Throw and go, NO?


Active Member
I was reading an article in August 2016 diy special of North America Whitetail titled "Good Plotkeeping" by Dr. James C. Kroll, he had an interesting opinon. I know alot of guys especially CnC would beg to differ, or maybe I am missing context but I don't believe so, "Unfortunately, some folks think if you broadcast seed over unbroken ground, somehow a perfect food plot will appear! If all you do is spread seed over a weedy field, you might as well scatter your money instead. The only exception I've seen my career is that some varieties of clover can be top-seeded over the ground, provided the competing vegetation first is killed of with herbicide. Even then you run the danger of early germination after a light rain, followed by seeding death if several dry days immediately follow." Is this one of the QDMA's experts?
I think it may take several plantings to get a firm stand mostly monocultural of a wildlife forage. But the benefit of the soil not getting turned may make it worth the while.
I have done, spray, throw, and mow plots in the past in some places I have had no other options on. The problems I run into is that I have to use way more seed than I would like to get a fair at best plot. If I can get a disk to work I would much rather lightly disk and then throw seed and drag but in some of the rock pile (literally) I plant in a disk or tiller is absolutely worthless...
Timing it before a rain. The seed size. The amount of thatch you can lay down on top of it. Killing what's currently growing. Type of weeds and ground type. All these things combine to make a HUGE difference in whether it will work or not.
I absolutely use a disk, but I know alot of gus are prettypretty successful without breaking soil. It was kind of funny reading this so quick after the qdma site shut down and alot of guys speculate it had alot to do with sponsors and what messages were being conveyed.
Your post should say - Dr James Kroll was trying to sell me something.
He is pretty good at that. Will you get a perfect plot, probably not. Will you feed deer with limited inputs ($, time, fuel) = absolutely. A lot depends on the soil type, what you are planting, and growing conditions but as many on here have shown it can be very successful.
Yeppers. Throw and mow can't grow anything bigger than clover seed.
Buckwheat and millet.

Straight millet.


These are this yrs throw and mow plots. I've done lots of other stuff too.

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It has done very well. It got about waste high and produced a ton of seed.

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Successful throw-n-mow is an absolute reality, and don't let anyone tell you different. You need to be attentive to the seed types used and the timing of both throwing and mowing. The problem with advice from Dr. Kroll, and many other "experts", is there are no sponsorship dollars in telling you that you don't need seed from a bag with a big buck on it, you don't need a $5,000 implement, towed behind a $30,000 tractor, and you don't need to work the ground up like a back yard gardener to grow a perfectly suitable food plot. (Notice I didn't say a "perfect" food plot...)

If your understanding of the requirements for growing a plot coincide with your expectations of what a wildlife food plot should look like, throw-mow-plots can be extremely cost-effective solutions for hunters and landowners.
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I can say that I agree with him in some conditions. That's why the forum is so much more valuable than an article though -a discussion can be had about the "exceptions to the rule". If you have just a weedy field, sandy loam, and sunshine without 3 days of rain, results are poor (for me at least). Have enough thatch to cover the seed and well timed rain and results can be spectacular.
I have a question for the throw and mow experts. Why is it I see guys with huge tractors and what appears to be 20'discs, grow beautiful fields of corn and wheat, yet not hurt soil health?

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Who said it isn't hurting soil health? With proper nutrients (short version), plants can grow wonderfully with no soil at all
I have a question for the throw and mow experts. Why is it I see guys with huge tractors and what appears to be 20'discs, grow beautiful fields of corn and wheat, yet not hurt soil health?

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The better question to ask is how do native grass prairies grow incredible amounts of browse, year after year, with no inputs and little more than occasional fire to refresh them? Food plotting need not be approached like farming, because we are not harvesting a crop. Take a look at the gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River empties into it. All of that came from somewhere... still think farmers are protecting the health of their soil?

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I have, many times, some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. I guess my question should have been, what is the atvantage of throw and mow over tillage?

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Ah heck! I can't let it go. Soil. No soil. Conventional tillage, no-till, limited-till, throw and mow, throw and go.

The basics of getting a seed to germinate and keep growing are always the same. To me, throw and mow is the hardest technique in which to successfully satisfy those conditions, but it has great advantages otherwise. If you understand the rules of germination then you can break the rules of technique.

What do we need to get germination started and to keep the darned plant growing?

Moisture and lots of it.

Each plant's seed needs something a little different. Some seeds need to absord X times its dry weight in water. Others just a fractional percentage. Once germination starts it had better not stop -- continued moisture - enough to get the germplasm fully engaged and the first or primary root "deep" into the ground (where it's protected from drying).

Consider planting in a conventional tillage system. A conducive seed bed is created. The seed is placed at a proper depth in the soil and the loose soil is packed firmly around the seed removing drying air by press wheels, cultipackers, or dumb luck. With a tip of the cap to hydroponics, good seed to soil contact is the golden rule of planting. The soil is the sponge. It rains. It holds water. The seed uses the water to get germination going. the soil serves as a blanket, keeping the tender cotelydon - the first leaves, moist and away from drying sun and air. Perfect - almost. Great for germinating seeds. Not so good for soil erosion and organic matter maintenance.

Now, if you can understand and control these factors in "throw and mow" you're ready! How do you get the seed into the soil? Or, at least keep it wet enough once germination starts it continues at least until the primary root finds its way into the soil and the cotyledon leaves are establishing as a viable plant. The mulch cover helps. Except for a masterful or lucky few, germination percentage will be much lower than one would expect in a conventional tillage system, but the soil erosion and organic matter maintenance problems are eliminated.

Good luck!
It also helps to include seed types that will grow in the bed of your pickup, if they get wet; BW for warm season and WR for cool season.

Very small seeds (most clovers/brassicas/chicory) tend to find their way down to either soil or decomposing vegetation, helping induce germination.

Overseed at an elevated rate, because no one is claiming germination will be as good with a throw-n-mow solution. Realize that none of the stuff growing in a fallow field was "sown" into the ground; native fields are ALL "throw-n-mow".

Timing is very important, as is gauging the amount of material on the surface of your soil, and still standing above it before seeding.

A cultipacker helps "rattle" seed down into the soil/vegetation while pressing the "top layer" down to create a sandwich of moisture when it rains.
Thanks, I cleared a new plot , planted buckwheat, deer and hogs ate it up and is now weeds and johnson grass. I limed before planting so might give it a go when fall planting

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I agree and semi-disagree with some of the stuff x-farmerdan is saying. One of the biggest factors that has to be taken into consideration is soil type and the condition of that soil. It is assumed that a guy will get a better stand by disking because of improved seed to soil contact. However, when you’re plotting in sand and you’ve tilled it to the point of zero organic matter….you create some very inhospitable soil conditions. So even though the seed may very well be in contact with the soil….the soil is in such bad shape and so dry that only a fraction of the seedlings live and you get a sparse stocking density. Been there done that.

One of the reasons some people disk the hates out of their soil and still grow good crops is because they have enough clay content in their soil that they still have good holding capacity even with the absence of organic matter. It’s not ideal by any means but it works for some. Folks with sand that do the same thing will not see the same results.



Tillage vs No-tillage