No-till food plots can be effective, but they require a little elbow grease.
QUESTION: Several friends and I recently purchased a hunting property that is 4 hours from where we live. We plan to go out before season to scout and put up stands, and were also considering establishing a couple quick, no-till food plots. Can you make any recommendations on how to establish them and what to use? — Bill O.
ANSWER: The process of creating a no-till or throw-and-grow food plot is relatively simple. All you need is a leaf blower (or rake), 50-pound bags of pelletized lime, 10-10-10 fertilizer and 5 pounds of seed. Clear away the leaves and duff, spread the lime, fertilizer and seed, and pray for rain. It doesn’t hurt to rake in all of the above and tamp the soil a bit, but that’s not critical.
In terms of what to use, I suggest any of the food plot blends designed specifically for this purpose. You want a blend in case one or more plant species don’t do as well do to too much or not enough soil moisture. You want a blend designed for whitetails, not livestock as it will be more attractive and nutritious to them. Finally, you want an annual that will reach maturity and, therefore, peak nutrition in a relatively short time and with minimal effort.
As for specific blends, it turns out that it doesn’t make that much difference. A recent study from Southern Illinois University tested three different commercial no-till blends and one designed by the researchers. They found deer showed no preference. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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