnips. The rye is a good draw during the time acorns are finishing up, the turnips are good and leafy, too. When it gets cold, the bulbs bring em in. The rye stays green all winter. Works on my plots. HTH Mark
 


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OH Boy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Probably too late to do it this year but it will help you a lot to kill the grass with roundup before you plow it all under. If you do not do that a lot of grass will re-grow in your food plot.
 
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Bendee
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

since when do you need live pto.? I operate one with a Fordson Major.Set your dept, raise it slightly off the ground, start the tractor rolling, lower the equipment. You do not have to complete the job in one pass, next lower some more and start again.Works for me, it is 5 feet wide.
We call it a Rotary Hoe.
 
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Dalet
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

OH Boy wrote:
(quoted from post at 20:27:43 11/27/12) Probably too late to do it this year but it will help you a lot to kill the grass with roundup before you plow it all under. If you do not do that a lot of grass will re-grow in your food plot.


You don't need chemicals when you use iron. Roundup has no residual which is when it stays active in the soil for newly emerging weeds. Mow it, plow it, disc it, plant it.
No chemicals needed there. You need the chemicals when you have the crop growing and choose to leave the iron in the shed.
 
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JD Seller
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don't know why guys want to disk first then plow. The loose dirt makes the plows work like crap. The coulters can't cut the trash in the soft dirt and the guy blames the plow.

Mow your weeds down. THEN plow the ground. If you not going to plant until spring then plow it this fall and leave it alone until spring and then disk it and plant. Just about any plow job in the fall will be better than soring plowing.
 
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jm.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:06 am    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We are surrounded by a 4400 acre wildlife refuge.
That is good and bad but have about 260 acres and we do plant a few food plots to keep the deer out of the real fields. Turnips make good fall greens that deer like. They go crazy after sunflower and real cheap winter feed is sow wheat. The deer will graze it all winter. Should not take much to get you a food plot. The multiflora rose may be hard to get rid off without spray.
 
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jackinok
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

it really depends on when you plow,if i am leaving it over the winter,i just plow.if i am starting in spring i disc, plow ,disc. the reasoning behind this is simple. by discing first ,as you say it loossens the soil on top. when you turn this under it leaves less air spaces,and gives a better contact with the subsoil to aid in pulling up moisture.discing afterwards of course closes the remaining air spaces,and leaves you with a compact seedbed,breaks up clods ,levels and all the rest.of course in sand or something it probably wouldnt make much difference,but thats the theory behind it. lately ive started using a disc plow more than a moldboard. it breaks my soil up better much like a disc,but leaves more trash on top to help stop the wind erosion some. of course if it doesnt break loose and rain soon nothing will help.i sure am glad ive got most of mine planted back to grass,out of the 2000 i was farming once i have about 20 acres left to plant and i'll be done farming. i planted it in oats and ryegrass in the only rain weve had in 4 months,a whole whopping .2 inches.
 
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Billy NY
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: Starting a Food Plot Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Funny you said that, I've always done it that way, cut grass/weeds, one field has a lot of glacial till round rock, so I cut higher, but no different from crop stubble. It sure seems to help with trash coverage and the coulters slicing in an inch or so seems to help with root bound soil after its been cut with a rotary mower.

I am no expert on tillage practices, but certainly have been around it enough, + my own trials/tribulations with an old tractor, 1 worn out, coulter missing ferguson and my later 2 ford plows, once thing is for sure, if you can set the plow to do a good job of turning the sod or root bound soil completely over, in the fall, it appears that in the conditions here, erosion is no issue, unless you are on a steep hillside, drainage can be better, whats under seems to die off completely, and in the spring, you have a head start on weeds. I also find, that contrary to crop planting, a thicker more dense population of forage ie; whitetail institute or any like product, as well as say oats, does seem to help shade out the weeds. Optimum PH, and fertilizer to help the thicker population can work, weather also can change things just the same. No guarantee you wont have to spray for weeds, but I've gotten good results at times, one patch of clover came in nice, hardly any weeds.

Its really kind of an enjoyable hobby for me, going around to all the little patches I have cut out of young woods in old fields and the one field that has been planted in crops since before I was around.
 
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