What should I plant?
This certainly is a loaded question, and I really need more information on the goals of the individual, the layout of the property and surrounding properties, and if the landowner has other food plots on the property. If the landowner’s goals are simply to establish some plots to hunt over, especially during the gun firearm season, I might suggest they plant the ANTLER KING HONEY HOLE, or RED ZONE. If the landowner, has goals to manage his property to grow, keep, and ultimately harvest mature bucks on this parcel, then the planting picture will look much different. With this goal in mind, I know that we need to create a “year around” food plot program with the ultimate goal to always have food available for the deer herd on this property. Simply put, I never want them to run out of highly nutritious food because I know that if they run out of food, they will leave this property to look for food sources.
Your goal should be to have a minimum of 5-10% of your property in food plots. With normal deer densities if you have less than 5% of your property in food plots, chances are very good that you will run out of food for your deer herd by fall. And, once you are out of food, goodbye to your deer. I really urge landowners to shoot for 10% of their property in food plots, so if you own 120 acres, shoot for a total of 12 acres in food plots.
Why do I need to take a soil test and what is the most important part of the soil test?
A soil test will give you the current state of nutrients in the soil that you plan on using for a food plot. For example you may find out that you need little if any fertilizer. By far the most important component of the soil test is the ph level of the soil. The ph level in the soil will indicate the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. For the most part, everything that we want to plant for deer will grow the best at a neutral ph of 7.0, so that should be your goal when testing your soil?S ph and deciding how much lime to add to raise the ph level, add enough lime to raise that plot'S ph to 7.0. The ph is really the environment that the plant(s) has to live in. Many of the plants we want to grow for deer simply cannot germinate and thrive in low ph soils. To make this very simple, correcting the ph is as important to these plants as having oxygen available for us. Simply put, if we don'T have oxygen available to breathe, we will die-so, if you plant species that need a relatively high ph level in order to grow, and you ignore testing the soil for the ph level and try planting and get poor or no results, it could certainly be that the ph is too low for these plants.
I don't think that I have to test my soil because i have good black dirt.
The color of the soil is not necessarily the indication of a low or high ph level. You need to test!
I am going to be planting on a plot that the farmer had planted to corn last year, and the corn grew well so i don't think I need to check the ph.
Yes, you do need to check the ph-many crops that farmers plant (such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and rye) can grow in low ph soils, whereas clovers and other legumes we want to plant for deer need a high ph.
I put down plenty of fertilizer, so I don't need to check my ph and worry about putting down any lime.
Wrong-fertilizer is plant food and will not raise the ph level of the soil-in fact if your ph is not at a 7.0, much of the fertilizer cannot be used by the plants and is wasted. With the drastic increase in fertilizer prices, take the time and effort to test your soil and apply the proper amount of lime.
How much lime do I need to add, how often do I need to spread lime, and can I just spread it on top of the soil without discing it into the ground?
Your ph test will tell you how much lime to add. Be prepared to add several tons of lime. Generally it will take several tons per acre of lime to raise the ph-generally once you spread the proper amount of lime to raise the ph to a 7.0, you may not have to add lime again for 5 years or more and then it will probably not be as much as you had to add initially. Lime needs to be disced or tilled into the ground. Lime setting on top of the ground can blow away or take virtually forever to wash into the soil and raise the ph.
How do I check my ph?
You can submit a soil sample to a fertilizer plant who in turn will send it in to a laboratory. Be prepared to wait a couple weeks to get the results, or you can use an instant ph soil test kit from Antler King. These kits allow you to test 4 different plots and it is a "Do it yourself." Within 20 painless minutes, you will know the ph level of your plots and most importantly, it will also give you the amount of lime you need to add to these plots.
What is PLOT MAX? Is it a type of liquid fertilizer?
PLOT MAX is not a liquid fertilizer but a product that “amends or conditions” the soil. It interacts in the soil whereas liquid foliar fed fertilizers must be absorbed through the plant’s stem and leaves. PLOT MAX is in essence a soil “tune-up” that allows your soil to function at its greatest ability to produce forage. PLOT MAX raises the pH in the soil, raises Organic Matter, and allows for maximum aeration of the soil so that PLOT MAX helps “wet spots” in fields drain and dry fields retain moisture. Simply put, PLOT MAX is a must for someone that wants to raise the most succulent forage on their plots.
What should I look for as far as ingredients in a DEER MINERAL?
Minerals work together like spokes on the wheel of a bicycle tire. If a spoke gets “out of whack” the tire wobbles. A good example is the way calcium and phosphorus interact. Before any calcium can be transformed into antler growth or bone development, enough phosphorus needs to be present in a deer’s diet AND before these two can interact, enough vitamin D has to be present in the deer’s diet. Today, there are many “deer minerals” on the market that have a high level of salt and perhaps a significant level of calcium but low or virtually no phosphorus. Calcium and salt are very inexpensive whereas PHOSPHORUS is the most expensive element in a bag of mineral. Look for a balanced deer mineral that has been SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED for deer and elk. It should contain less than 30% salt and at least 6% PHOSPHORUS along with other major minerals such as sulfur, magnesium, potassium, and all trace minerals including zinc, copper, selenium, and Vitamins A, D, and E.
I know you suggest planting 5-10% of your property in food plots, but I cannot. I will only have a total of around 1% and it will be in a couple of smaller plots that will each be about 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre each. Historically, the deer have my plots pretty well eaten by early fall. Is there anything I can do?
When you are limited in acreage that you can plant, then you must really work on maximizing the tons of forage you can produce on each of your plots. Here is what you can do to MAXIMIZE tons of forage. 1. Check your pH and apply enough lime to bring the pH up to a 7.0. When you do, you will get 100% usage of the fertilizer you have put down for the plants. 2. Properly till up the soil by loosening up the top 6-8 inches of top soil. By doing this, you will allow more plants to germinate and develop a strong vigorous root system. 3. Use Antler King’s PLOT MAX prior to planting AND again in the late summer. This will “condition” the soil by raising the pH , increasing organic matter , and aerating the soil. 4. Use Antler King’s JOLT FOLIAR FERTILIZER anytime after the plants in the plot are at least 3 inches tall. We suggest applying JOLT every 3-4 weeks and apply it right up until the first frost. In one test last summer, we were achieving 6 inches more growth on RED ZONE 3 weeks after we applied the 1st application of JOLT. 6 inches more growth over an acre is a lot of additional forage! JOLT is so economical and easy to apply. I don’t have to worry if it is going to rain as I would have to when using granular fertilizer, I just spray every 3-4 weeks and this application will “feed” the plants with nutrient rich food and allow them to produce more forage!
When should I plant RED ZONE?
Depending on where you live, RED ZONE can be planted anytime May through August. On the late summer plantings, make sure you plant at least 60 days before the 1st expected frost. Incidentally, we have had fantastic results “stagger” planting RED ZONE. For example, lets say I have a 2 acre field. We will plant a 1/2 acre RED ZONE in May, then another 1/2 acre of RED ZONE in June, another 1/2 acre in July, and the last 1/2 acre in August. In that 2 acre field, we will have 24 plants in all different stages of maturity.
What is the best way to plant RED ZONE? Drill it or broadcast and cover?
I would say that a drill is the most effective, but if you do not have a drill, broadcast after tilling and then drag or lightly disc it in then visually inspect the field. The RED ZONE seeds are quite large and if they are NOT covered, you run the risk of losing a lot of the seeds to turkeys, crows etc. Make sure these seeds are less than 1 inch deep. If you can manually set the depth of your drag or disc, I like to run the tines of the drag or blades of the disc about 1/2 inch to an inch deep in the plot and this will generally cover the seeds but not bury them too deep. Finally, if a cultipacker is available, I will finish with a cultipacker.
How often should I mow my MINI-MAX and TROPHY CLOVER MIX and how close should I mow it to the ground?
I would suggest mowing these 2 perennial mixes 2-3 times per year. Mow when you start seeing flowers on the clover plants or when the plants reach a height of 18 inches. Mow the plants back to a height of about 8-10 inches. This type of mowing program will allow for maximum protein levels and generally will not leave enough excess mowed plants laying in the plot to shade out the recently mowed plants. I would definitely suggest an application of PLOT MAX going into the fall and as many applications of JOLT based on your desired growth expectations.
What is ULTRA COAT ORANGE and why do you use it on some of your seed mixes?
ULTRA COAT ORANGE is a "fertilizer type coating" whereby each seed is individually coated with this proprietary fertilizer. For many years, we would use "non-coated" clovers/chicory/brassica and alfalfa varieties and would have about 25% of those seeds actually surviving and making a mature plant. Today, with ULTRA COAT ORANGE seed, we get closer to 50-60% livability of the seeds we plant. After planting, moisture will loosen up the coating and then the seed will have access to moisture AND immediate food (from the ULTRA COAT ORANGE) , allowing an almost perfect environment for the young seeds to sprout and thrive.
What is Inert Matter? I see it listed on some of your seed mixes.
INERT MATTER is actually a term for our ULTRA COAT ORANGE. Some companies that choose not to go to the added expense of coating their seed will say that coated seed is just adding a "filler" to the bag of seed. We choose to add the expense of ULTRA COAT ORANGE to our small seed blends simply for performance. My goal is to get as many plants established as possible and with ULTRA COAT ORANGE, we can get 50-60% live plants vs around 25% with non-coated seed.
How soon in the spring can I spray Roundup and how long do I have to wait after I spray Roundup before I can start tilling the soil?
The # 1 thing to remember and consider when applying Roundup is that it is a "contact killer" in that the Roundup will in theory kill ALL plants that it is sprayed on. So it is important to make sure you wait until ALL the weeds have emerged in the spring BEFORE you spray roundup or other "contact killers." If you get anxious and spray Roundup right away in the spring before many weeds have emerged, you will NOT kill those weeds that are not above ground and growing and will have to deal with them later in your plots. When we use Roundup on new plots, we put ANTLER KING'S PLOT MAX in the same tank as the Roundup and with one pass, we apply the PLOT MAX and also apply the ROUNDUP and kill the existing weeds. Remember that ANTLER KING'S JOLT FOLIAR FERTILIZER can be mixed with Roundup also, so if you are spraying Roundup ready corn or soybeans, you may tank mix the JOLT and Roundup together and in one pass, kill the weeds and fertilize the desirable corn or soybean plants!
Wait 5 to 7 days after spraying roundup before starting to till up the plots.
Can I mix PLOT MAX and JOLT with chemicals and make 1 pass on my plot vs. making several trips spraying my plot?
ABSOLUTELY! Both PLOT MAX and JOLT can be put in the same tank as chemicals and sprayed on your plot by making one pass. For example, on new plots where we use Roundup, we will put PLOT MAX and roundup in the same tank and with one pass, put down the PLOT MAX and kill the weeds with roundup. On the same token, if we spray an existing plot for weeds, we will put JOLT in the same tank and with 1 trip around the plot, we can kill the weeds with the chemical and Fertilize the target plants with JOLT!
I want to grow, hold, attract, and keep deer on my property year around. Is it possible to do this and what type of program would you recommend?
One very simple and economical way to positively influence antler growth and overall health of the deer herd is to use a QUALITY Deer Mineral. A quality formulated deer mineral alone will produce noticeable results in antler growth in the first year of use.
When looking at products on the market that claim they will grow antlers, it is important to know what is really necessary to grow antlers. Protein, Energy, and Minerals, and Vitamins are really the key elements in Antler growth. Although SALT is a mineral , it WILL NOT GROW ANTLERS.
The most important (and the most expensive ) mineral in antler growth is PHOSPHORUS. In Fact, before any Calcium can be used by a buck for antler growth, an adequate level of Phosphorus HAS to be present in that deer’s diet. And before Calcium and Phosphorus can interact, enough vitamin D has to be present in that animal’s diet. Minerals and Vitamins work together very closely and their interaction is extremely important.
The 5 major minerals ALL play a key role in Antler growth as do the trace minerals and vitamins. As an example, not only is the trace mineral copper important for antler growth and tissue health, but some scientists believe that a lack of copper in a deer’s diet may lead to a higher incidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Be sure to shop wisely when looking for a Quality Deer Mineral. I have seen a bucket of mineral manufactured in Michigan that has 70% salt and NO phosphorus, another mineral supplement from Alabama that has 50% salt and 4% phosphorus, and a rock from the Western States that contains 99% salt and NO phosphorus.
I have also talked to guys that “mix” their own deer mineral. When I have asked them as to how they have came up with their mix, they cannot explain…..they simply say they take some salt and Dicalcium Phosphate and mix the 2 together. AT what ratio? any trace minerals? any vitamins especially Vitamin D? any Copper? Selenium? Magnesium ? Potassium? I could go on and on. I have asked these guys if they have a dog. Most if not all do have a dog. I ask them if they “make” their own dog food……they chuckle and say NO, because they do not know anything about dog nutrition, or the nutrients or ratio of nutrients important for canines to be healthy and perform at their maximum level. Although they do not have any more background in Deer or Elk nutrition, they choose to cut corners and “mix” their own deer mineral.
Antler King’s Trophy Deer Mineral contains approx. 22% salt, 8.5% Phosphorus, and a total of 27 different Antler Growing major minerals, trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and a yeast culture that stimulates digestion and allows for more efficient use of Protein and Energy for maximum Antler Growth. ANTLER KING’S TROPHY DEER MINERAL alone will lead to BIGGER BUCKS AND HEALTHIER DEER in the most economical and easiest way. Growing tomorrow’s Trophy starts Today.
The 2nd step in a feeding program would be to offer our HI PROTEIN BIG BUCK BLOCKS, and ENERGY PLUS WILDLIFE BLOCKS. These 2 blocks are both Antler Growing blocks. These 2 blocks will provide the deer herd the PROTEIN and ENERGY for maximum Antler growth and body growth. Both blocks have the nutrients necessary for antler growth, namely PROTEIN, ENERGY , MINERALS AND VITAMINS. Although both of these blocks contain minerals and vitamins, they are at a much lesser density than our TROPHY DEER MINERAL. The main focus of the 2 blocks are to offer the deer herd the PROTEIN and ENERGY they need for maximum health and ANTLER and BODY GROWTH. The HI PROTEIN BIG BUCK BLOCK contains 20% protein , minerals, vitamins and very little salt. The ENERGY PLUS BLOCK contains 16% protein and approximately 5 times the Energy of any other deer block on the market along with vitamins and minerals and virtually no salt.
Offer your deer access to these 3 products on a year around basis and this will constitute the most economical, least time consuming, and yet results oriented program available period!
What can I spray on my perennial ANTLER KING food plots to kill unwanted grasses?
Poast or Poast Plus can be applied to the food plots to remove unwanted grasses from existing food plots. To make the process better, JOLT or PLOTMAX can be added to the mix this allows the poast grass killer to remove the unwanted grasses and also fertilize your food plot and add nutrients to the soil.