I’ve been planting about 5 acres of food plots for a few years now and I have found a few things that work for me. I have some equipment, but not everything I would like to have to get the job done. There certainly are other ways of planting you food plots, I’ll share what works for me.
I’m lucky to have a 30 HP Kubota tractor and a Honda 400 Rancher four wheeler. Without some kind of tractor or 4 wheeler, planting this much acreage wouldn’t be possible and the tractor makes it a whole lot faster than doing it all with the 4 wheeler. The 4 wheeler just doesn’t have enough power to pull the heavier equipment to rip up the soil like the tractor can.
My 30 HP Kubota Tractor. I also use it dig water holes in strategic spots.
For breaking the soil I use a 6 foot disc behind my tractor. This works great for getting fertilizer worked into the soil and making a nice seedbed for the seeds I plan on sowing. First I spread my fertilizer and then I disc it in with a pass or sometimes two. This way I don’t have to rely on Mother Nature to melt the fertilizer in with a rain shower.
The disc made a nice smooth seedbed.
After I have my seedbed nice and smooth and the clumps broken up I broadcast my seeds with a spreader, either a hand held for very small seeds like clover and turnips or with my pull behind spreader for corn and beans. It would be nice to have a drill or corn planter to get the seeds to a more uniform depth, but that’s one piece of equipment that is still on my wish list. Depending what I am planting, I’ll either lightly disc in the seeds if it’s corn or soybeans. They need to be under the soil and inch or 2. Or I just roll the soil with my cultipacker. This pushes the seeds into the top layer of the soil while compacting the soil so it doesn’t dry out as fast. This method works well for very small seeds, which if buried too deep would never see the light of day.
My spreader hooked up to the Honda 4 wheeler.
Round Up Ready Corn ready to be broadcast.
A variety of small seeds waiting to be planted with my hand held spreader.
The cultipacker used to pack the soil for moisture retension.
I like to use Round Up Ready crops so I can control the weeds after I have planted my plots. Round Up Ready crops allow you to spray right over the top of them after they have grown a few inches tall. This will kill the weeds and allow the crop to grow and shade out anything that might want to grow later. I borrow my dads sprayer to do this. He has a 25 gallon tank that I mount on the back of my 4 wheeler with a boom that covers about a 12 foot path when fully extended. I have it calculated out pretty good that one tank will spray one acre if I keep my speed at the correct level. It’s important to get the correct amount of chemicals on the weeds to do the job.
When growing clover for a food plot you need to mow it several times a year. This helps to keep weeds under control by mowing off the seed heads. Mowing also gets rid of the tough woody stems of the mature growth and promotes tender new growth, which the deer very much prefer. I have a brush hog mower for my tractor to keep my clover plots lush and weed free.
Like I said this surely isn’t the only method that will produce a good food plot. It’s just what works for me with the equipment I have at this time. You can do it with less equipment and you can do it a whole lot faster with more and bigger equipment. Whatever you have enjoy playing in the dirt. Then once the season starts you'll have yourself a great hunting spot. Sit back and enjoy.
The final result. Now just sit back and wait for the deer to appear.