1. Welcome to Oklahoma Shooters Association! Join today, registration is easy!

    You can register using your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account, just click here.

Food Plot Basics

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by Deer Slayer, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Step 1 in building a successful food plot is to do some homework on your specific plot (s). Take a composite soil sample from the plot that you wish to plant. The soil sample should be comprised of a minimum of 15 separate samples that are collected with a sharp shooter shovel or soil corer to a minimum depth of 6". I prefer that the plot be laid out in a grid and a sample be taken from each square so that all parts of the plot are represented in the collection bucket. Now blend the samples well with your hand and pour into a quart ziplock bag and label it. I typically have a name for each of my plots so that I know where it came from.

    Take your samples to the OSU County Extension agent and have them analyzed. Tell the agent that you are thinking of planting clover in the plots. When you get the report back the results should indicate how many pounds of phosphorous, potash and nitrogen that you need to add to the soil to reach you desired goal. In addition, the report will show how much agricultural lime is needed to be incorporated into the soil to raise the pH to near 7.0. The report will indicated so many pounds or tons per acre of lime. There is a catch to the amount of lime to add. You contact a limestone supplier and ask them what the E.C.C. E. percentage is of the lime. Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (ECCE) Let's use an example, the ECCE is 60% which means that 60% of 1 ton of lime is calcium carbonate. The lime demand needed to raise the soil pH to 7.0 is 1.0 ton. So 2,000 X .60 = 1,200 pounds of calcium carbonate in 1 ton of lime. 2,000 / 1200 = 1.67. 1.67 X 2,000 = 3,340 pounds of 60% ECCE lime needed to provide 1 ton of calcium carbonate/ acre. This is important if your plots are located in Eastern or SE/ Oklahoma.
     
  2. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,952
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest City
    You should write a book, DS. I'd buy it.
     
  3. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    We will begin our journey from a piece of raw unturned pasture to incorporating a high yield food plot (s), you need to keep in mind our ultimate goal: we want to end up with a series of food plots, which may be just 1 or 2, that will make the property we hunt as ATTRACTIVE TO DEER, NUTRIOUS, and HUNTABLE as possible. If this is your goal, then the following 4 steps will accomplish that assuming Mother Nature will cooperate.

    1) Determine how many plots that you want to plant and where you will put them.

    2) Decide what you want to plant in each site.

    3) Prepare the sites correctly for planting.

    4) Follow the instructions and plant correctly.

    It does not matter if you have hundreds of acres or just 20 acres, the steps will get you from no food plots to a food plot system that will pull deer from the surrounding property and as far away as a mile or two. The specific steps must follow in the same order. I got a little head of myself in the previous post.

    Regardless of the size of your property you want to have enough acreage in plots to maximize the attraction and nutrition, but without planting so much that the deer have no reason to move. Most people plant from 2% to 5% of their total property into food plots if they just want "hunting plots". I personally have 10% of my total property in food plots. This is divided fairly evenly between "hunting plots" and "feeding plots". Most people who plant food plots plant hunting plots. These plots can be a 1/10 acre up to a couple of acres.

    In coming weeks I will discuss fertilizers,herbicides, specific seeds to plant, growth stimulants and more.

    Gentlemen start your engines.... it is time to start your prep for Fall. More tonight.
     
  4. Oklahomabassin

    Oklahomabassin Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    15,522
    Likes Received:
    1,029
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    I left OSA 3/16
    Rating
    100%
    I PM'd a mod about making this a sticky for reference for all. Thank you Deer Slayer for sharing your knowledge.

    Mods, this post can be deleted to clean up thread.
     
  5. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    To All -I have given some thought as to where I want to take this thread. I am a generous person and give back more than I take. I spoke with the VP of the Whitetail Institute this morning and told him what I was thinking of doing and what you all have asked me to do. So here is the deal. I bought a bag of one of the newest products that WINA has brought on the market. The product is called PURE ATTRACTION. This product should do fine in the 4 quadrants of the state as long as we have sufficient Fall and Winter moisture. This bag will plant a 1 acre food plot. This seed blend contains different seeds that will mature at different times of the fall hunting season. I am going to have a contest that will be fair to all participants. I am going to load a jar with M&M's and post a picture for all to see. The closest 5 guesses to the actual number of M&M's will win a bag of seed that will plant a 1/5th acre hunting plot. This will allow 5 people to sample something new that they have not tried. The only thing I ask in return is to pay the shipping on your bag to your home. If you wish to pick up the bag in Okla City to save the shipping that will be fine.
    Give me until Tuesday to load the jar as I am headed to Briar Creek Farm to mow my pastures
     
  6. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Mod's you can delete the contest post in a couple of weeks. I do not want to clutter the thread.
     
  7. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Feeding plots are larger than hunting plots. My feeding plots are 2 -3 acres and my hunting plots are 1 acre. Feeding plots are designed to be lightly hunted to allow the deer to feel safe. My feeding field is normally hunted by children who are looking for their first deer.
    I am hosting a young disadvantaged child this Fall along with their parent or guardian during the special youth hunt. It is amazing how these children can grow and develop on just a 3 day hunt. More on this later.

    Where do I put my food plots?

    It pays to give some thought as to where you want to put your food plots. It also is give some thought as to where NOT to put your food plots such as near a road where all can see and poach. It is best to plant the plots near the center of the property so no one can see them and the animals can establish travel corridors to and from the nutritious food. This allows you to set up your stands between the bedding area and the feed. It is further suggested that your hunting plots be located between the bedding area and the feed fields in order to capitalize on the fact that deer browse as they travel from one point to another.

    Can I design my food plot to steer the deer to where I want them to come?

    Yes. Remember that the safer the deer feel using it the more likely they are to pass thru it during legal hunting time. You can pile brush along the edge of the plot to steer the deer towards an opening in the brushrow in which you have placed a stand. I have done this some and it certainly works.
    Another thing I do is,if it is possible, make the long and narrow versus wide and square. I made a 1 acre clover hunting plot that winds along an active creek. The fact that it is narrow makes the deer comfortable because they are always close to cover and can bound into it if danger is spotted.
    You can also plant 2 plots near each other with a strip of cover between them to create a funnel. This is called the "hourglass" design. a couple other proven designs are the "V" or "L" with a stand located at the junction of the V or L. Remeber to take the wind into account when placing your stands.
     
  8. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Now what am I going to plant in my plots? Remember everything must be done in a specific order for you to have a successful plot (s). There will be several examples given so be patient. In the mean time gather your soil samples and give them to your County Extension Agent or take to OSU Extension office in OKC along with $10.00/ sample and wait approx 2 weeks for results.

    Example 1:
    Ok, Do we have the results back from our soil analysis? Yes. Ok. What were the results? The soil pH was 6.4 Hmmmm a little low for clover. Did we tell the agent that we were wanting to plant clover? Yes. The closer the pH is to 7.0 the better the nutrient uptake by the plants. The lower the pH the more the nutrients are locked up and not available for the plants to use. In other words the plants grow poorly.

    How big is the food plot? 1/2 acre.

    What is the soil type? Sandy? Loamy? Sandy loam? Loamy sand? Clay? Rocky?
    Let's say Sandy loam.

    What is the annual rainfall for the property? The Oklahoma Mesonet can give you this information.

    The annual rainfall for this example is 45 inches.

    Where is the proposed food plot going to be located? Top of a sandy hill that is well drained? In a creek bottom beside a creek that remains moist most of the year? High sandy plateau pasture?

    Let's say a moist creek bottom.

    Let's review. We have a moist creek bottom,with a soil pH of 6.4, 45" annual rainfall,sandy loam soil and the plot is wide enough to receive at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. The plot has been cleared of trees which were piled along one side to block the deer from having multiple entry points. The plot is 1/2 acre.

    Is this getting to complicated for everyone? Well, you wanted a good place to hunt that will really attract the deer.

    Oh, what about the soil analysis? What did it say about the fertilizer needs?
    Wait a minute. What were we hoping to plant? Don't we need to match the fertilizer needs to the specific seeds? Yes, if we are going to plant a specific seed type otherwise we go with a general balanced fertilizer such as 17-17-17.

    This plot is ideal for clover. What next.

    The pH is 6.4, a little low for clover so we need to incorporate in some ag lime to raise the pH closer to 7.0. If the pH is close to 7.0, say 6.8 to 7.2 you can almost grow rocks in it. How much lime/ acre? 1,000 pounds of calcium carbonate/acre. We found a source of bulk ag lime that has an ECCE of 60%. 2,000# X 60% = 1,200 # of calcium carbonate. So you need to spread approx. 900 # of 60% ag lime to give us around 500# of calcium carbonate on a 1/2 acre plot. This needs to be disced or tilled in normally 4 - 6 months ahead of the planting date to give the lime time to work to raise the pH to close to 7.0. In this case I would probably incorporate the lime in since the pH is not excessively low and go ahead with my planting of the clover in late september depending on rainfall. After the lime has been spread but before I till/disc I would fertilize with a minimum of 200 pounds of 17-17-17.
    NOTE: I am intentionally sidestepping the nitrogen,phosphorous, and potash numbers that were on the soil analysis so as not to confuse anyone and substituting a set amount of 17-17-17. If you can only find 13-13-13 then add 25% more.

    Clover needs some nitrogen to initially germinate and grow. Once it is established then you do not need any nitrogen to be added to the clover just P and K. I like to use or have blended some 0-20-20 and fertilize at the rate of 200lbs/acre in the Spring and 200 lbs/acre in the Fall for a balanced feed on clover. You can certainly add more fertilizer which will grow lusher clover.

    The fertilizer and lime is now spread and tilled/disced in. Next we take a cultipacker(roller) and roll the ground in the plot to pack the seed bed. These can be rented or build one yourself.

    The clover is now spread at the rate of 8 lbs/acre or in this case 4 pounds on the 1/2 acre plot. You can use a hand crank bag spreader or a tow behind spreader which is pulled by a 4 wheeler or lawn tractor.

    The cultipacker is pulled over the seed bed a second time to insure a good soil to seed contact. Now pray for rain.

    I plant perrenials in late September or early October to assure myself of good soil moisture which increases the survival rate of the seeds and reduce the competition from invasive grasses. Herbicide use to be covered later.

    A strong clover plot is,imho, the best foundation a person can have in his food plot system. This is the reason that I chose it to plant first. The clover is the core planting if at all possible.
     
  9. _CY_

    _CY_ Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    7,404
    Likes Received:
    140
    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Location:
    tulsa
    Rating
    100%
    thanks for sharing... is it too late to put in a food plot for this year?
     
  10. Deer Slayer

    Deer Slayer Sharpshooter

    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    491
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Cy - Heavans no it is not too late to put in a food plot. It is too early to put in a food plot. Many people put them in around Sept 1st and we get some rain which may germinate the seeds then the weather turns dry again and the sprouts die. I know bow season is coming 10/1 and you want a plot to be green and attractive to deer. But you must realize that the deer are curious and the first night after your planting session the deer probably will be on your plot seeing what you have been up to. I had a man cutting trees off my pasture and he looked up and there were several deer standing watching him work. I had finished rototilling my garden and been on my knees planting onions and look up to see a doe and twins watching me from 40 yards. The fawns then walked within 30 feet of me downwind. They were curious. Mom was nervous but she wanted to see what I was doing too.

    I am just starting to prepare my pastures for Fall planting. This weekend I will mow my pastures and determine what I will need to do. I planted a 3 acre feeding plot with Alfarack last year on 10/5/09 and it rained 20 minutes after I finished planting. It rained and rained and by the end of the month I had around 10" of rain on it. Well guess what, the seed was buried too deep because of so much rain and I lost most of my seed. I will evaluate my fields this weekend and start a course of action. I anticipate that by 10/1/10 I will be planting the respective fields. I will post my findings on Monday night.
     

Share This Page