Method: Choose a site that receives a minimum of 8 hours of full sun. Prepare a clean, smooth and firm seedbed by plowing and dragging the soil. Fertilizer and lime can be applied during this step to incorporate it into the soil. Broadcast seed evenly across the soil surface and incorporate it using a light drag, culti-packer or some other roller device. Care should be taken to ensure seed are planted at the proper depth. If a drag is used to incorporate seed, the use of a culti-packer or roller after dragging ensures good seed/soil contact which improves stand emergence.
Seeding Date: (Fall Planting) South - Sept. 15 thru Nov. 30; Upper South - Sept. 1 thru Oct. 15; North - Aug. 15 thru Oct. 1 (Spring Planting) South - February; Upper South - March; North - April
Seeding Rate: 50 lbs. /acre or 1.25 lbs. /1000 sq. ft.
Depth: 1/4" (stand failures will result from seed planted too shallow or too deep).
Fertilizer: Soil testing is highly recommended. Liming to a pH of 6.0-6.5 and providing adequate levels of potassium and phosphorus are necessary to ensure a productive food plot. See your local county extension office for soil sampling assistance. In the absence of a soil test, apply 400 lbs. /acre 10-10-10 (10 lbs./1000 sq. ft.) or equivalent fertilizer and 1 ton/acre ag lime (50 lbs./1000 sq. ft.). Apply fertilizer just prior to seeding. If practical, apply lime a minimum of 3 months ahead of planting.
Fertilizer: To boost forage production and extend the browsing period into spring, apply a second application of 400 lbs. /acre 10-10-10 (10 lbs./1000 sq. ft.) or equivalent fertilizer in late winter just prior to the spring growth flush of the small grains. Or, if a soil test from the plot area indicates soil potassium and phosphorus levels to be adequate, a sidedress application of 125 lbs. /acre (3 lbs. /1000 sq.ft.) 34-0-0 or equivalent nitrogen fertilizer in late winter is sufficient.
General: To enhance the growth and establishment of perennial clovers and forbs contained in RACKMASTER Elite seed mixture, mow the plots in late spring/early summer to remove excessive growth and mature seed heads of winter annual forages. To reduce competition with desirable plants, keep weeds and unwanted grass in check throughout the summer months by periodic mowing or through the application of labeled herbicides. (Consult the local university extension office for specific herbicide recommendations.)
Tips for Successful Food Plots:
1. Every successful food plot begins with a soil test. Most woodland soils have low pH and low fertility. A soil test will tell you how much fertilizer and lime is needed. Information on taking a soil test can be obtained from your local county extension office.
2. Spend the extra time necessary to properly prepare the soil by plowing, smoothing and firming the ground. Planting on a weed free, smooth and firm seedbed that allows good seed-soil contact is essential for a thick, productive forage stand.
3. Plant seed at the proper seeding depth. Planting too shallow or too deep can result in stand failure. Seed mixes containing small seeded legumes and forbs should not be seeded deeper than 1/4 inch. Use a cultipacker, log or a light drag to firm the soil after planting.
4. When selecting a wildlife food plot site, choose an area that is long and narrow with curves or bends in it. This provides a sense of comfort and safety for wildlife. When developing food plots, a good rule of thumb is to plant 2.5 to 7 acres of food plots for every 100 acres of habitat.
5. Avoid droughty sites such as eroded hillsides or shallow, rocky soils. Southwest facing slopes are hotter in the summer and tend to dry out faster than bottom land.
6. A minimum of 50% full sunshine is essential for a healthy and productive food plot. Morning sun is better than afternoon sun for summer game food plots. The reverse is generally true in the winter.