Deer hunters planning food plots should begin now by testing soil
The temps may be teetering in the single digits here in Illinois, but it’s the perfect time to start thinking about spring food plots. Regardless of your goals, you need a plan of action.
No matter where you live in the state, not all soil is created equal. The easiest yet most under-utilized tool is a soil test. A test cost less than 20 bucks, and considering the cost and time invested in your food plots, it’s a small price to pay to ensure maximum growth.
Here’s what a soil test will tell you:
PH: a scale with a range of 0-14 measures the acidity or alkaline level in the soil. The lower the number, the more acid is in the soil. This will provide you with vital information on how to obtain a desired PH level in turn helping you choose the right fertilizer and the amount. You can dump all the fertilizer you want onto the ground, but if the PH levels are less than favorable, the soil won’t be able to reap its maximum benefits.
Phosphorus, Potassium and Organic Matter: Knowing whether the levels of Phosphorus and Potassium are low or elevated will determine the proper fertilizer quotient. Every fertilizer label will have three numbers separated by dashes. Those numbers signify in order the three major nutrients essential for healthy plants; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The formula needed will be in direct correlation to the levels given in the soil analysis. As far as organic matter, it is what it is. Nothing can be done to alter it.
Don’t procrastinate. Proper timing is precious to achieve a nutrient rich food plot. As soon as the ground is thawed and mostly dried from the winter, get a kit from your local agriculture dealer or from plantbiologic.com and submit a sample.
You’ll be well on your way to giving the deer on your property some extra groceries they’ll appreciate!