Chill The Till
There’s a lot of myths out there when it comes to deer food plots and the positives or negatives of tilling, or disking, the soil before planting. One side of this theory is some farmers, who are advocates of no-till and the buffalo system planting methods, will say “look at how well plants and trees grow in the middle of the woods or in the western great prairies...none of that soil gets disked and no tilling is done!” On the other hand, some believe tilling is killing, in the sense that this process of turning over the soil will prematurely kill any and all weeds before germination even begins. The reality of the situation is turning over the soil in the deer food plot prior to planting can allow old weed seeds from year’s past to have a fighting chance at beginning germination. There are weed seeds in the soil that could be as much as 50 or 60 years old, still alive and well, but didn’t have access to air in years past and thus, were unable to grow. By going through the process of tilling, these seeds get a chance to breathe and potentially sprout into major problems for the deer food plot they’ve been trying to establish in for perhaps decades. Air is critical, but so is the proper ground and moisture levels that these weed seeds may have never been able to achieve. By disking the soil, or simply turning it over, you disrupt the potential many layers of seed bank patiently waiting their chance to take over your deer food plot. With all of this being said, is tilling completely necessary to ensure great deer food plot growth? Absolutely not! Tilling is therapeutic but primarily overrated, which makes it even more interesting that there’s been this generation after generation debate about its advantages and disadvantages. If it’s a must to disk or till your soil, it’s important to wait two weeks after you do it then, spray the newly growing little hopeful seedlings with herbicide, and then plant your new deer food plot seed in the aftermath. (Please note that we only recommend tilling for correcting severe topographical issues!) Spraying and seeding can be done on the same day if using glyphosate herbicide (just allow spray to dry before seeding.) To give your deer food plot seed the best chance to grow to full potential and draw in the big bucks then, explore using the buffalo system, throw and grow or other no-till planting methods. Using these techniques will save you money, promote soil health and discourage soil erosion. At the end of the day, this will ensure that your food plots are pure and full of nothing but high-quality Crooked Bend deer food that your wild game will love. Do yourself, your herd and your earthworm population a favor and do not till your food plots this growing season! Don’t take that risk, skip the disc!