November 9, 2001
Wildlife food plots are easy to plant. But, as many hunters will attest, it's often a nightmare getting a tractor and other necessary equipment around a slalom course of backwoods obstacles to where they're needed. For ease in planting food plots, a new plot-planting machine — “the Plotmaster” — may be the answer your hunting club is looking for.
One big draw is that the planter doesn't require a tractor to pull it. A Plotmaster can go pretty much anywhere a four-wheeler can take it. In most conditions, a 300-cubic centimeter four-wheeler (or 20-horsepower tractor) will work fine.
The “Plotmaster” is made in Wrightsville, Ga., by a large hunting outfitter named Woods and Water, that does a lot of wildlife management and leases.
“Woods and Water ran into the same food plot problems that many other Southern hunters do. We have all these little food plots — a quarter acre to one acre — that big equipment just can't reach. They decided to design something that could be pulled by a small tractor, truck or a four-wheeler. That's how they came up with the design of the Plotmaster,” says Steve Payne, a Senatobia, Miss., wildlife biologist who operates Southern Wildlife Management.
The Plotmaster uses regular disk gangs on the front that are fully adjustable to light, medium and heavy jobs. In that regard, it's just like having a typical larger disk.
Behind the disk gangs are the plow points that do the work.
“When they hit the ground, they bite into the soil and pull the machine down to do the digging. Some folks have had bad experiences with other small disks because they can't get enough weight on the disks to make them dig down. But these plow points allow the machine to work as well on new ground as it does on ground that's already been broken.”
The Plotmaster allows the option of using different size plow points — small, medium or large. For the large plow points, you might need more horsepower in your four-wheeler, “maybe a 400-cc or 500-cc ride. But for the small points, a 300 cc four-wheeler is the best thing,” says Payne.
Behind the plow points is a roll packer or drag on a 180-degree pivot so it can be shifted out of the way if not needed. To put it in the desired position you simply pull a pin and swing it up or down.
“If you're dealing with small seeds, the packer has down-pressure springs that make the roll packer work great. Roll-packing small seeds is the way to go. It gives the best seed-to-soil contact and allows the seed to come up much quicker than if you'd just thrown it on top of the ground.”
The drag is what's normally used for planting bigger seed such as wheat, oats or soybeans.
The Plotmaster also has a 3,500-pound jack that's fully electric. That lets the machine go up and down without a lot of work.
“It's got an on/off switch to the agitator inside the seed box. That keeps the seed moving and flowing at a constant rate.”
Payne has planted numerous food plots with the Plotmaster.
“It's an excellent product. If you're going to put in a food plot on ground that's never been worked before, you may need to burn or bush hog it. You need to get the grass out of the way. If the grass is extraordinarily bad, pull No. 2 or No. 4 plow points.”
On unbroken ground, it might take 45 minutes to plow an acre. If the ground has been broken before, it should take about 30 minutes per acre to re-plow. If you're just going in to lay seed down, it won't take 15 minutes to plant an acre.
“Say you want to just plant because the ground has already been broken up. You can pull two pins and move the plow points out of the way so they won't slow the four-wheeler down. In 15 minutes, you're through.”
There are numerous attachments for the Plotmaster. Among them: a roll basket, a harrow plow, a spray rig, a grain drill, and a grader plow for driveways.
“It's very adaptable. If you want to put in a row of soybeans or a garden plot, all you have to do is make an adjustment in the seed box. What I do is Duct-tape every other grate inside the box so the thing plants in rows.
“I've spoken with several other guys who have one. Most use them on big hunting clubs without a lot of equipment. Not every club has a tractor, but all have four-wheelers and want food plots around their hunting areas.”
Payne says a Plotmaster is ideal if you're into quail or turkey management. The National Wild Turkey Federation bought eight machines and Quail Unlimited bought about a dozen.
“These organizations needed something that works in small strips. They wanted to plant all the fire lines, all the field edges in milos and native grasses. This fits that bill, too.”
“Hunters and farmers want to know how it performs on new ground. I am asked that all the time. On new ground, hard ground that's never been worked before, this thing works fantastically. The plow points get in and bust up hard ground with no problem.”
Next March, Payne says, Woods and Water is introducing with a larger version of the Plotmaster. Made for 40-horsepower tractors, the larger machine will be a 7-foot model weighing about 1,500 pounds.
“By comparison, the current, smaller model weighs about 500 pounds dry. By the time you add all the water and seed, you might be pulling around 750 pounds.”
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