As land managers, we're all looking to maximize our available time in the field for optimal productivity and results.
Years ago as a city boy just learning the planting ropes, I received some valuable advice from a seasoned farmer who was mentoring me: "You can't cram on a farm."
Internalizing that axiom has served me well, as it's natural law and irrefutable truth, but I've also learned through trial and much error of a few tricks that can help speed the process along — while also delivering great results.
A recent example is the addition of a couple liquid products from DeerGro into my planting regimen.
Let's look first at PlotStart. It's been said a million times in every article we read, but all planning begins with a soil test. Typically, the next thing to do is lime and fertilize, but let's focus on adjusting PH.
For land managers who leave standing crops for wildlife over winter or because of CRP contract requirements, it can become a real rush not only to mow and incorporate all the previous decaying plant matter in early spring, but there is also an impact on the immediate effectiveness of lime applied in the spring.
A commercial farmer typically spreads lime — by the tons — in the fall so it can be assimilated over time and impact PH. This also requires specialized spreading equipment, either borrowed, rented or purchased, to handle that job.
Liquid PlotStart, normally applied at 2.5 gallons per acre with any spraying device, shortcuts all that process, labor and time required and potentially has more benefits for both plants and wildlife consuming them.
Said best from the DeerGro website, "The goal of lime is to provide calcium into the soil, which is not only a critical nutrient to plant growth, but more known for its effect in neutralizing pH. PlotStart provides instantly soluble and available calcium, making calcium readily available to plants, beginning the altering of pH of the soil right away, and 'freeing' up bound calcium particles already in the soil. Traditional lime can take months if not years to apply its full effect, whereas PlotStart works in a matter of weeks. Liquid lime is an alternative but must be added every growing season. PlotStart has been shown to continue to contribute year after year."
While I can't comment on the impact to soil PH in subsequent years after first application (since this is the first year I used PlotStart), I can tell you that post planting soil tests confirmed its PH adjusting powers, and most importantly, I experienced vigorous bean and corn growth right out of the gate and through the growing season, in spite of below average June rainfall in my region of central Illinois.
As importantly, it saved the hassle and expense of renting a lime cart to spread tons of lime, into a simple job of just adding 2.5 gallons of PlotStart into my regular ATV sprayer per acre of ground treated. I saved both money — and time — and experienced great plant health and growth, as evidenced in my early-August, chest-high Real World soybean plots.
To be fair, I also accelerated the growing process with DeerGro's PlotBoost product: "a spray for use on food plots, crops, vegetables, trees, and lawns. Developed by an American company that is a 30-year veteran of the agricultural industry, PlotBoost's unique mix of complex carbohydrates, amino acids, and micronutrients not found in traditional fertilizers allow your plantings to reach their maximum potential. Made in the U.S.A., PlotBoost affects both the plant and the immediate soil environment to maximize effectiveness."
PlotBoost is applied at 32 ounces per acre, and can be mixed with glyphosate, so when you spray your beans or corn, you can also feed them for optimal growth at the same time. One of the meaningful benefits to including PlotBoost in your Round-up ready bean treatments in particular is the reduction or elimination of yellowing and burning after spraying, which after adjusting my glyphosate rate with help from Jeremy Flinn at DeerGro, worked like a charm. Again, in spite of below-average June rainfall — my late-July beans were the healthiest and tallest I'd ever grown.
PlotBoost works by dramatically improving fertilizer uptake and use by your food plots, which can allow you to use less fertilizer annually because your plants can absorb more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It also helps plants withstand harsh environmental conditions like drought, disease and insects.
If you're looking to speed up your fall and spring planting process and get explosive, healthy plant growth with optimal nutritional value for your deer herd, go to DeerGro.com and see how they can not only save you time but also improve your planting results.