Soil preparation is tough if you do not have access to the right equipment. Breaking ground on new areas can be a daunting task, especially if there’s an existing sod layer. Minimal equipment can tackle spraying and planting somewhat easily but tilling ground requires much more horsepower. For your sake, I at least hope you have access to an ATV and disc. If there ever was a time to contact a local farmer or call in a favor, it is now!
Soil Preparation Can Be Daunting
Here are some ideas to help you choose the right equipment food plot soil preparation.
Lighter or Torch
You can use a lighter or a weed torch. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to not only rid the area of foliage and debris but expose the soil. Of course extreme caution is required. You will also need to check with the local fire marshal to see if you need a burn permit. Plant immediately after burning and rake the seed in to obtain the best seed to soil contact.
Garden tillers work but I can speak from experience when I say you’ll be sweating your butt off. This is not recommended for anything over 1/10th of an acre. Then again, you have to use what you have available. Do not go out and buy a rototiller. Only use this option if you already have one in the shed or access to one. For the most part push tillers do well on previously worked ground but if there is any type of sod layer it is a struggle.
This option will likely be harder than you think. It is certainly doable. ATV pull behind discs just do not have the weight required to till new ground effectively. They do work great for sandy soils or previously worked ground. Ground Hog Max uses the weight of the ATV and driver to really dig in. Although I have no personal experience using this, some of my friends do. It seems like the most effective ATV implement to work up new and old ground. Not to mention it’s a whole lot easier to transport. It will cost you about $400 for the kit.
The best tool for working up soil is a tractor. Especially if your plot is over an acre in size. There are a variety of implements to use on a tractor so we will touch on a few.
- PTO Rototiller – This may be the best tool for breaking up a sod layer and preparing a seed bed. Not only does it turn the soil but it mixes and mulches the vegetation into the soil. Not to mention it breaks up the clumps so you have a well prepped seed bed.
- Disc harrow – An implement like this is very heavy and will dig in and rip the soil up. Of course you will need the help of a decently sized tractor.
- No-Till Drill – You won’t need to work up the soil if you have access to a no-till drill. Since it’s really a planting device, we will talk more about it later.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can usually visit an equipment rental store in your area. They have just about everything you need. Costs are reasonable and you do not have the maintenance fees either.
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