Let me compare stages in wildlife food plotting and nutrition to crop farming. There are people out there still growing only 100-bushel corn. There are the average crop farmers that produce 150-bushel corn. There are the managers who grow 200-bushel corn on a regular basis and lastly there are the innovators. The early adapters and innovators are growing 250-300-bushel corn. Hey, maybe it's a lot like putting inches on bucks? Let's explore how would I qualify you at this stage of your wildlife program. Let's ask these questions.
The 100 class
Have you taken a soil test? If you haven't, then automatically you’re a 100 class. Sure, you might have some good growth one year but more than likely it's short term. You probably are mining the soil and you might have 1 or 2 good years when everything is perfect but it won't last. Are you grabbing whatever seed is on the shelf at a big box store, feed mill or farm store? Do you look closely at every label before you buy? If not you’re in the 100 class
The 150 class
Have you been working on soil amendments and overall soil health? To me this entails cover crops, smother crops, soil organic matter builders and maintaining a soil ph. in the 6.0-7.0 range. Part of equation would also be the proper fertilization. If you’re doing these things you’re probably in the 150 class.
Are you properly working the soil? Are you over working the soil? Are you continually fighting weeds? Are you properly applying chemicals in both rates and timing? Do you have water holes or water troughs? Are you creating rub lines and scrape lines? Do you have bedding areas? If you’re doing these things your more than likely in the 150-class area.
The 200 class
Are you planting improved genetics? Are you aware of the differences between types of brassicas? Are you planting multi graze genetics? Do you know the maturity dates of the brassicas, corn, and soybeans your planting? Most don't. If you do, then more than likely your here. Are you practicing plot rotation? Are you planting warm season native grasses? Do your fields set aside mainly for winter feed for the deer. Are you using deer mineral where legal? If you’re doing these things you’re near the top and are most likely achieving consistent success.
The 250-300 class
Are you using foliar plant foods with all application of chemicals? Are you using humics to loosen the soil and help with nutrient uptake? Do you know what elite genetics are and are you using them? Are you planting fruit trees? Are you creating pinch points, funnels and moving deer where you want them to be? Do you have a stockpiled forage to last into February in the northern climates? Are you using deer minerals all year where legal? If so, are you using one that meet's a deer's daily requirement? If your aware what a deer's daily requirements are for nutrients, then your most likely in this class.