Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Gamekeepers / Fall - Fertilizer to Food Plot Ratio

Planting a food plot as a supplement for wildlife
The Number One mistake land managers make with their food plots is not fertilizing them properly. Not all gamekeepers are exposed to the knowledge that longtime farmers possess, and that makes them starved for education on the matter. Simply put, you don’t want to put in the time and effort to plan and plant a food plot and then withhold the ingredients that provide the best shot for success.
Plowing the ground and getting in some tractor time is universally accepted as time well spent. But for some the purchase of fertilizer and seed really creates a passion for outdoor recreation. If getting your food plots good to go is more exciting than the day you actually climb in a deer stand to hunt over them, then you might be a gamekeeper.

Fall 2015 cover and my food plot fertilizer photo
The proper balance and the correct amount of fertilizer can vary from plot to plot, but the intent should always be to produce the best crop that is possible. The better the plot production, the more resilient it will be from all the critters that will utilize it. Multiple deer can make a real dent in a small plot during an overnight feed, but raccoons and even high concentrations of squirrels can tax a food plot. It is true that a properly fertilized plot draws more attention from critters than one that is lacking the right nutrient levels.

Timmy Benton of Benton’s Feed and Seed sells the all-important fertilizer varieties to a variety of customers ranging from plantations to small private landowners. “Getting the fertilizer equation right can also include knowing what was planted in that food plot in prior years and what if any fertilizer was used,” said Benton. “The process of planting food plots can get expensive, and I see the average man using smaller food plots less than one acre, but they aren’t following through with enough fertilizer. The danger there is that the crop will come up fine, but it may die as it runs out of fuel.”

That's a Clemson Extension soil sample!
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. Palatability or taste does matter to white-tailed deer and a crowded food plot is the ultimate compliment to the dedicated land manager.

To join the Mossy Oak Gamekeeper club and receive a hat, Biologic seed samples and magazine subscription click here.

To view past blog entries from Gamekeepers magazine click Summer 2015Spring 2015 - Winter 2015 Fall 2014 - Summer 2014 - Spring 2014 - Winter 2013 

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