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Tractor implements for new Food Plot
On my property in Oklahoma I currently have multiple small 0.10 acre to 0.70 acre food plots that total a little less than 3 acres. I planted them by mowing, spraying glyphosate, spreading seed followed by cultipacking. This worked reasonably well despite how dry it was at the end of September and early October. The problem is that even with the huge acorn crop that we had this year the deer keep the food plots mowed to the ground so I know I need to establish more acreage in food plots.
My best location to establish a new 2.5 acre food plot is an upland location that is covered with some sort of bunch grass that is very dense. I don’t think spraying it and bush hogging it will be sufficient to open the ground up to broadcast and cultipack. My question is what implement is best suited for clearing this area for planting, Disc Harrow, tiller, or something else? By the way the soils are sandy with not a lot of rock and I own a Kubota L6060 tractor.
John I live in East Tenn much more rocky here it sounds like but we use a Hvy disk it’s 12ft wide usually two passes and I’m done but also this past year we were pressed for time and drought condition our ground was very hard I rented a 8ft tiller from our local rental place I disked while my buddy ran it and it seemed to be trick I’m currently in search for one on Craigslist.
I’d agree, a tiller would probably work best. Any pics of the grass?
I don't have any pictures of the grass but it is kind of like a tussock, very bumpy to drive a 4 wheeler through. I am planning to go up there tomorrow and I will get some pictures. You can actually see the bumps from the grass in the picture above, look how much smoother the grass is on the right side of the picture across the fence in the cattle pasture.
Renting a tiller may be a good Idea, I am not sure I really would use it that much, what I really want is a no till drill :)
I would reconsider the spray throw n cultipack method if it's working for you. Sandy soil and dry summers need as much organic matter as it can get. Tillage is a great way to destroy the mechanisms that build OM.
It sounds like Lovegrass. You might be best off burning the grass off before tilling. That way you won’t have as much problem breaking up the soil vs trying to incorporate the grass into it. What part of the state? Lots of Lovegrass in western Oklahoma.
If you have a lot of grass and debris, the tiller may get wrapped up, especially if it’s long grass. Disking and letting it lay to decompose a bit might work. The no-till drill would be best if you can get one. They are pretty pricey in my area.
I plan to use the Spray/throw /Pack method for the established plots as you suggest. I was able to use that method on a new plot I established last fall but that location had native grass and smilax so it was relatively easy to get seed to soil contact. This bunch grass is way thicker and I am thinking that I will not get good seed to soil contact, I am not sure how long it will take to decompose.
I am in south central Oklahoma just across the Red river northwest of Dallas/FortWorth
The no till drill would be the way to go but they are very expensive, just hoping to run into a good deal sometime.
You may want to burn then spray then no till,check with your local usda office they may have a no till to rent or maybe a farmer around there would do it
Although I have never burned that would be my suggestion. I will 2nd that a tiller can over work the soil. I like to lightly disk then plant and roll in. Of course get a soil sample before planting.
Like Troy said, sounds like love grass. We used to have lots of it in East Texas, you can barely walk through the stuff. I’ll second the spray, then burn too. If you can get a tiller, you don’t have to till any deeper than necessary to destroy the roots. A disc will do that too. I’d wait 10 days or so after a good gly treatment, that will rot the roots and make for better, easier tilling.
Wouldn't hurt to look around and see how the agriculture practice is in the area and have coffee at the quick stop to visit with the local farmers on recommendation. I had a plot around 600 yards long north of you on the south Canadian and didn't till very deep. Turns up sand with no value
The Ag around me is mostly Cattle, Hay , and Pecans. The cattle farmers plant winter wheat for grazing by discing the fields but they plant late October.
If you DO burn it off, be very cautious. Here in Iowa, burning off CRP is a relatively safe procedure. Not sure what conditions are like in South central Oklahoma, but I have a good rancher buddy in NW Oklahoma that burns his pastures off in the Spring, and things can get out of control in a hurry if not careful.
JB are you in the cross timbers limestone formation range ?
Here is what the grass looks like.
I am a little leery of burning, but early spring it can definitely be done.
I am in the Crosstimber region but I don't think its the limestone region, soils are sandy and acidic ( I am about 20 miles west of Marietta).
That’s definitely Lovegrass, John.
I am thinking that I can kill the love grass with glyphosate, then a couple of weeks later mow it. I don't want to plant until at least mid-September so if I kill the grass in the summer and mow it it may give it enough time to start breaking down. If there is too much ground cover I guess I could disc/till or drag it with drag harrow.
Can you disk a perimeter fire stop? That’s some really thick stuff that you are dealing with.
Bohunter09, I could disk a fire stop and burn it. They just had a control burn get away from them on a WMA not to far from me just this week.