Create Your Baseline
So many hunters and people in the wildlife industry want the quick fix and easy route. That is not a wise decision long term. Sure, short term you might have success or luck into some positives but it’s not sustaining. For example, you could plant the best food plot this year and it might grow very well. You might also have an incredible food plot year 2, but if you are not giving back to the soil, what you have taken from it, it will run out of steam. I am currently seeing 90% of the soil tests coming back that are short or very low in soil potassium. I believe this is because many guys are growing good food plots the past couple years but they are not putting enough back into the soil for the growth that are getting.
Here are 2 examples:
Per ton grown lbs P removed lbs K removed
Alfalfa ton 13 60
Brassicas ton 10 48
So, if you grew 3 ton of brassicas per acre, you removed 30 lbs of phosphorous and 144 lbs of potassium from your soil. You would have needed to have put down 200 lbs of 15-15-15 fertilizer and another 190 lbs of 0-0-60 straight potassium.
Maybe you started up with a decent level of soil nutrients but by year 3 you’ve depleted your soils. Perhaps you are getting a decent amount of fertilizer down but your soil Ph is too low or your soil organic matter levels are too low and you are not effectively utilizing the fertilizers you put down even if there was the proper pounds spread.
So, here is what I want people to ask themselves.
Do you know what forages grow best on the soils YOU have, not what other people have?
Do you know what nutrients are extracted by the forages you plan to plant?
Do you know the nutritional values of the forages your planting?
Do you understand the best chemicals to use and the best way to get effective weed kill?
Do you scout your fields and know the problem weeds you have?
Do you mark the spots in your fields that lack and take pictures?
Do you scout your food plots and observe and mark problem areas?
What forages failed you in the past and do you have an idea why?
So get a baseline on where you are at in your management program
Ask yourself where do you want to be in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years
Get someone to scout yourself. Hire a professional or ask a friend to walk through your program.
Most of all create a good balance between work and pleasure. Food plotting and wildlife management should be a holistic experience and about the experience and process. Make it fun. Be a farmer. Relish in the successes no matter if it’s a large doe or whatever size buck that your happy to harvest. Make it about “little moments.”