Food Plot Maintenance

In my last post I shared that most of my plots this year were planted in soybeans.  I do this because soybeans are a great choice and preferred by deer and because it is easy to control the weeds.  They also fix nitrogen so later in the year when I plant brassicas they can take advantage of the nitrogen fixed by the beans.  A couple weekends ago I was busy spraying the soybeans and working on a few other things…mostly food plot related.  Here are some highlights.

Electric fencing food plots

Again this year we fenced off a couple of our food plots to make sure they flourish while the deer pound the other bean plots. Some of the other plots will be replanted with brassicas in mid summer…these will be left for the hunters this fall.

We planted many of our soybeans in last years winter rye.  The winter rye is a great green manure, and acts as a cover crop for the beans as they get growing...helping to keep the deer off while they are young.  Spraying with glysophate at this stage is perfect.

We planted many of our soybeans in last years winter rye. The winter rye is a great green manure, and acts as a cover crop for the beans as they get growing…helping to keep the deer off while they are young. Spraying with glysophate at this stage is perfect.

Clearing Paths

It takes me about 3 years to get a farm where it needs to be. One thing I think is very important is clearing lanes to each stand site so that I can get in and out quietly. This is a stand site in the timber…a tree fell over a path to the stand so I’m clearing it out. Once trails are established it still requires yearly maintenance.

All my soybean plots were sprayed with glysophate at a rate of 1 quart glysophate to the acre.

All my soybean plots were sprayed with glysophate at a rate of 1 quart glysophate to the acre.

Another example of soybeans planted in winter rye growing up from last year. The soybeans might look bad…but the rye acts as a cover or protector from the deer early on…spray now and the beans will look great in a few weeks.

Alfalfa Plot

An experimental alfalfa plot. Alfalfa is a great and preferred food plot but requires a lot of maintenance. The plant needs to be cut regularly and is best if baled off. I’m trying a small plot in hopes the deer keep it eaten down. They love the alfalfa and it is really drought tolerant…something I’m trying after the last two years drought.

Creek beds make great entrance and exit routes. They require yearly maintenance to remove noisy debris. My Stihl chain saw makes easier work of the debris.

I don’t want to leave out that I also got my cameras out and watching over food plots.  I have talked about this before but I have never had great success putting out cameras early in the season.

I got my cameras out this year around late May.  We'll see if I can change my luck with early season cameras.  I don't worry though....each year things get better as the season approaches.

I got my cameras out this year around late May. We’ll see if I can change my luck with early season cameras. I don’t worry though….each year things get better as the season approaches.

I have my theories why this is…and I don’t get worried about it because each year my cameras light up as I get into the hunting season (which I guess is the point).  We’ll see if this year follows that trend.

I’m also really proud and excited to say that I got my first article published in an outdoor magazine. The Iowa Sportsman magazine published an article I wrote about why I feel soybeans are the best food plot choice.  It is in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.  I also have plans for more articles in the magazine for future issues on topics ranging from habitat enhancement ideas to how to articles all about deer hunting.  Click here to look at the Soybean Food plot article.

4 thoughts on “Food Plot Maintenance

  1. Congats on the published article peppy! You have a lot of great knowledge to share and its great to see it get out to help the regular joe like me!! Thanks for all the info.

    • Thanks Matt. Hope all is going good for you! Food plot weather has been great so far this year hasn’t it?

      I have 2 articles coming out in the August issue and 1 in September. More I’m sure to follow. I’m also working on getting the video camera fired up and producing some video too in the future. We’ll see. Keep me up on your season.
      Tom

  2. I will keep you up to date for sure. We got all the plots planted 3 weeks ago. Headed up this weekend to spray the beans if its not too wet and check on all the other plots and cams. The plan you came up with for my property is really coming together. Thanks for all the help. Keep in touch.

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