When to Plant a Food Plot
Ah, the age-old question, when should I be planting my food plot? The answer is easy when the conditions are right! Well, this was a short blog…
Just kidding, I’m sure you are wondering what conditions make it right?? Well first off, what I’m talking about will be spring planting after the threat of frost has passed in your area. How do you know when the last frost will be? Here is a helpful tool that gives you a calendar date to plan both spring and fall planting accordingly: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates
You want to avoid tender young plants that have recently emerged from getting a heavy frost as they could fail. You also don’t want to be planting so late that you miss out on the spring rain that most of the eastern half of the US will get each spring.
Another thing to consider for spring plantings such as for the Summer Crush and the CRUSH Pro Bean Blend, is soil temperature. Here in MN, we are well below the 10-year average in terms of soil temp, so we won’t be planting any summer food plots anytime soon. The target for these blends should be when soil temps reach 60 degrees at 9 AM in the morning.
Here is what a late spring looks like in terms of soil temps that we currently have here in Minnesota:
We are currently 13.7 degrees away from the 10-year average. Is this the start of global cooling?!? Looking out into my backyard which currently has 3-foot snow drifts heading into April is definitely depressing, but brighter days are ahead. The 10-day forecast already has a steady rise in temps approaching 50, and once the snow melts the soil temps will start making bigger gains.
Here is a utilization cage of CRUSH Pro Bean Blend from one of our test plots. The soybeans were planted in May with soil temps in the mid-60s and this pic is from late July. This field was heavily grazed, and we eventually planted Pro Brassica blend into the field in August.
Another natural cue I like to use for when to plant spring/summer plots is when dandelions start to bloom. Most people shudder at the sight of dandelions in their yards, but I don’t mind them. They are a great source of protein for wildlife and turkeys/deer love them. They typically bloom after any threat of frost and when warmer temps have arrived. They are also spread out across the entire US so anywhere you see a yellow dandelion flower, know that you can plant comfortably.
So, the point of this blog is to show you why you shouldn’t plant based solely on the date on a calendar. Is it late spring near you? Is it an abnormally abnormal year? What if it snows in May? (This has happened here before). The main point is not to plant based on a calendar date by itself. Look at forecasts and try to maximize when the 2 things are present that any seed needs: moisture and temperature. When those things line up, get out there and plant! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about food plots and timing. We look forward to helping you grow your best food plot and healthiest herd that you possibly can!