In today's world, many first-time food plotters rely on sites like this and social media for their "education." Here are my 10 steps to food plotting" and advise to those brands new or seasoned.
Take a soil sample. Soil samples tell us more than most realize. Many focus on the pH as being the most essential element but cec, p and k levels are all and soil organic matter levels all help put the plan together.
Have a plan. The first year any piece of ground is worked, should be to improve your plan positively for year 2 and 3. The now is short sighted and the future needs to be sustainable.
Understand the soil you’re working with. Match forages to the soil texture and current pH and nutrient levels. Plant "best fit" for your current management abilities.
Learn how to bring your soil alive. Fallow ground, new ground and poorly managed lands tend to be dying or dead. Healthy soil contains a thriving environment of worms, beneficial organisms, fungi and nutrients.
Work the soil less and shallower. Tillers are for gardens not food plots. Fragmenting the soil and reducing soil surface residues contribute to soil compaction and erosion.
Do the best you can to maintain living roots. A healthy soil has forages growing as many months a year as possible on the soil. There is a benefit to future crops by making this a goal.
Practice integrated weed management. This means spraying at the right place, right time and right way. Weeds can be managed and tolerated to a threshold level. Herbicides and chemicals can be harmful to the soil and environment. Do more by doing less.
Practice plot rotation. Many forages have soil health benefits. Nitrogen fixation, nutrient sequestering, soil bio drilling, building of soil surface residue and natural weed smothering and allotropy are all benefits of planting the right species for your land. What you plant now, has a positive or negative effect on the later.,
Plant contour strips and practice conservation. Do all on your part to hold soil. Take terrain into account how you set up your plots and what you plant and where you plant it.
Do better instead of more. Most food plotters are only getting 25-75% of the yields out of their plots. Fertilize smarter. Plant better genetics. Strive for 365-day nutrition. Stockpile winter forages. Learn basic tricks to have a goal of 20-30% higher yields. Every single person reading this can achieve that.
This post is my outline for a professional workshop I’ll be speaking at in July and I hope sharing it with you will give you all some food for thought.