Hopefully by now everyone has a good stand of beans in their food plots, or maybe you are like me and have soybeans that have been absolutely riddled by the deer. Either way, no matter the status of your beans, the weeds are still growing and it’s time to get them sprayed. Since 90 percent of United States farmers plant Round Up Ready beans I feel it’s safe to assume that most hunters followed suit. Round up herbicide was invented in 1974, but they didn’t start Round Up Ready beans until 1996. The round up trait allows your beans to withstand the spray while it kills all the weeds around them. Now that we know a little bit of the history behind what we are using, let’s get to the spraying.
When the weeds attack, it’s time to fight back. However, a little forethought and planning should be done before heading to your favorite bean field.
The first thing that you need to do before spraying is to look at your plots in order to answer a few important questions. How tall are the weeds? How tall are the beans? When is the next rain? These are all questions that you need to have answered before you get your sprayer and head out to your bean field. The most influential question is how tall are the weeds. This will determine the rate that you will apply your spray. Round Up can be sprayed anywhere from 20 oz to 44 oz to the acre. 20 oz of product will kill 3 in. and smaller weeds where 44 oz should kill anything that you run into. The best advice that I can give you when it comes to spraying is “more is better”.
You can purchase generic versions of Round for around $25.00 a gallon. One gallon equals 128 ounces so it cost roughly $ .20 an ounce. Most of us have a considerable drive to our hunting grounds, so spending a little more on spray to make sure you get a good kill will save you time and money in the long run. I like to spray 30 oz and 15 gallons of water to the acre as long as my weeds are under a foot and a half tall. You can spray as little as 10 gallons of water to the acre but I seem to get better coverage with 15.
Nice, distinguishable rows of soy beans is the goal.
The second thing I consider is how tall my beans are. It’s usually a guarantee that since our beans are in a food plot, the deer usually have them ate down, and they are shorter than the weeds. When this is the case I usually spray my beans twice on a normal year. When spraying twice, I watch my weeds and when they get above a foot tall, I get in there and spray no matter the height of the beans. If you have a nice thick stand of beans that are competing well with the weeds you can get away with one spray. You want to wait and spray your beans as long as you can. I like to wait until I can barely drive through them without knocking them over. This will allow them to grow and close in the rows while the weeds are dying and thus prevent further weed growth.
Moose Utility carries a wide arrangement of products that make spraying your soy beans, or any other food plot, simple and easy. Pictured here is one of their mobile ATV sprayer booms that offers 30” of coverage.
The final thing is rain. Depending on the type of Round Up that you use, you will have to watch the weather very closely. Generic brands need to be able to dry and be absorbed by the plant for at least 4 hours before it rains. One good rule of thumb is if there’s a good chance of rain the day you want to spray – don’t spray. Remember we only want to take the time to do this once. If you have a small window of time to spray, your best bet is to spend a little more money and buy round up WEATHER MAX. It only has to have a half hour of dry time before it rains, but it costs a considerable amount more.
Food plot maintenance is one more step in having a successful hunting season. The remark of “Well I’m not a farmer, so it doesn’t have to be perfect” comes up in a lot of food plot conversations that I have with people. All I can say is that you will only get out of your plot what you put in it. Remember the hard work that you put in now will have a direct correlation to your hunting success this fall. So pay attention to your plots and get out and kill those weeds!