Food plot preparations - finally - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-02-2019, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Default Food plot preparations - finally

The weather has changed for the better. Hurricane Dorian decided to go away, but dropped significant rain to make the land too wet to plow. The sun has been kind in the last three weeks. The land has dried.

The tractor and bushhog have each been repaired at least twice. The fields and strips have all been cut. Roundup spraying was started Monday then stopped due to the golf cart (which holds the sprayer) tire getting punctured in the field, going flat without a spare, and the battery running down, both being corrected later this morning.

The 20 blade 3-point hitch disk has been restored and is in the process of being rebuilt. Its strongback was welded together with a lot of new tube steel, without cost to me for materials or labor, for the sole remuneration of allowing the master welder to hunt my property with his friend (my friend) who also bow hunts my property. Win-win. With a few new bolts, some in-hand steel shims, and a little elbow grease, the disk will be ready to rip fields and strips next week.

Seed has been located for agreeable cost, in species agreeable to the deer and turkeys (WGF sorghum, Rye grain cereal, soy beans, wheat, and clover), and in sufficient quantities to plant (with one over-seeding if required), but two hours and one hundred miles (+/-) away by car. That trip will be made Saturday morning I think.

I am feeling better about hunting this Fall but am not going to S.C. to hunt this year, where the out of pocket cost to non-residents has become an impediment. Instead, I have used the same funds to bring my "Broke Down Farm" and its equipment back to their full potential. Now, if the deer participate, the hogs will, and a turkey or two, it is shaping up to be a decent hunting season...and one for which this old "hobby farmer" has earned his State lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, without cost, for having lived to age 65!

Life is good!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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The hogs are tearing up the bush hogged landscape. On camera we've seen as many as 13 in one sounder that are damaging the land. There is GOING to be trigger time in eliminating some of these four legged 150 pound varmints.

Roundup has been squirted over all of the horizontal food plot surfaces via golf cart carrying 25-gallon sprayer. I built a "spray bar" on a 2x4 with 1/2" plastic tubing and Tractor Supply parts driven from the tank by its pump that has done a very good uniform distribution job. The glyphosate burn appears to be very thorough at one week old. Another week and I should know for certain.

Rain washed off the gly that I "shot" over air potato vines and Johnson Grass yesterday afternoon. That will have to be done again when the weather is not forecast for more rain.

Three more "easy" pieces of the 20-blade disk to repair and it will be ready to tear up the ground for planting.

Seed, fertilizer, and lime have been investigated for least cost but not yet acquired. I worry now that the longer I wait to get the seed the less they will have to sell. Rain and an open trailer are neither satisfactory nor compatible to make the two hour one-way trip.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Today I take a two-hour, 110 mile, one-way ride to pick up seed from W. Florida (Hancock Seed Co. in Dade City). Why nothing closer? Today's Florida has become very select at "growing tourists", getting them to quickly "germinate" in this State, plucking them of their "flowering" tourists dollars, then packaging and sending them home again.

We've lost a lot of our former farming mentality along with its supporting infrastructure. What used to be 100's of thousands of acres of active Orange groves along the Indian River in E. Central FL, in need of cyclical lime, annual fertilizer, constant care, and personal attention, has de-evolved by disease, infestation, and tree deaths into gated housing communities, strip malls, gas stations, Big Box Stores, secondary, arterial, frontage, and Interstate roadways, and traffic congestion. The "Snowbirds" come from the North and STAY.

Places where we used to go for local seed are no more, or the selection inadequate or incomplete, or is just too expensive for wildlife food plots. For some items even the distant seed supplier is over priced.

Big Box Stores and Amazon dot com have supplanted a few of the specialized local seed suppliers with Free Shipping and to-your-door delivery. I was amazed at the number of supplier/folks on-line that are selling a measly "200 seeds" of the variety you are looking for rather than 50# bags. If you ran with their numbers to its equivalent in 50#'s it equates to 20 TIMES their worth, or MORE! Ama-za-zing indeed!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 08:22 AM
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Florida is a whole different bird than what I am used to here in Iowa. I have 40 acres of alfalfa to the north of my timber, a 10 acre plot of pumpkins to the east and soybeans to the west. Those pumpkins are a wildcard. The deer feed on them all winter. They can be frozen hard as a rock and the deer stomp them until they bust open then chow down on the frozen contents.

About 5 years ago I planted a food plot on the one acre bare spot on top of a hill in the middle of the timber. The deer didn't pay any attention to it until the crops were harvested. I had trail cameras set up and nothing was happening at that food plot all fall. Then they ate it down to nothing in one week. Of course their feed frenzy didn't line up with the season in which I had tags.

Land_owner, what kind of seed are you looking for? I can look around here in the midwest and see what is available.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Your experience with a 1 acre food plot is my experience with 3.5 acres of food plots. In the week prior to the opening of Modern Gun Season for Deer, they ate EVERYTHING (they like) to the dirt line (mostly iron and clay peas those years). I have sat on stand and watched doe with yearlings, two weeks before Doe Season started which were then illegal to shoot, stand their ground against other doe with yearlings in the same 1.25 acre plot as they all munched green shoots to the dirt line - right in front of me! They KNOW the calendar and when they can't be taken. However, where the does are, so too will be the bucks. Thereafter I used Throw and Grow as an overseed to keep them coming back...which worked.

IF YOU BUILD IT - THEY WILL COME.

Yesterday, I purchased 100#'s of WGF Sorghum, 100#'s of Soy Beans, inoculant for the beans, and 100#'s of Rye Grain seed, all for just under $210.00 (a reasonable cost in my book) to go with a handful of wheat seed from another State left over from an earlier planting two years ago. We shall see if the wheat germinates. I am pretty certain that some of it will.

EASE HIS PAIN.

I appreciate the consideration gpa. No need to look for me. The shipping (I believe) would eat my lunch even if the cost of the seed from the Midwest undercut the "local" supplier. Shipping across this State was just above $100.00. I asked about their shipping "price break" for seed orders over 250#'s. Their next "bracket" starts at 350#'s (for $150.00) - so I was out of luck in that.

GO THE DISTANCE.

I elected to drive 2 hours one way on familiar roads to pick the seed up and save maybe $75.00 in total - the cost of the sorghum (+/-). Plus, the early morning drive through that part of the State (truly a part of God's Country) is refreshing and makes my heart smile. On the dawn breaking, dew covered, narrow, rolling hill country roads, backdropped by meadows and forest edges, I "talked" to the fence sitting crows along the way. They KNOW stuff, but they don't say too much about it. They will look at you though in a "knowing" sort of way and they are real-real good at listening.

Is this Heaven? No, it's FLORIDA!

I don't know how many seasons I have left, but this one is shaping up well. I am having fun in its planning and execution. The tractor is running well. The bush hog too. The disk is soon to be repaired. Got to do maintenance on the Golf Cart. It is giving me fits. I use it to spread a layer of dirt over the fresh seed. It has started to stagger in its running and won't go up the slightest incline or through the undulations in the fields.

Last edited by land_owner; 10-09-2019 at 06:55 AM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Finished food plotting YESTERDAY (on the opening day of modern gun season). All fields and strips are seeded. The seed is lightly covered. Soil moisture is GOOD. Need a moderate rain or two, but germination should occur in the coming week. Feels like I am talking to myself here...
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 08:59 AM
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Back in '58 I lived in Haines City, FL. In those days that was the citrus capital of the state I guess. During harvest season I could see those huge open 18 wheeler trucks hauling the citrus to the processing plant there in Haines City. Most all bags of any type of citrus in those days were packaged and shipped from there.

Riding around the country side about all you saw were citrus orchards.



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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for the update LO. I was wondering how your food plot adventures were doing. Boy, Florida sure looks different!!

Best of luck this year and let us know how things are going.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Got a great rain yesterday afternoon and evening. The kind of rain that soaks the ground without flooding it. That should aid germination to its fullest potential and in about four days I should see greening and plant progress. Woo Hoo! I am getting excited now.

Almost all of the tree stands in there (and the 55-gal. drum corn feeder) were damaged by falling trees/debris in hurricane(s), corrosion, or wood destroying organisms (termites). All have been taken down, demoed, and transported to the dump. Wood is on hand for construction of new "permanent" stands. It is still raining...go figure.

Oh well. New stands and new growth. If the deer pattern the new stands, and they will, I will just have to remain patient and persistent. I don't have any climber tree stands. Maybe it is time to invest in one...

Last edited by land_owner; 11-05-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-05-2019, 03:07 PM
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Good deal LO. Sounds like your timing was perfect with the rain. There’s a lot of satisfaction growing nice crop’s, no matter what the type.

That’s a good move to demo those old stands and build anew. Keep going, you are an inspiration. 👍 👍👍

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