Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Troubleshooting Food Plots

Check for insect pests too. An infestation of cabbage worms could wipe out your entire crop of Brassicas in a matter of weeks or even days.

By Bob Humphrey

Having trouble with your food plots?  At the Quality Deer Management Association’s 5th Annual National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, well known deer research biologist Dr. Grant Woods gave some tips on trouble-shooting some of the more common food plot maladies.  Here’s a synopsis of what he had to say. 


This is usually an indication of pH that is too low.  If you didn’t test your soil; you should have.  Perhaps you didn’t put enough lime down, it’s been some time since you limed or the lime has filtered down through sandy soils.  Solution: Add more lime. 


Was your seed inoculated?  Here’s one area where folks often scrimp, and it ends up costing them in the long run.  If you buy wildlife seed, it comes inoculated.  If not, you’re going to have to do it yourself, at additional cost. 


Plants just aren’t growing?  There are many possible causes, but the most common is how you planted.  Folks often spread the seed then turn it into the soil, or seed over deeply rutted ground, then compact it.  You should smooth your soil, seed, then compact the soil. You want good seed-to-soil contact, but if you bury it too deep, it won’t germinate. 


Is your plot being taken over by weeds?  It’s most likely due to poor seedbed preparation.  Did you spray your plot with an herbicide before you planted?  If not, there was very likely an existing seed bed and root bed that even discing will not completely eliminate. Spray your plots, wait a couple weeks and then plant.