What to do?Contributors to this thread:
So, I have an acre field that I still want to put a food plot in within the next week. It's not been planted in about 3 years. I mowed it last weekend (grass/weeds were close to 4 ft tall.) Pic attached. I was planning to spray it this Friday. Then figured I would disk it a couple days later and plant. I've read more on this site about planting without disking? Could I get away without disking? And my 2nd question is what type of seed should I plant? Thanks in advance.
What state is this field in? What is the soil type? What equipment do you have available?
Soil test first. That will narrow your choices. Some crops need a neutral ph, or very close. You're very close to planting time. I would disc in soil amendments, including lime and fertilizer, and plant wheat, oats, or rye grain. Possibly a mix of the three. Your lime will be working at its max next year and you can plant most anything.
Winter wheat, but if you tilled it up and did nothing, they would still eat whatever weed/forbs came up.
Sorry, I should have specified this is in northeast WI. The last crop planted here 3 yrs ago was corn. I have access to a small tractor with a disk. I mowed it with a brush hog attachment. As for spraying, I would be using an atv with small boom (which plugs into receiver hitch.)
If you have time for soil test id do that, If not do a mixture of winter cereal grains, and clovers maybe even peas or something of the sort. As for disking. Every plot I've done for 3 years now has been with zero tillage equipment. Just the use of cover crops, a sprayer and a roller. I have even done it with fields that look like yours here. If you cant till, id Spray it, then right before your next available rain spread seed and roll it in with a lawn roller a couple times. I have done this with most every food plot seed..
Attached is a frosty delight plot from GRO using this method
Appreciate the responses. Letemgrow, that plot looks good. I was actually planning on using a GRO product. Your post definitely peaks my interest in the no till approach. I will see how much time I end up with this weekend, but i definitely plan to spray tomorrow evening.
If you don't have a very heavy disk, you are going to have a heck of a time ,(even with repeated trips over the field) getting that chopped up with all of those weeds that you have laying on top from the brush hog. You will probably only half a$$ chop it, and get chunks of sod turned up and expose a little new dirt, and only succeed in a flush of new weed seed. This year, since you have mowed, wait about 3 to 5 days to let new growth appear and then spray with 2qts of round-up per acre. That should smoke most grasses and weeds this time of year. Then broadcast some, oats, wheat and brassicas on top, with some fertilizer and lime. Then next spring, spray, wait a couple of weeks and then disc and get your seed bed done right. If it rains after you broadcast your seed, you can have a good stand. Food plots can be expensive, so do it right, or you will have a weedy, cloddy mess. But as others have said, go ahead and lime this fall, cause it takes ag lime a long time to break down. If you want quicker lime results...use pelletized lime...more $$$, but usable a lot quicker. Good luck.
I would disc as it will improve your organic matter and open up the soil a little bit. You are going to have a tough time with all the plant matter from mowing, but it's worth a shot. If you are going to go with something that has a smaller seed you might have a little more luck as opposed to a bigger seed. You can broadcast it and then roll it.
Well, the weather has been a challenge, but I have a work in progress. It was 5 days from mowing to spraying. I went to the local seed dealer and got his recommendations- grandpa ray's frosty delight on the top half (it is more dry up there) and inner sanctum on the bottom half (more wet at times.) A couple days after spraying I tried some shallow disking. It had rained the day before, however, and began again an hour into it. The final straw though, was running over a yellow jacket ground nest. It was bad. Stung multiple times repeatedly. I bailed out off the tractor while it was running and ran across the field full tilt. Even a hundred yards away I was still getting attacked. Wish I had it on video, because it would be hilarious to watch now. So, now I'm waiting for another dry day (most likely tomorrow evening) to continue disking and broadcast the seed. If the grass wasn't so long as some of you mentioned, I wouldn't have worried about disking. The seed dealer suggested I do it. So, I then don't need to worry about rolling it or running over the seed after broadcasting. I was going to wait until Wednesday, but forecast is for more rain that day and none after for the rest of the week. So, trying to hit the small window to get moisture right after I plant. Appreciate all the feedback.
Disked until dark last night to get it in before the rain. As stated earlier by others, didn't go well and lots of small clumps. There is good dirt exposed, however. I put some seed down, but it was too dark. So, seeded more this morning before work. Ran over 1/2 of it with utv to make sure good soil contact. Interested to compare the halves. Unfortunately, the rain predicted came as a down pour this afternoon. Now worried it just washed away the seed. If it ain't one thing, it's another. Wondering if I should just broadcast some more over the top? Fingers crossed
The smoother the seedbed, the more seed will wash off, so you're probably ok. I'm no expert, but I have learned that to get a smooth seedbed free of clumps, use enough gly to kill the hell out of the plants, roots and all. Then, be sure and wait long enough that it works clear to the roots. A week minimum, and I like ten days better. Discs up much better that way. I spray before mowing to ensure that. Good luck, I'll bet you have a plot that deer will use.