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Prepping your Fields


When it comes time to plant, regardless of whether you are planting for doves, deer, turkeys or any other reason there are some basic practices that you need to undergo to make sure your fields are ready to plant.

It starts with location. Selecting a good location is sometimes not our opportunity. We are inheriting a field that was cleared sometimes decades before and this is where it is. Other times we have the opportunity to clear an area and select the location for our fields. When this is the case there are a few things to bear in mind.

The most important is the topography where the field is located. Certainly we should select an area as flat as possible.  But in many areas of the country that is just not possible. The terrain is too steep and not suitable for flat planting. In these cases, we want fields that will face to the southeast when possible and mostly south when we can. These directions will allow for the most sunshine to hit the fields and protect them in many cases from the harsh afternoon sun that tends to be much more damaging to the plants. The next and very crucial step in prepping your fields is to take soil samples. It continues to amaze me how many landowners do not take the time to get their soil sampled. For a few minutes and very few dollars we can get a report from a lab that will tell us exactly what this field has and what it is lacking in nutrients. This can save a ton of money in wasted fertilizer. Some fields only need some nitrogen while others are loaded with nitrogen and need some potassium. There is no way to know what the field is needing without taking a soil sample. For larger fields, getting samples from key areas of the field and mixing them together gives you the best sample. Most kits come with detailed instructions that make soil samples easier than you can imagine.

Lastly is deciding what you intend your field to be and how it will be used. As mentioned before, is it a dove field, deer field, turkey or will it be used for all of the above? This will determine from the onset what you will plant and when. Secondly it will determine stand locations and travel routes to and from the field.

Prepping a field for planting is as important as planting itself. If the field is not ready to plant, there will be a lot of frustration and wasted money in your future. Decide where your field, will be, send in soil samples and prepare to plant. The season is right around the corner its time now to get those crops in the ground.