Food Plot Screen Egyptian Wheat


Active Member
Hello everyone,

Thought I would share my 2012 progress with an Egyptian Wheat screen on our property.


Began process of planting the screen. Little info on this location. First photo was taken at the red arrow. There is 2.5 acres of Alfalfa (as noted in picture) farthest to the left. All the way to the right of photo is a county highway with quite a bit of traffic. The area just to the left of where first photo was taken is a thick bedding area.

Deer travel north and south along the fence row as seen in the photographs. The purpose of this screen is three fold. First to isolate the alfalfa from roadway traffic, secondly as a funnel to keep deer closer to the fence row leading to and from the plot, and third as a screen to allow easy access away from the keen eyes of bedded deer to enter and leave stand locations nearby.

This is a deer's eye view of the area as it was.

First to mow the strip for ease of tillage.

Now to till the area in question to begin preparing a seedbed.

I will update this as work progresses as it is finished!
I have to pick up some 13-13-13 and Urea. Got a little ahead of ourselves and should have broadcast them then tilled but hey, we were going with the flow!

Biggest decision to make now is should I just wait for growth and hit with Gly or use Atrazine. Having a commercial applicators license either are options but leaning towards the Atrazine.

Will be drilling the EW seeds ether way and shoot for the 4 pounds per acre mark.
Well I now have settled on my plan. At the end of the week, I will add amendments and lightly till them in. Follow that up with drilling my EW seeds. Then apply Atrazine over the top. Sure hope the weather man is right about a pretty good chance of rain here on Sunday and Monday. Really could use a good slow steady shower on our crops and the food plots!

Back at it today after catching up on some needed chores. I only had an hour to run out tonight but this is what I accomplished today. First thing needed for today is the power tools, check.

Next thing is the Pelletized Lime and 12-12-12 and Urea I picked up in town today, check-well I knew I was forgetting something. I forgot the Urea so had to call in a favor and have it dropped off. Good thing my brother had not left town yet! Just one of those days! And the hand tool portion is my bag spreader.

All amendments spread then tilled in. This strip was really covered in deer prints since the initial tillage. The purpose of this screen is to keep deer feeling secure in here, a little piece of belly rubbing good alfalfa.

Oh and one last tip, when using a bag spreader, don't forget to empty your pockets BEFORE you leave the plot. Found this in one pocket at home with just as much in the other pocket, oops.

Will be drilling the seed tomorrow. More photos to come.

Planting done, seed in ground, now if we can get some moisture.

Used the drill for this step. Here is the drill I use, a Great Plains 3P605NT

After running a calibration on my drill this is what I found out worked to get as close to the 4 pounds per acre that I wished to plant. These settings actually gave me a 4.5 pounds per acre which was close enough. Transmission speed 2 with seed gate set at 7 on my legume box. Make sure to calibrate your drill as this was way off from settings listed in my manual.

Now this gives you the warm fuzzy feeling

And checking the planted depth was just shy of 1 inch.

If you would like to watch a short video showing the drill in action - not a how to video you can check it out at
on my YouTube Channel. Go easy, this is the first video that I have made if you want to watch it.
Another mentionable tip I should bring to light when planting with this style drill. Consistency in seed depth is the ultimate goal. As you can tell from watching that short clip even though I have my coulters set for a depth of 1/2 inch, they are sinking in quite far. This will impact the planting depth and further adjustments of the packing wheel pressures are needed to tweak the planting depth.

This is due to the fluffiness of the tilled soil. Consistent seed depth can be hindered if all rows are not individually set to reach the desired depth. On the rows following patches of soil contact from tractor tires and in my case, the drill's drive wheel, I had to increase down pressure on the packing wheels trailing in areas outside these tire contact patches to adjust planting depth to different setting than those following the contact path, or tire tracks.

Probably the best solution, as far as planting with a no-till type drill in these conditions would be to cultipack the area prior to drilling your seed. While this step is not a necessity, it would help insure even planting depth across the width of your drill with minimal to no difference in planting depth. Planting seeds at a consistent depth across your drill width, and the field, will lead to emergence of seeds within a short time of each other.
5/23/12 Update

Drove out and checked the alfalfa today and looked at my Egyptian Wheat screen planting while I was there. Upon first look it appeared nothing was growing or happening. But upon closer inspection I noticed several barely visible little green stems beginning to sprout. Not tall enough to row yet but they are there in the furrows created by the drill non the less. If you look closely you can see two sprouts in this photo.

Just had to identify whether the seedlings were my EW emerging or some other type of grass growing. Of course the easiest way to ID the seed at this stage is to carefully dig up one of the seedlings and check for the attached seed. Well did that and this seedling is now positively identified as EW. Notice the green growth attached to the seed then the root structure.
Update 5/28/12

Checked on the EW screen today. Boy it is dry. Really we have not had a decent rain in quite a while. While visiting the plot today we got a very quick downpour that lasted all of 5 minutes. Well beggars can not be choosers I guess.

On with the pictures. Pulling up to the end of the screen you can definatly row the EW seedlings. There are some sections that are just now starting to erupt in seedlings. Believe this is due to the dry conditions. Anyway here is who the planting looks today


Here is a close up of some of the seedlings that are growing. You can see the plants are stressed due to the lack of moisture if you look closely.


I should point out that this area where the seedbed was made is full of deer tracks. Hope they don't go to munching on the new growth seedlings. So far it appears they are leaving them alone but only time will tell.
Update 06/02/12

Well had a little rain a couple days ago. It was so dry it has all soaked in but did give crops, and my garden, a much needed boost.

The EW is coming in nicely as I took this picture today.

And here is a close up showing seeding rate with a little something for size reference.
UPDATE 06/09/12

Sprayed the screen yesterday with Atrazine and went back today to take some pictures to share. Just not enough moisture to get the weeds growing (or in this case grass) so the area is pretty much still just the EW growing. Got to keep telling myself something positive should come out of the dry conditions

First is the overall appearance looking down the screen as planted. As you will see there are places that appear to have been skipped or for some reason the seed did not germinate very well in these areas. Was it seed depth? Was it bad seed? Was it the lack of moisture? Was it something else?


Here is a close up showing the size of the EW that you can see really well in the previous picture. If you look close to either side of my hat (if I attached the correct photo anyway) you will see what I also saw as well. New seedlings just starting! These seedlings are way behind those that emerged just a few days after planting. Guess that answers my question about the voids I have been watching. Believe I can contribute this to the lack of moisture. This area has only saw two showers since planting. One lasted all of 3 minutes and the other was a misty rain all day, less than 1/4 inch but beggars can't be choosers.


Guess I need to start taking a yard stick out to check heights.
UPDATE 06/24/12

After being gone all week on vacation last week and having a second good rain I was anxious to see how it went. Well I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I got out to look at it.

Here is what it looks like looking towards the road from the gateway to the Alfalfa.


Here is a view looking left next to the screen from the inside.


And looking to the right along a heavily used bedding area


And when looking at it from the end you see this with a ball cap for size comparison


May be a little thick but it is growing nicely with the two recent rains. In another week it should be tall enough to hide deer from view of the roadway as long as it keeps growing like it is! It is about chest high right now.

Got a pretty good kill with the Atrazine and the plot is still pretty clean. Looks like it has done it's job even with the EW being about 1 foot tall when I sprayed.
Update 6/29

40 days after planting the screen is up enough to effectively hide deer standing on the other side. Even with only approximately 2 inches of rain in 40 days the EW is reaching at 6 foot tall as of today. The grass has been cut and baled so I am going to share a few more pictures and will get some later in the season and leave this alone for a while.

View looking at the screen towards one major bedding area.


View showing the corridor that has been made by the EW Screen. Major bedding area to the right side.


View showing my truck parked in the travel corridor next to the screen.


And you may ask how thick does this stuff get or how much can it block from view? Well this 12 foot wide screen planted at 4.5 pounds per acre is pretty thick. Here is a view looking at my truck with it parked in the exact spot as the previous photo, but taken from the opposite side of the screen. Kinda hard to beat 40 days under anything but optimum growing conditions for an effective screen!


EW is a very good option for creating a screen or helping to move deer through open areas. While at the seedling stage I did notice a few nips here and there off the leaves but with all the deer in this particular area it should have been wiped out. The deer kept 2.5 acres of oats nipped down last fall just behind this screen where they were planted as a cover crop for my Alfalfa. it was not uncommon to see up to 30 deer enter the 2.5 acres almost nightly last fall during hunting season. 12 does and 1 150 inch buck were taken off this 160 acre tract last year. Several encounters with very nice bucks including one very close encounter with me and a very good mature buck in the 170 inch range. Hey it is hunting and even though I never got to settle the pin on that buck, even though he was at a mere 10 yards, I still have memories that will last a lifetime. Yep, I said 10 yards! Came in on the down wind side in the wide open from me. The tree trunk kept me from being able to draw on him. Hey it happens.
Update 07/07/12

Checked on the alfalfa today and just could not help be notice how tall the EW was.


And here is a photo showing from the truck side.


Noticed the bottoms are starting to dry out but no heads formed yet. Really need some rain to get the EW to reach even higher.
Update 7/26/12

Weather man just is not in my corner this year. Finally got a little rain today! Was out in it early this morning and you could walk around without getting wet.
Well at least it was some moisture! Maybe .3 inch but the biggest plus will be the break from the high temps. Beans and Alfalfa really looked good as they were drinking up all the moisture they could get. On to the EW.

In the last two days, the EW has begun putting on seed heads. My tractor is right at 9 feet tall and the EW is just a little taller so I will call the screen 10 feet tall. By no means has this been good growing conditions but I did get a couple of rains at key points for growth at least.

Will try to get a final pic this weekend! Then update with some pictures through the winter/early spring.
Update 08/23/12

The dry condition have been hard but this EW ended up doing fine. Here is a picture with the tractor and drill next to it. Top of cab is approximately 9 feet tall.


Weeds were controlled well with a single application of Atrazine.


And how the screen helps block off a once wide open spot. This screen shall provide a secure passage for deer even during daylight hours.


Looking forward to spending some time in a tree around here. Remember behind this screen is 2.5 acres of green Alfalfa.
Update: 9/01/12

Was an unwanted find checking cameras. Turned the corner and saw what was a beautiful screen


Now looked like this.


And checking back through the pictures found this is how it started.


This happened during the time we were getting the rains so looks like we got some wind also. This looks pretty bad but the deer are still using it and have even seen a few that appear to nibble at the downed seed heads. It is still tall enough to provide deer some security as they walk about and the small portion of the screen still upright still provides a good screen from the roadway.

I don't have a picture of it but the portion of the screen not bordered by timber is still standing strong.
Update 10/28/12

Been a while but stopped yesterday for a couple pictures. Some of the EW that went down did stand back up. Now the stocks have turned brown with very little green showing.

Here is an view as seen from the road side.


Here is a shot showing some that is still down.


And here is a close up view showing how it looks where still standing.

I took this photo on 1/21/13. We had very high winds within 2 weeks prior to this picture being taken. Adding 60 + MPH winds and stalks with stress from the drought ended up looking like this. Not really proud of the way it looks now but hey mother nature is not always on our side. It did get us through most of the year looking pretty well.


All in all, it has done as it should. It provided a visual barrier within a relatively short growing time. Deer adapted quickly to the new screen and traveled behind it away from the roadway and passerby's unwanted eyes. Lots of daytime photos from early season from the alfalfa field protected by the screen with even some deer seen near mid day in 90 degree weather.

I have received several questions, from people who I personally know, that travel this road almost daily. Some just asked what I had planted back there (guess they were used to watching that field for deer) . Had several ask if I planted corn in the back of the field. Good to get feedback from locals that gives the appearance of the screen working.
Small, would you plant it again? I worry about how easily it knocked down. I'm assuming a foot of snow would flatten it. Thoughts?
Small, would you plant it again? I worry about how easily it knocked down. I'm assuming a foot of snow would flatten it. Thoughts?

Yea just realize this is a short term solution to a long term problem. Most of the season it stood and functioned excellent. If I planted again I would lighten up on seeding rate some as I believe my figures were off on pounds planted per acre.

Even when the screen flattened there was plenty of vertical cover left to keep deer feeling hidden. Over the winter it began breaking down which is adding OM back to the soil and beginning to lessen the work I would need to do the following year.

Long term one is better off planting fast growing trees and shrubs.