Give Your Plots a Boost

By Dan Eastman

 Hunters are continually bombarded with how-to basics on food plot development and product selection. Unfortunately, less information is available to take you to the next level — after your plot is established. Along with proper soil preparation, lime, fertilizer, mowing and grass and weed control, there is more you can do to produce exceptional food plots.

Today, we have come a long way from our initial food plot projects just to attract deer. Now, we think more like a dairy farmer maintaining a herd. Every step we take requires serious consideration about the nutritional and environmental impact it will have on the local deer. In our first years of plantings, we were happy to get the product to grow and were happy to see that the deer really liked what we planted. As we became addicted to food plots and what they did, we found more of our time was dedicated to researching forage nutrition. Much of what we learned came from agricultural literature designed for farmers.

Did you know that a farmer knows that the first cut has the most nutrition and that if a crop grows past a certain number of days you lose a percentage point a day in protein for some types of vegetation? As a food plot manager, this information is useful. Regular mowing is a key to keeping the new growth that maintains the highest nutritional value for the animals (mowing also helps control grass and weed problems). Frequent applications of Impact — a high-nutrient liquid plant growth stimulant — provides you with exceptional growth and healthier plots. We generally apply Impact twice a year on a plot — once in the spring and again mid to late summer. Impact also helps us in Vermont with our very short growing season (60 to 70 days). Frequently, we will apply Impact to a Secret Spot patch or to a plot cut late in the summer so there will be more forage when the deer need it in the fall. This past fall we saw plots grow six inches in two weeks with an application of Impact. Why does Impact create such an incredible growth response in plants? The secret is in the way the plant absorbs the nutrients. Unlike fertilizer, Impact is applied onto the leaves as a liquid and not dispersed on the ground in pellet form. The liquid form on the foliage is instantly absorbed and utilized. Also foliar applications (spraying) don’t require the soil pH to be optimal for Impact to be utilized, although proper pH is always preferred. Here are some of the common questions I have been asked about Impact:

Q:  Is Impact the same as what I can by at a local coop?

A:  Impact isn’t your off-the-shelf liquid fertilizer. It is a specially blended plant growth stimulant that makes anything green and growing more healthy and nutritious.

Q:  Even the wees in my plot are bigger since I sprayed Impact. Why?

A:  Impact works the same on any plant, so plots with weed problems may become overtaken. In this situation, you may not want to use Impact until you get the weeds under control.

Q:  Can I use Impact on native vegetation?

A: Yes, I often recommend this when there is little natural vegetation around a food plot. Experience has shown that a 20 to 50 foot buffer zone around a food plot makes the plot more desirable. Impact makes vegetation grow faster and be more nutritious. So let’s summarize. Why should you start using Impact? Better quality food, higher yields and bragging rights. Remember, higher quality food means bigger antlers, heavier body weight and better tasting venison because of the marbling throughout the meat, making old mossy horns taste great while providing an exceptional mantel piece.