Retaining Moisture in Food Plots

Discussion in 'Quality Deer Management' started by firehog, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Not having the no-till drill options, I was wondering if anyone has ever scattered hay over your plots to retain moisture longer? I have a few plots on top of ridges that seem to dry out within a day of rain. For the most part I planted corn in these plots and keep the weeds at bay. This year I planted sunflowers and johnson grass took it over. So I bush hogged it all down and left a good amount of clippings on top. I came back and disked it up. Now for this areas that had high clippings I think I will do good in those areas keeping poisture. But other areas didn't have has much clippings and was thinking of sowing seed and scattering hay on top and cultipack it down. I'm not talking about thick layer but just enogh to cover bare dirt.
  2. hawgpharm

    hawgpharm Well-Known Member

    I think it could help, but you may also get some unwanted seed in the hay. Have you looked at the "throw and mow" plantings that some are doing? It is the same concept as what you are talking about but you use the vegetation that is growing instead of hay.

  3. No I haven't. I'll check it out.
  4. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    If you have already disked, it my be too late for throw and mow - but the idea behind throw and mow is to seed into the stand vegetation that is currently there, then mow it down after seeding and the mowed vegetation acts to hold moisture - like the hay you are thinking about using.
  5. Ok gotcha. But yes I have already disked. I mainly want to help my radish and turnips as much as I can and I've never tried putting hay or straw over it. Wheat and oats I can go back and broadcast over. Which I'll probably end up doing anyways if it drys out in sept or oct.
  6. I ended up testing about a half acre. I had 6 old square bales of hay and just put a nice layer out. Don't know if you can tell or not, but that area is much thicker. ImageUploadedByArkansas Hunting1505271867.878585.jpg ImageUploadedByArkansas Hunting1505271899.302835.jpg
  7. dogdoc

    dogdoc Well-Known Member

    No tilling definitely is a great practice.

    If no till isn't an option your next best bet is cultipacking. Compressing the top couple inches will help some.

    No way would I top dress with hay or straw that would just introduce tons of weed seed that I don't want. However, if you're able to get clean (weed free) wheat straw that might be a decent too dressing that won't re-seed.

    Personally though I think you'd be better off to choose your plot type wisely. Some things are just better in dryer conditions. Also, make sure ph and fertilizer are covered well so that the greens grow well when they do have adequate moisture.

    Food plot planning can certainly be challenging.
    orangefeetdown and bullcreekboy like this.
  8. Dogdoc, I certainly thought about the weed seed being introduced. I think I had 3 bales that were straw and 3 hay, and they were about 4 years old so I kinda hoped the seed from the hay would be dead. And if not, I'll just spray it next year. This is actually a new dozed out plot and I've been spraying it all summer to try to kill the regrowth sweetgum trees.
  9. Lt Gibson

    Lt Gibson Well-Known Member

    Plant some places I do. BLHW plots are better for ducks than deer lol.
  10. Lt Gibson

    Lt Gibson Well-Known Member

    What did you spray?
  11. I haven't had to spray due to seed from the hay bales. But on this plot, in particular, it is a new plot so I've been battling gumball tree's all summer and just misc weeds. I sprayed on a two-week schedule of spot spraying about all summer and I just about have all the small tree's killed. I sprayed a generic roundup and 24D with chemical oil.
  12. browning_gold_12

    browning_gold_12 Moderator<br>Deer Hunting<br>Trail Cameras<br>'07

  13. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

  14. Punkinseed

    Punkinseed Well-Known Member

    Se ark
    I love when the tv hunters pull up on these and say they just been out food plottin
  15. Lt Gibson

    Lt Gibson Well-Known Member

    Why you hate people so much?
  16. Punkinseed

    Punkinseed Well-Known Member

    Se ark
  17. matt_jones105

    matt_jones105 Well-Known Member

    That’s no joke. When you work on a good plot your supposed to have to work on your tractor and overhaul it for 3 hours before you actually get to use it. Then about halfway through something else is probably gonna tear up
  18. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Is there any other way?
    matt_jones105 likes this.
  19. claytonsdad

    claytonsdad Well-Known Member

    I thought that was the way everybody did it until I saw all the TV stars with their rigs.