Whether I am reading posts in food plot forums or when people approach me at seminars or at a show, the most common question I hear or read is.....What is the best thing to plant? Nothing in food plotting or farming is that simple. It's sort of like a farmer saying to his seed corn salesman to "just bring him a bag of his best corn and he will plant it." Even with seed corn or soybeans, there are many different types of hybrids. Some hybrids tolerate dry soil, where others handle wet or heavy soils better. Some varieties have better disease packages. Some need really high fertilities to be better. So, with that being said here is where it all starts....the soil.
What does your soil test say? For those who haven't taken a soil test, it's the single most importanty thing you can do. If your soil is low in pH, there is very little that will grow successfully. Also, if your pH is below 5.5, less than 50% of the fertilizer you put down will actually work. So, why invest in fertilizer without investing first in lime? It would be like investing in your 401K program but your investor would take 50% of your investment off the top as he acts as your broker. Who would do that?
Soil is made up of three main components – minerals, organic matter, and living organisms that reside in the soil. A healthy soil is one made up of a correct balance of minerals, a high amount of organic matter and a healthy environment of living organisms. If you have all these things as healthy as you can, you will see less soil compaction, which results in less water run off. The higher amount of organic matter will help "hold" the fertilizers you put down as well as create more soil oxygen levels. Lastly, when you have more soil organisms, you will see better root growth, better nutrient uptake, and other natural growth promoting properties. Like the deer needing a high rumen "buggie" population to be efficient, the soil is the same way.
Here are the questions i ask people who are wanting to know what to plant.
Where do you live? What is your soil type? How much ground do you have? What is planted in your surrounding areas? What equipment do you have? What was planted previously on that ground? What is your deer densities?
There are many topics that people can read about in my future newsletters. I'll cover everything from liquid and dry humics, to natural growth promoters to micro nutrients. I use growth promoters on all my seed plus sell both liquid plant foods and dry fertilizers with unique combinations of humics and micro's to help soil health.