What Fertilizer For Food Plots
Liquid Fertilizer

What Fertilizer For Food Plots

  • November 2, 2021

At Ragan and Massey, we get a lot of questions about how to fertilize for food plots: how much, how often, when to start, what to use.Luckily, we do have some general recommendations that can help get your food plot established without too much guesswork and without unnecessarily straining your budget.Use 13-13-13 fertilizer.The above tips plus adequate soil moisture will provide impressive plants and hunt-worthy results. .

The Right Fertilizer to Food Plot Ratio

The Right Fertilizer to Food Plot Ratio

The Right Fertilizer to Food Plot Ratio

Not all gamekeepers are exposed to the knowledge that your local agronomist possesses, and that makes them starved for education on the matter.Simply put, you don’t want to devote the time and effort to plan and plant a food plot and then withhold the ingredients that provide the best chance for success.If getting your food plots in tip-top shape is more exciting than the day you actually climb in a deer stand to hunt over them, then you might be a gamekeeper.It’s amazing the amount of soil nutrients, or for that matter your fertilizer, goes to waste at low pH levels.The good thing is lime is cheap; usually $40 to $70 per ton delivered to your location, and will cure your acidic soil…at least for the time being.In sand it works very fast but doesn’t last as long as clay which is on the other end of the soil spectrum.If the soil’s pH is too acidic, then it doesn’t really matter what fertilizer is applied because it simply won’t work properly.A gamekeeper who doesn’t do a soil test and apply the appropriate amount of lime before fertilizing is just wasting money.An experiment anyone can do would be to add fertilizer to the weeds, thinned woods or a logging road near your food plot.If the deer and other wildlife pay more attention to the test areas, then it is a clear sign that your food plot planting isn’t all that it should be.Keeping in mind that trial and error will always be a component of learning over time what works best for individual gamekeepers.If peas are produced it might mean a few different things, including that your hunting pressure was too high, your neighbor had some plantings nearby that were tastier or that you simply did not fertilize enough to offer nutrients in the forage.Remember that something like corn carries a big stalk so it will require more ingredients to make, which is why some choose to come back and top-dress their crop with nitrogen to give it a late kick.” This is also a great plan for brassicas.“We’ll hunt over food plots, and adjust the plans when the acorns begin to drop,” said McLaurin.You’ve got to put the money into the ground to maximize any crop, whether it’s producing peanuts for the mill or planting for wildlife.”. .

Fertilizer Tips for Deer Hunting Food Plots

Fertilizer Tips for Deer Hunting Food Plots

Fertilizer Tips for Deer Hunting Food Plots

There are three numbers on a bag of fertilizer that can be a baffling set of digits, essentially meaningless to many food plotters.“They indicate the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K),” says Mississippi State University plant and soil sciences associate.Excess fertilizer is also a major cause of poor water quality, as unused nutrients run off fields and into streams, rivers and lakes.The heavy load of fertilizers creates algae blooms, which ultimately deplete oxygen levels in the water, stressing or even killing fish and other aquatic life.Virtually every state cooperative extension office and even food plot seed manufacturers like Whitetail Institute and Mossy Oak BioLogic conduct soil tests for a small fee, usually under $10.Simply send a small bag of dirt along with a standard form and you’ll receive recommendations for fertilizer and lime applications, usually in pounds per acre.Spreading additional nitrogen likely won’t have any benefit to the clover, but it will feed unwanted grasses in your food plot, creating more competition for other nutrients, moisture and root space.That’s why it’s a good idea to fertilize clover with a mix higher in phosphorous, which promotes root growth, and lower in nitrogen.Lime is even more important than fertilizer, because a proper pH level allows plants to take in the nutrients in the soil.But why go to all the trouble of disking, seeding and spraying without helping your food plots reach their full potential? .

Food Plot Fertilizer - Liquid vs. Granular Fertilizer

Food Plot Fertilizer - Liquid vs. Granular Fertilizer

Food Plot Fertilizer - Liquid vs. Granular Fertilizer

Liquid Fertilizer.For easy application a pump-style or backpack type sprayer can be used to apply Clark’s Plots Nutrients, Grantham said.According to Grantham, there are two major benefits for wildlife when using liquid fertilizer for food plots.As a result, deer munching on food plots fertilized with liquid fertilizer immediately begin benefitting from the enriched plants.Grantham explains that products like Clark’s Plots Nutrients contain calcium which is beneficial to deer, turkey, and other wildlife.On the other hand…Granular Fertilizer.Although they both maintain the same type of nutrients, it’s the delivery process and consistency in nutrients making the difference and influences effectiveness.In the delivery process of granular fertilizers, the applications of the nutrients have to “melt” into the soil before the plant can utilize the fertilizer.No matter the type of soil used, there will always be a lag time for the granular nutrients to melt into the soil before the plant roots can begin receiving them.Granular fertilizers are soil and pH-dependent.With liquid fertilizer, wildlife managers can save money and have more nutritious food plots that are more palatable to wildlife. .

Proper Fertilization of Food Plots

Proper Fertilization of Food Plots

Proper Fertilization of Food Plots

With most food plotters planting mixes, the soil testing labs are not recommending for that specific mix.To properly fertilize one's food plot you need to know these things.For example if your perennial clover mix produced 10 ton of wet forage per that season at an average moisture content of 80%, that would be 4000 lbs of dry matter.(20,000 lbs total weight x .20 % dry = 4000 lbs dry matter).Once we have an expected yield goal, we need to know what the average nutrient content of the mix your planting.Now how would one replace those nutrients removed from the soil?You had 100 lbs of potassium mined from the soil.If forages are produced but not consumed by deer, they are not nutrients removed from the soil.So my challenge to not just you as individuals is to ask your wildlife seed provider for real data to help you best fertilize properly or take your own forage tissue samples and measure your yields to help better fertilize. .

5 Reasons Food Plots Fail

5 Reasons Food Plots Fail

5 Reasons Food Plots Fail

In those cases, you’d be better off to spend your time and money enhancing the native vegetation or working on other aspects of your deer hunting property.It was decided that the field would be better suited to a native warm-season grass planting to provide small game cover, as well as travel lanes and bedding areas for deer.Once the soil has dried, you can place some into the envelope provided by your local cooperative extension service and return it for testing.Within a few weeks, you should receive the results in the mail summarizing the amount of lime, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed for maximum production.This is a key decision in the planting process and should not be based on the size of the buck on the seed bag or what was on sale at the local sporting goods store.Some things to consider include: Does the amount of sunlight at your planting location match the requirements of the seed mix?One of the more common mistakes made in this area is planting seed mixes that are not shade tolerant in small forest openings that don’t get the necessary sunlight.Both of these mistakes can easily be avoided by making sure your seed mix requirements match the conditions of your food plot.One of the biggest challenges facing the average land manager, when trying to establish a food plot, is lack of the necessary equipment.The two main ways to keep control of these intruders is with occasional mowing or by herbicide application, depending on the seed mix you are using.Applying the proper herbicides can also be key to controlling unwanted weeds and maintaining a healthy deer food plot.Whether you are planting Roundup Ready Soybeans, brassicas, or a white clover mix, there are specific herbicides that will target the undesirable weeds in your plot.Just as with the planting process, maintaining a food plot requires additional equipment, time and money, which is why this step often gets skipped.On the flip side, nothing is more frustrating than spending your valuable time and hard earned money to plant a food plot only to watch it turn into a field of weeds. .

Jumpstart Your Brassica Plots For Whitetails

Jumpstart Your Brassica Plots For Whitetails

Jumpstart Your Brassica Plots For Whitetails

I ideally like to apply Phosphorus and Potassium early in the Summer for our first work weekend, and then the Urea at the same time we are planting our first layers of cereal grains (oats and rye).Your plantings will also grow aggressively during the middle 6 weeks of growth, which coincides nicely with a post germination jumpstart of Urea! .

How to Plant the Best Food Plots

How to Plant the Best Food Plots

How to Plant the Best Food Plots

Decide how many food plots you’ll plant and where you’ll put them.Decide what to plant in each site.Many experienced managers put about three to five percent of the total property into food plots if only “hunting plots” are being used.Managers who use both hunting plots and feeding plots may plant 10 percent or more.Most folks who plant food plots for deer plant hunting plots.Feeding plots, when used, are usually larger than hunting plots, and their main function is to serve as places where deer can feed and feel safe.Where to put your food plots?No matter where you hunt, chances are that the wind comes from one direction more often than any other during hunting season in your area.Design your plots so your main stand sites can be placed down wind from the most common wind direction.To make sure you choose the correct seed, take into account the physical characteristics of each site -- soil type, slope and equipment accessibility.Most seed blends should be planted in a seedbed that has been prepared with equipment.You’ll need to know this before you begin Step 3, because it’s important to let the soil testing lab know what seed you will plant.Your seeds should be planted in a seedbed that has a soil pH between 6.5 to 7.5.Large seeds, such as oats and beans, can be broadcast onto the disked, fertilized seedbed, and then harrowed or dragged to cover the seeds and fertilizer under the thin layer of soil.If you used a drag or harrow to smooth the seedbed before putting out the seed, then do nothing further after you put the seed out.This won’t cover the seed, but it will insure good seed to soil contact.Whitetail news is the most read food plot and deer management magazine in the world and Breaking Ground is packed full of useful tips and tactics. .

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