SPRING FOOD PLOT MAINTENANCE
As spring nears, it is time to start thinking about food plot goals and needs. We are still several weeks away from having abundant natural food sources available. Late March, April and even into May, are critical times to provide adequate nutrition, as there are very few surrounding crop options. The importance of having high quality feed in spring is often overlooked, but fawns are growing, does are lactating, and bucks are setting antlers.
It is important to make a seed & fertility plan so that you have products in place for when weather conditions allow. There are several seed species that provide critical spring nutrition, while still allowing the option to overseed or re-seed for fall attraction:
Biennial or Perennial Mixes:
MWGF Gobbler’s Grub -For those looking to provide an easy, perennial food source, our MWGF “Gobbler’s Grub” offers premium clovers and chicory. This mix is as easy as it gets! Frost seed or broadcast from now through April in areas of full sun to moderate shade. This mix is ideally mowed 2 or 3 times per summer to freshen it up, and is likely to last 3 years or longer. Seed 8-10# / acre.
MWGF Spring Fling – This mix is a biennial / annual blend that can be frost seeded, broadcasted, or drilled in spring. It has high sugar ryegrass, FROSTY clover, crimson clover, and brassicas. The clovers and brassicas will die in late summer /early fall, allowing the ryegrass to be overseeded with fresh brassicas in time for fall to maximize attraction. Seed 25#/acre. Though this mix requires two passess, it will offer extremely high rates of protein and appeal for most of the year. For each acre of “Spring Fling” purchased** until March 1, 2019, you will receive a coupon for an acre of brassicas to be overseeded for fall!**Offer applies to retail price at our Macomb location only, not valid with other discounts or coupons. See store for details
Early Spring Annual Options:
Several species can be added in early spring to provide spring and summer nutrition, but allow overseeding with crops for attraction in the fall. Good options include:
· Oats (2.5 bushel / acre) – easy to establish!
· Frosty Clover (15# / acre) – great annual clover. Pairs well in established alfalfa to thicken stand.
· Cereal Rye or Wheat (1 Bushel / acre) – will not produce a head when seeded in spring, but provides nice quality forage. Can be terminated before fall with herbicide.
· Turnips or Radish – can be spring planted, will die in summer, in time for reseeding for fall
Species such as sunflowers, sorghum, and sudangrass, but these should not be planted until late May.
Now is also a good time to take soil tests and make any applications needed. Fertility is as important of plot management tool as seed is. We offer soil test kits, and allow you to borrow our probes to pull samples, along with recommendations from our agronomists. We also carry a wide range of fertilizer products (including a 9-23-30 specifically designed with food plots in mind) as well as lime.
“Dollar for dollar, soil testing and lime will provide the most bang for your buck!”
Many times, pH is often ignored, and the decision is made to just add fertilizer without testing. By making sure the pH is at the proper balance, plants are more able to take up available nutrients. For those with a modest budget, soil tests and lime often save money by reducing fertilizer needs, or improving fertilizer up take. Too much fertilizer can lead to toxicity and end up causing loss of stand or poor yield. More is not always better!
Feel free to give us a call or stop by, we would be happy to help customize a plan that fits you needs!