Planting Food Plots
The record rainfall of the spring of 2013 has delayed our food plot planting, but the month of June still offers a great opportunity to plant summer food plots in the Midwest. This week we’re planting Eagle Forage Soybeans in Illinois. Different planting times require different planting techniques, but with the right drill setup and cooperative weather, food plots planted now can be just as productive as plots planted earlier in the season.
Due to the delayed onset of summer weather, instead of drilling beans an inch into the soil, Casey set the drill to put the beans around a half inch under the surface. The warm weather in the forecast and the ample moisture already present allows for shallow planting. The drill he used was a rental from the county soil and water conservation district. For land managers who can’t afford to purchase their own equipment, local offices often have equipment for rental as a cheaper alternative. On the drill is the instruction manual that shows the user the settings for the planting population desired. Instead of utilizing 7.5 inch rows, Casey covered every other row with cardboard to give the forage soybeans room to grow. By summer’s end, they should be 6+ foot tall and provide tons of forage for his deer herd.
We often discuss the term “adaptive management”. The last two years have really reinforced this idea. Last year, much of the country suffered a historic drought. In a total reversal, this year many places have seen record rainfall. Your management plan is always changing and should never be set in stone. This is especially true when planting food plots. Time and equipment doesn’t always allow for the food plot preparation you might desire, but there are always ways to make your situation work.