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Grant's Blog

Thoughts from the field

When Should I Plant Fall Food Plots For 2013?

This week I received LOTS of questions through Facebook, etc., about when to plant fall food plots! That’s a relatively simple answer. Most fall food plot crops do well if planted 45-60 days before the first expected frost (click here for a link to a map showing average dates for USA).

United States forecast map from the NWS

I plant 45-60 days before the average first frost when there is ample soil moisture.

In addition there needs to be ample soil moisture for the seeds to rapidly germinate and seedlings to survive. There’s plenty of soil moisture throughout most of the eastern states now. However, throughout much of the Midwest the conditions are dry and there’s no rain in the 10 day forecast.

I live in southwestern Missouri. The average date of the first frost here is October 15th. That’s about 55 days from now. However, there is very limited soil moisture now and no rain in the forecast during the next 10 days. If I planted now, another source of stress on the seeds (or seedlings if they germinated) is that the daytime temperatures are forecast to be hot! Planting now would certainly be a gamble.

If the seeds did germinate, it might not rain soon and the very young and fragile seedlings might die or at minimum be severely stressed. The Broadside blend from Eagle Seed I plan to plant is in my carport. The plots we plan to plant have already been sprayed. We are literally ready to plant but it will be best to wait for a strong chance of rain. Remember that plants, especially young forage crops, need ample moisture to survive and thrive!

Healthy forage crops not only produce more tonnage but usually are more attractive to deer than plants that are stressed from drought, etc. For best results schedule the planting of fall food plots based on timing (45-60 days before the average first frost) and ample soil moisture being available.

Growing and hunting deer together,

Grant

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