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Why Did a Food Plot Fail?

So often I see on social media a landowner having an issue with their food plot, and they ask the public for help. Many times, I cringe at the answers and that is understandable. People tend to like to give canned answers and subscribe to a one size fits all mentality. As a lifelong consultant my mind travels to another place and I try to get people to think about the process to give great answers versus just an answer.

Here is a list of questions I tend to ask the end user.

What was planted previously?

Can you provide me a recent soil sample showing soil cec numbers?

What is your soil texture?

What fertilizer or plant nutrients did you use and when were they applied?

What was the soil moisture like through the growth phase?

What was exactly planted for forages and at what levels?

How deep did you plant?

How did you plant? What equipment? How did you get the seed placed where you wanted it to be?

Any foliar feeding?

Was there insect or plant disease pressures?

With each answer to each question there could be another set of questions for each area. To effectively give a great answer there could be 20-30 questions asked and anything less may be just a random guess.

So, the point of this is some solutions are obvious and others are overlooked. Sometimes we need to take a step back and ponder what may be overlooked. For me, I can spot issues when my boots are on the ground but that is not always possible. Sometimes it is what you see and at other times it is what I am “not seeing” that is the reason for failure. I recommend people to write things down so if there is failure, a solution can be found. This is why I created a guidebook for food plotters to take notes and use to benchmark or to look at a history for a plot or plots. Be well and happy food plotting.

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