So often I see on social media a landowner having an issue with their food plot, and they ask the public for help. Many times, I cringe at the answers and that is understandable. People tend to like to give canned answers and subscribe to a one size fits all mentality. As a lifelong consultant my mind travels to another place and I try to get people to think about the process to give great answers versus just an answer.
Here is a list of questions I tend to ask the end user.
- What was planted previously?
- Can you provide me a recent soil sample showing soil cec numbers?
- What is your soil texture?
- What fertilizer or plant nutrients did you use and when were they applied?
- What was the soil moisture like through the growth phase?
- What was exactly planted for forages and at what levels?
- How deep did you plant?
- How did you plant? What equipment? How did you get the seed placed where you wanted it to be?
- Any foliar feeding?
- Was there insect or plant disease pressures?
With each answer to each question there could be another set of questions for each area. To effectively give a great answer there could be 20-30 questions asked and anything less may be just a random guess.
So, the point of this is some solutions are obvious and others are overlooked. Sometimes we need to take a step back and ponder what may be overlooked. For me, I can spot issues when my boots are on the ground but that is not always possible. Sometimes it is what you see and at other times it is what I am “not seeing” that is the reason for failure. I recommend people to write things down so if there is failure, a solution can be found. This is why I created a guidebook for food plotters to take notes and use to benchmark or to look at a history for a plot or plots. Be well and happy food plotting.