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New Property and Very New to Plots, Questions

Old 01-17-2020, 10:18 AM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 252
Default New Property and Very New to Plots, Questions

Hi. I recently purchased a home on a 7.5 acre property that has 2 big horse pastures, maybe a little over 2 acres worth? I could be way off. Closing is the 29th and then Iíll have hard numbers.
Pastures border a ton of woods, about 3 acres are mine before running into neighbors on one side. If you head opposite direction itís a few hundred acres of unhunted state park woods. Pretty sure there are a lot of deer in these woods from what I saw. First looked at house during rut and as my wife is looking at closet space, I look outside and see an 8pt chasing does down in the woods

I want to make either one 1/2 acre food plot bordering woods or maybe a 1/2 acre one and a 1/4 acre one of different seed. Canít make it bigger to start, Iíll slowly do that and hope wife doesnít catch on!

anyway, so many seed options. Iím in Maryland on the PA line. I guess Iím leaning towards evolved habitats mega plot. I have a subcompact tractor with box blade as my equipment so I can do some things but nothing hardcore. What do people recommend for seed or mix? Iím overwhelmed with options. Besides the initial ground prep and planting, I donít have much time to do upkeep so would like to ďplant and forgetĒ. Iíd like something 3 season as well. I also have a seed store near me if thatís better than buying a bag from a evolved habitat or other hunting company. Basically I know nothing except what I read on the back of the bags. Any advice is much appreciated!!
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:50 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2,743

well congrats to you on the new place

and having a tractor puts you WAY ahead of the game IMO
what sized tractor is this< HP< and weight wise?/

what you need to find yourself are some other basic food plot tool
like a disc, a n older drag behind disc will work on most tractors of 20+ hp, pending yr and weight of them(older one's were built MUCH heavier and stronger IMO than modern one's, where you maybe need more HP

but a simple drag behind disc can be had many times pretty darn cheap, I bought dozens of them over the yrs for about 50-150 bucks and just rebuilt them, rather easy to do and once done last decades! for the average food plotter!
well worth the time and investment!

next will be a sprayer

and last will be either a simple hand crank bag seed spreader , or a tow behind one

with these simple things you can make most foot plots on your land

the FIRST thing you will want to do is a SOIL TEST< on any site you wish to make a plot
odds are it will need a bunch of LIME< and lime takes TIME to work and must be worked into the soil to work, best way to do this is, with BULK lime spreading, its WAY faster and cheaper, local farmers in area should be able to tell you who does it
an example of costs, a BULK spreader will run about 40 bucks a ton spread, YOU doing it by bags of like lime, might be about 80-100 bucks a ton an d YOU have to spread it, which is NOT easy to do with pulverized lime, and pelleted lime will cost even more
and its NOT uncommon for a plot site to need a few TONS of lime per acre! to get things going!
the math right there adds up real fast as to why bulk lime spreading is the way to go, they can do 5 ton of line in about 15 minutes and be gone!
and getting lime down NOW< is a GREAT idea or ASAP!
once field is frozen trucks can ride on top and NOT get stuck, and over winter will help leach lime into ground with snow and freeze thaws, so,!

before making any decisions on what to plant, you really should look around your area sand find out what others are planting, and then maybe try and offer something different

if your plot site will be easy for folks to see, taller things might work better,a s deer ain;t dumb and they will tend to NOT enter open plots where they can be seen in day time, so, having more cover, makes them come out sooner!

another thing to consider if there are local farmers in the area, is to just have them to site work for you and even planting, MIGHT be cheaper than you doing it!

mixing corn and soy beans to well disc'd site, and then disking seeds in can make some awesome food plots hunting come fall
if your a NWTF member, you can get discounted seeds REALLY cheap too, if you get in on them in the spring buy, like 400 dollar bags of seeds for like 40 bucks or less at times!

NO matter what you plant, odds are HIGH the first planting will NOT last or be the best,a s odds are again, PH is not going to be good, its just part of life,
some plantings can help MAKE soil PH better, adding nitrogen and such, , but that SOIL test is the one thing you do NOT want to skip out on, it will tell you valuable INFO and save you $$$$$ in the long run

best 10 bucks you will spend if thinking of making food plots
part time farmer, and a soil test is the best thing to do before doing ANYTHING else!

and again, before suggesting a planting, look at your area and what others have, your goal is to make your place a DRAW to deer, and that means having something YOU have they want more than what OTHERS have!

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Old 01-17-2020, 11:08 AM
Fork Horn
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 252

Great info, thanks!!!! I have a John Deere 1025r so not a huge machine but big enough I think.

So youíre saying I can lime now, right on top of the grass Iíll be killing in the spring? I didnít know I could do that but that is big. Iíd have waited until
spring and I read it takes up to 6 months for the lime to do its job.

I should have mentioned a few hundred yards from the woodline is a huge crop farm that rotates corn and soybean. It was corn this past year so will be soybean this upcoming. Iím pretty sure the deer pass thru my woods to get to the farm over there.

the two corners I picked for the plots are mostly out of site from view of people. Mainly did that so my wife wouldnít complain if it starts Looking sloppy and also like you said, so the deer wouldnít avoid during the daylight.

because of how the horse pastures are fenced and gated, Iím not sure if a lime spreading truck can get it there. Looks to be just big enough for my tacoma to get in. Does lime spread good from a spreader I can get for the tractor that I can spread seed with? I know lime is ďthickerĒ and not sure if the same type of spreader would work.

other than that, there are no other crops near by or food plots besides the one big farm. Bordering the state park helps with that. Iíve hiked the park to where my future property will be and think the deer come from the park woods thru my property and to the farm. The plot would be more of a hobby to see what kind of pics I can get and hoping to get the deer to detour more to my grounds on their way back and forth
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:01 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2,743

well, the tractor is not a big one that's for sure, but YES it will sure work better than any ATV will

that said, again, if you look about, you should be able to find a OLD< DRAG behind disc, something in the 8 ft or LESS size is what you want, and due to teh size of your tractor, you will have to adjust the angle of cut to what it can handle, less aggressive angle to disc, , MORE passes it will take to turn soil over

LIME< HOW Lime works, is rather simple, ye many don;t get it
in order for lime to ALTER a soils PH level is, each particle of dirt has to meet up with a particle of LIME

JUST dumping lime on the ground, doesn't do MUCH, but its a JUMP start over waiting
and ONCE lime touches dirt, it takes TIME to alter it
its not immediate action!

so the sooner you can get lime down the better, and in MOST places, lime is a never ending thing, every yr you will need to adjust, to keep a optimum PH level for things, same can be said on fertilizers!
its not a once and done deal on either lime or fertilizer!

Now adding LIME to soil NOW< again is a PLUS< as LIME will leach into soil as thaw and freezes happens and water snow and such, pack it down into the soil
it will STILL need to be disc'd into thing, or mixed some how to do the most good
thus why having a disc is very important tool for food plotters

SLOTTED disc cut into soil better than smooth edges disc as well

there are basically two types of disc,
one will be pull behind that is controlled by cut angle and gravity
and then there will be more like 3 point hitch designs, that you can actually adjust for down force

the advantage of the drag behind disc on smaller tractors is, , one there a LOT cheaper and most older farms have them laying about NOT in use anymore and as such, why they can be had cheap, parts are still avaliable on most all of them and they can be rebuilt over and over if ned be with simple tools!

you can typically pull a larger drag behind disc, than you can a 3 point hitch one
3 point hitch set ups require much more HP and Size to handle larger disc

an example,. is, again, you will be able to handle a LIGHT 6-8 ft drag behind disc
but in a 3 point hitch set up, a 4 ft disc will be MAX
this will work out some what the same in TIME spent on tractor, as the wider disc will maybe take just as many passes to get same results
due to lack of down force and well, at times you will NOT be able to use full cut, so more passes will need to happen
where the 4 ft wide 3 point hitch set up will again take MORE passes due to being smaller in width
BUT a 3 point hitch will cost several times more to BUY
and IMO< there harder on the tractor, not so bad in LARGE one's, but small compacts like this, its a lot more wear and tear, as its holding more weight IMO

I have pulled a 8 ft wide drag behind disc with a 1940's farm al model h, which is about 18 hp or so
BUT its MUCH larger tractor than what you have, weight in a LOT more, BUT its only 2 wheel drive, your's should do the same even with being smaller in stature but with 4x4
the name of the game again will be, NOT too aggressive of a cut on the disc! p[ending soil thickness and type and matter on top of it or not!
so, trying to find a nice older drag behind disc is what you will want to look for, and even better NOW< as it will give you winter to work on if need be, replace disc, bearings or any welds or bolts that need replacing, so come spring time, its all good to go!
here is what a simple older drag behind disc looks like, they are very very very common on older farms and most times farmers will gladly sell, as they have NO use for them, they will never ever use them again due to they all use larger things these days, so,m many times they can be had cheap, I have even got a few for free to just remove them, and just rebuilt them and good for decades


NOW< as for liming, I would say measure the road opening to the site, if again possible to get Bulk liming done, it will save you hundreds in $$$'s and well ton s of time and frustration
this comes down to your soil test(test now before adding any lime)
what the test tells you, will determine next step

if you need a few tons of lime, BULK is what you will want to do
if it needs only a Little, you can suck up the added costs and use pelletized lime, which can be easy to spread with a basic broadcast type spreader, be it tow behind or push type!

pelletized lime is the more costly form of lime, so again if you need a lot, costs will add up fast

crushed lime/pulverized lime, is what Most farmer use, due to its costs
the main problem with it however is, it takes more special types of spreaders to spread it

older stuff can be found at times but getting harder,and those that are in the know, have found out hunters will pay top dollar for them
I used to buy them and repair if need be and take to many of the properties I maintained/managed and left there, as to hauling in all the time, used to be able to find them for like 50-100 bucks
NOW I see most going for a LOT higher prices
and there really isn;t anyone making new one's minus a few odd ball company's and the price tags there asking are in the thousands for small one's
like ground buster or MFP

the problem with pulverized lime is it clumps up and doesn't fall or spread well, you need some sort of agitator to keep it moving and from clumping up

yrs back,1940's-70's they made all sorts of nice cheap easy 8-9-10-12-1-12 ft wide ones that had mixers that ran across the width and were simple ground driven by one tire or both
they again can be found on most older farms, abandoned due to few use them,a s bulk spreading lime is faster and cheaper
But if you LOOK< you can find them and there pretty simple things, and can be rebuilt and will two behind your tractor very easy and will be well worth buying if you plan to make food plots for yrs to come
find one, rebuild it and odds are you will be able to sell it pretty fast for a LOT more than you paid for it

look about and you can find them still pretty cheap!

other alternatives to them will be small drop spreaders, but again, there not much fun to work with as many only hold a few hundred lbs IF that, and when a site needs a ton or more, that's a LOT of back and forth to keep filling it!
you will very fast realize how it sucks if you try it and why ,m many pay to have bulk spread, or those with deep pockets too lazy to go look for a older one, will anti up the big $$ the new one's cost!

here is a link to some used one's on craigslist, not close to you, as don';t know exactly where your at, but to give you an idea on what they are and what cleaned up ones bring


this would be more for you yard than a food plot


this will show a REAL old drop spreader and a disc as well


these are again, just examples of things, so you know what I am talking about

they are common place items on older farms ,a s that is how they did things yrs back, so all had therm, and again, due to modern farming implements there just never used again minus, the Amish and likes that still WILL use them!
I have rebuilt and sold MANY to Amish over the last 20 yrs!

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Old 01-24-2020, 12:20 PM
Boone & Crockett
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Location: south eastern PA
Posts: 15,464

You might want to think about putting a big plot of Brassica, it provides leaves and roots which the deer can and do dig up in winter.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 01-24-2020 at 12:24 PM.
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