There are some seeds like rye grass (not cereal rye) that companies will sell because it’s super cheap and easy to plant providing a green “food” source. Even though green grass might look pretty in your plot, this is extremely low quality deer food. Some companies will put this kind of seed in a bag with a picture of a big buck on the front of the bag and uneducated people buy it. I have been a victim of this marketing trap when I grew my first food plot. My “food” plot looked really green and grew well, but in my many hours of hunting that season I never saw a deer take a bite of that “food” plot and neither did my trail camera. Deer just walked right through it.
You need to understand what you’re buying and the seed label is where you start. There is information on the label like weed seed and inert matter that should be understood before buying. Inert matter can sometimes be seed coating, which is like a powder on the seeds that help them germinate. Sometimes it’s not so cut and dry to understand what you are getting, but the percentages of each item in the bag is listed on the seed label, and that label will give you a good idea if it’s a quality product or not.
Don’t buy old seed because the odds of it germinating get worse and worse the older it gets.
No matter how good the product is, don’t buy it if it’s a few years old or more.
The times I ran into trouble with this is when I was buying seed from a local store. Sometimes these stores will stock seed in the back of the store that won’t hit the shelf until the following year. Try to buy your seed directly from the source when possible or buy it from stores that sell through a lot of inventory. This will help ensure you are getting fresh seed. As always, read the seed label and look for the date when the seed was tested.
My biggest mistake when it came to food plots was thinking I could get by without doing a soil test.
After my first food plot failure and reading more about soil tests and educating myself, I never skipped doing a soil test again and my results showed. There is nothing more frustrating than buying seed, putting in the work to plant it and the result being a food plot failure and waste of time and money. It’s already hard enough to get mother nature to cooperate with you to grow a successful food plot. Don’t skip a soil test.
Do the soil test and amend the soil with the suggested amount of lime and fertilizer. The soil test kits are cheap, so just do it and buy one. Here is the soil test kit I buy on Amazon.
Lastly, have a plan in place for site preparation. You need to make sure your area is going to be ready to plant when you need to plant it. This takes some planning and foresight. Check out my step by step no-till food plot rotation strategy to help put you in a position to grow a successful food plot.
For more information please see the list of Best fall deer food plot