It’s the time of year for planting spring food plots and one way to ensure a successful crop is proper seed bed preparation. Many planting failures can be attributed to poor seedling survival or lack of germination due to incorrect planting depth and poor seed bed prep.
“If you’re planting small seeds like clover, chicory, brassicas or alfalfa, it’s especially important to have the correct seed covering,” said Jesse Raley with Mossy Oak GameKeepers.
“These seeds only need to be covered with about a quarter-inch of soil. Many times when small seeds are broadcast onto a very finely disked and fluffy seed bed, even a moderately heavy rain can cause them to be buried too deep resulting in an uneven stand.”
Ideally, when planting smaller seeds, fields should be cultipacked after disking or tilling to firm the seed bed up. Seed can then be broadcast, and for the best seed-to-soil contact, fields can then be cultipacked again. This process creates a great environment for seedling survival by incorporating the seed at the proper depth.
Cultipacking also allows moisture to move through the soil profile properly and keeps moisture around the seed as it germinates. Leaving a seed bed un-packed and full of air space allows the soil to dry out much more rapidly and increases the chance of plot failure.
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