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archerystud

Food Plot Equipment

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I'm still putting in some late food plots this weekend in Southern MN. I would have preferred it would have been done earlier but that's another story.

I'm wondering what people are using for equipment. I have a "quadivator" to pull behind my Sportsman 500. It works but it is really hard on my wheeler.

So my dad and I are talking about picking up a small tractor. So my question is do we need a plow or will a small disc work up the dirt for rape, peas, clover, etc?

If you are using a tractor, what is the HP rating on the tractor?

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I would say a small plow is a necessity because lots of times you're starting with a sod layer. You can get by with mowing, hitting it with Round-up, and then discing but it takes many, many passes with the disc where one pass with a plow and and a couple of passes with the disc and you're ready to seed. In my mind bare minumum is a plow, disc, drag, and a mower. A sprayer is a plus. To be honest, I don't have a sprayer, I don't like messing with spray, I make up for it with many more passes with the disc and mower.

Size is relative to how many acres you'll be putting in and how much time you want to spend. If its only 3 one acre spots then you can get by with a 25 hp tractor. But if you decide to do a 6 acre corn plot, that 25 hp tractor will do it but it will take a while.

I'll warn you, food plotting gets to be addicting - just ask BLB - and you'll be 'finding' more spots to work up and then you'll be 'required' to upgrade to more power and bigger equipment. smilesmile In the last 15 years I've made the progression from a 25 hp Ford 9N, with a two bottom plow and single gang disc, to a 45 HP John Deere 1530 that would pull a 3 bottom plow and a 10 foot tandem disc, to a 70 hp Case IH JX75 with a mounted plow and 12 foot disc.

One hint on acquiring equipment is to place 'wanted to buy' ads in the local farm paper or coop paper. When I advertised for a planter I had 11 calls!! i've almost given up on auctions, you can spend hours standing around and then get outbid by someone. Also, once you get an idea on prices of equipment, it doesn't bother me to drop $250 on a plow because I know that after 3 years, if I don't like it, I can sell it for about the same price.

Good luck!!

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Hey BlackJack,

I'll say you progressed!!

I know it's gotten addicting already. I'll need to buy more seed from BLB next year!!!

I really bought my 4-wheeler for this purpose. Once the ground is broke the Quadivator seems to work well. I need to see how it works next year. I think if I break up the ground a bit in the Spring then I should be fine. I'll probably hire someone with a tractor to break up a little more new ground next year.

I'll probably only do about 5 acres tops but it was fun this past weekend. I also think I found a good speed to run my wheeler at cause it quit overheating on me.

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A plow is beneficial if you are turning sod.

If by chance you have any areas that have been tilled in the last year or two, then a disc will get the job done. It will take some passes, but will work.

If you are talking sod, a disc is going to take 40 passes to make it decent, and even at that you arent getting the rootbase worked up.

We have an Allis Chalmers D14 for one of our tractors. Its 37 hp I believe. We can pull a 2 bottom plow pretty easy with it. We also have a dual gang disc thats about 10ft wide. Again, works very good with that.

Our 4 row planter goes great behind it. Albeit, its a very stripped down planter. Only seed buckets. No fertilizer buckets or insecticide buckets. And we stripped off some other unneeded stuff on it.

Get yourself a boomless sprayer for that ATV. That will be invaluable for killing off stuff with some roundup. Especially if you are able to get some Roundup Ready corn or beans in the ground.

Now to get past that overheating problem, get rid of the Sportsman and get a real ATV. smile

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BLB,

That "real" ATV can't get everywhere I need it to without a chainsaw. smile

I'm planning on sticking to clover, rape, turnips, peas. We'll probably look into a tractor in the future but it sounds like we will need a little bigger one than we planned at first. At least it's nice to know for the future.

Hopefully we don't get a frost tonight!!

On a side note, my apple trees that I planted about 10 years ago are FINALLY starting to produce some apples out in the woods. Now in a few years if I get a few more apples dropping late in October that could be awesome.

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I do all my food plotting with an atv. My plots are in the woods where there's not enough room for a tractor. Over the years I've added to my food plots and now have about 2 acres in total. I have a mix of perennials and annuals so I don't need to work all the plots at the same time. Even so, the 2 acres isn't what takes the most time --- travel time and transporting my equipment between plot is what takes the most time.

I broke all my ground with a disc. It takes a long time with the disc at first, not only breaking the turf but working out the rocks and roots --- but I found an effective way to add weight to my disc and that makes a huge difference. I built a platform that sits on top of the disc and use bagged lime for weight.

After the first year or two of working a plot the discing goes 100 times quicker, and I usually don't need to add any extra weight to the disc for my existing plots. The disc only works the top 4-5 inches of soil, but that's the zone the roots grow in so I don't think it's an issue.

For a while I was having a problem with my atv overheating when I was discing. Turned out I had really fine silt caught in the screens and fins on the radiator (too much fun riding I guess). I sprayed it out with a low pressure garden hose and that solved the problem.

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The only thing I will add about an ATV and breaking new ground, is that breaking up ground in the woods is much easier than an actual field.

In the woods, there typically isnt really isnt a "sod" layer to speak of. There can be grasses and stuff, but you dont have that sod with a foot of root mass below ground like you do in an actual field area.

With that said, the ATV disc is going to fall very short of what you want it to do if you talking about larger open areas within the woods or field type areas for the plots.

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Agree. I had to break up one area that had legitimate turf and one other area that was really dry and hard-packed, and they were both a pain in the a$$. The only good thing about it was after getting it done the first time they have been much easier to disc every other time. But it took a long time to get them done at first.

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I've wondered about them atv disc's? I want a compact tractor with a tiller, but I've got an atv that will pull a small disc, just don't know that the disc would do the job? By the way.... did I miss out on a chance to rip on a polaris? laughlaugh

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Sad story. When I was first thinking about starting a food plot the group I hunt with was offered a free tractor with all the attachments. Of course I didn't hear about this until years later but it hurts just to think about it. We have managed with an ATV and a disk but I hate to think what could have been.

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ATV discs will work.

My guess is if you have any rocks or signifcant roots, a small tractor with a tiller isnt a very good option. If its clean ground, it would do better than a disc for sure.

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My ground used to be an old field so I haven't been hitting any rocks. However, breaking through the sod was next to impossible because of the lack of weight.

So we hired someone to break that ground initially. My other ground is in the woods and is much easier.

You can rip on Polaris all you want but my Sportsman hasn't had any problem hauling out bucks that dress out over 200! smile

Also mine isn't a disc but it's more like a cultivator. Google Quadivator if you want to see what it looks like.

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You can rip on Polaris all you want but my Sportsman hasn't had any problem hauling out bucks that dress out over 200!

Congrats on the big bucks! At least the popo will haul deer.

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And a very good hunch at that. A guy I just started working with just put $375 into his popo and still says there a great machine? crazy

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I have put in several food plots over the years. Some are in the woods, some are seeded trails, some are in the fields which are old CRP.

I have and need both ATV Equipment and Tractor Equipment.

ATV: You need 500CC or more

Kingquad 700, Grizzly 660 and 2 Sportsman 500's are what we run

We pull a flip over ATV disc from King Cutter sometimes with a sping tooth drag attached to it. This works well in the woods. It is small and we can get around if it is wet. If you get stuck you can winch out. Hooking the drag behind the Dick helps with down pressure and breaking up sod clumps faster.

In the field we run an International Farmall 560. Too small in my opinion. I would like to get something in the 100 hp with duals category for our field work. The 560 also site too high for going through the woods with the King Cutter brush mower.

We pull a 12' JD Disc and an old chisel plow with the 560. Then we drag with the ATVs' with spring and spike tooth drag sections.

Where most of us screw up is with timing. We go out and say..ok "Today we are putting food plots in"...Then you find that it takes 400 passes with a disck to get to dirt.

If you dont have a plow...spray and or burn. Hit it with the disc....let it sit and rot in the rain and sund and wind for about 2 weeks. Then drag it and hit it with the disc again. Draing it flat and you are golden.

Just planning ahead makes it easier.

This fall we are plowing for next years food plots. We broke the sod last week witht he chisel and disc. The partners were too anioux to burn...so..we we work it a few times this fall. You will be surprised at what that rain and wind will do to the sod clumps.

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