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Tips for first food plot

Old 07-07-2013, 04:10 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,583
Default Tips for first food plot

Feels like I haven't posted on this site in years...

Here's the scoop..

A few years ago my grandfather and neighboring land owner had a little dispute over a fence line that needed replaced. I'm not sure what the proper definition for these people is, but they are "prairie" people. Or I suppose you could say historical land managers. Their goal is to make there land 100% like it was back when Iowa was just a large prairie. So they are cutting down certain trees and marking all their types of grasses. But anyway's.. this fence line that needed replaced contained a special grass that has been around for several years so my grandfather and this neighbor agreed to let them clean out the fence line by hand verse taking a dozer through the whole thing. So after 2 years of having no fence there, our timber turned into complete chaos. With no fence, my grandpa couldn't put his cattle out there to keep it cleaned up. The multi-flower rose thistle bushes grew like crazy and now its almost impossible to drive a four wheeler through the place without making your self look like you starred in the Texas chain saw massacre movie.

After all that, ill start talking food plots now..

I decided to take our tractor out with a blade on the front and back and clean a lot of that up. Well I got side tracked from cleaning the timber into clearing out a patch for a food plot. Now i'm just trying to decide what to do next. Since I haven't made a food plot before, I'm sort of clueless as what I should do.

The spot I cleared out isn't even half an acre. There are still some thistle bush stems in the ground but the majority of them are out.
I was wondering if I should tear up the ground and broadcast some seeding out or if I should spray the stems and let it set till next year then tear it up.

I can probably get my hands on a small disc but as far as getting a planter, i'm kind of stumped there. Broadcasting the seed on is about the only thing I can do.

After all that mumbo jumbo, this is what I would like to know:

-Going on the second week of July, am I still able to plant something? Or wait till next year?
-Do I tear it up and broadcast it?
-Spray the thistle stems and let it sit for a year?
-What should I plant (or some options) being this late in the year.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:52 AM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 639

first you need to get a soil sample to see what fertilizer to use
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:02 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: MN
Posts: 342

You could still plant winter rye, oats, winter wheat, and brassicas (or some mix of these). You may be able to plant clover or alfalfa (depends on soil pH) yet this year. In general, you want 6 weeks before the first frost for the clover and alfalfa to catch. The grasses (winter rye/wheat, oats) and brassicas can handle colder temperatures.

I would take a soil sample, spray with roundup and 2,4-d mix ASAP, work up the ground 2 weeks after spraying. You should have the soil test back in 2 weeks, and then you can decide what you want to plant based on the test results and your budget. Broadcast seeding usually works well, especially if done on worked ground just before a rain.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 70
Default Go for it


You still have plenty of time to plant. I respectfully disagree with fishinty. A soil sample is always best, but with what youre looking at planting at this point in the year, definitely not necessary. Wheat, oats and rye are often planted by professional farmers to condition poor soil. They plant it when the soil has been depleted of nutrients and then till it in as green fertilizer. You could do that and till yours in next year if you wanted. The point is, they will grow on less than ideal soil. I see youre in Iowa. Rape and turnips would be a good option, and by planting them now until early August you wont have to worry about bulb rot. Soilman's seed selection is exactly what I would go with. He has some great advice. Mine is basically the same. I am far from a professional land manager, but here is what I would do for what it's worth:

Day 1. brush hog (it sounds like you've already done this)
Day 2. What a week and spray with generic roundup (glyphosate)
Day 3. Throw a bag or two of 19-19-19 fertilizer down. (A few hundred pounds of lime on a half acre will never hurt). Fertilizer and lime may not be necessary. But, they will definitely help the nutrient value and attractiveness of the plot. It's all up to what you want to spend. Work the field up with whatever you have available. Choose your seed and broadcast it. Then drag it or drive over it to work the seed in
Day 60. Kill something eating in your field

We plant in northern Wisconsin as late as the first week in August. You have plenty of time a little further south. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
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