Food plots are very important for growing big bucks. Devon Johnk, operation manager and food plots specialist at Arrow Seed, shares the awesome food plots they have created as well as several other products that help the agricultural land for a healthier herd. He also gives out some tips on how you can effectively plan out your food plots and reveals what they have been doing in the company.
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Arrow Seed Creates Awesome Food Plots
I’m with Devon Johnk. Devon is the Operation Manager and Food Plots Specialist at Arrow Seed out there in Nebraska. Devon, welcome to the show. Tell the folks something about Arrow Seed.
Thank you, Bruce. I’m glad to be here. Arrow Seed has been around for 72 years. We are a forage company. The bulk of our business is in agriculture. We do have a Food Plot line also. A lot of that information and knowledge came from our forage side. Our ag side caters basically to cattle and everything that they eat. We’ve utilized that knowledge and that experience on the Food Plot side. We are a certified cleaning facility. We do have production of several different products and clean those in-house bags. Those in-house have a number of dealers in the area, both in Nebraska, Northern Kansas, South Dakota and Eastern Colorado. We’ve got various Food Plot dealers around the country. We do a little bit of everything. We like to say we do everything but corn and beans.
If somebody wanted to get ahold of you, what’s the best way to do that?
You can get ahold of us on our website and that’s ArrowSeed.com. You can give us a call at (800) 622-4727. Ask for somebody in Food Plots and they’re going to get ahold of me.
What’s so special about Iowa Deer Classic?
Iowa Deer Classic draws a bunch of people and it did really become a tradition for a lot of the people that we talked to. That sort of neat thing and something different than I see in that show from other shows is that people come and they spend the weekend. They’ll come in on Friday and they’ll leave on Sunday. You see people multiple times. You get to talk to them multiple times. They’ll come back with questions on Sunday that you talked about on Friday. It’s a lot of great people.Deer will be in particular fields at particular times of the year. Click To Tweet
They get their wall of fame and they got 200-inch monsters on the wall that everybody can see. You can’t touch them, but you could see them. It’s amazing what Iowa produces that for sure in terms of big bucks. Food plots are so important for growing big bucks. Everybody knows Iowa is a big agricultural state, but even more so when we start putting in food plots or kill plots around the land. It sure doubles down on the production and the balance and a healthier herd. Let’s talk about that a little bit.
One of the things with Food Plots and utilizing Food Plots is anybody can go out there and drive around and most everybody is familiar with the fact that deer will be in particular fields at particular times of the year. They will be in bean fields early and then late, they will be in cornfields primarily for cover and feed late in the year. They’re covering it with the ag, at least in the Midwest with the corn and beans for a lot of the time. With Food Plots, you’re able to cater to them a little bit and give them something that’s green and growing when they want to be eating it. Giving them an opportunity for something different. When I talked to a lot of customers, I say, “I think the deer are a lot like us.” They don’t want to have the same thing every day. They want to have something different. We’ve seen deer come into plots. One is eating a broadleaf, be it Alfalfa, clover, turnips, radish or whatever it might be. Another one is eating grass. When they’re searching out those products, they’re not necessarily like a cattle in the aspect that they just come in and eat. They seem to have a palette for something or know that they need something, whether it’s a nutritional item or if it’s the taste that they’re looking for.
We all know that whitetails will go after the acorns when they start dropping. They’ll go off everything. They’ll leave perfectly good standing crops. They’ll go hit the acorns because they know they got a short window and it’s high-end protein. I’ve talked to some people during certain times of the year. Let’s say the spring, those are lactating. They want the best food, the best nourishment so they can turn into the milk.
That’s one of the things with any Food Plot plan. This time when somebody is looking at what can I do, looking at planning and saying, “How can I improve my property?” A lot of people will either ignore a perennial because they want something for the hunting season. They want something ready. It’s typically a fall plant. They’ll say, “I want it ready for the hunting season,” but they don’t think about 365 days out of the year that the deer needs to eat. Giving them something that is highly nutritious, having something there right away in the spring or shortly after spring when those fawns are dropping. Having something for the mothers to get that high nutrition to then feed their fawns with, teach their fawns where to go, hold their fawns on a property. It’s a big deal on food plotting.
You mentioned something that we’re going to talk about. A good segue is what should be people doing right now in regard to Food Plots?
At least here in the Midwest, we aren’t going to be planting anything because we’re either under snow or ice or it’s too cold. It’s just not time. A person can be preparing and saying, “What do I want to plant? What are my plans for this year?” Look at last year, the year before and say, “This is what worked and this is what didn’t work.” That’s one of the fun things about food plotting is it’s a matter of gaining that experience and saying, “This worked, this didn’t work. How can I change things to make things better on my property? What can I do that benefits the deer or how do I want to break up this piece and make part of their premium, part of their annual and where do those need to be? What do I want to plant? What have they liked in the past during that hunting timeframe? What have they steered away from in that timeframe? How do I want to situate those on my property?” A lot of times I look at it and when I think about where I want plots, I want someplace that’s comfortable, someplace that the deer want to be, number one. A lot of my plots are places where the deer are staging before they go into the crop fields. It’s almost a training process of, “This is where we go for lunch, little one. This is where we go for dinner. After dark, we’ll go out here.” Planning those things where you want plots, what you want in plots and then looking at things like getting soil tests done, so you’re ready for what you’ve got to do in the spring or what you need to do in the fall in this downtime.
If you want to put in kill plots. I’m big on kill plots. It’s a shortstop and all of a sudden they want to grab a bunch, something to eat on the way. It’s a little opening and that there’s some food there. All of a sudden they’re in a staging area. They’re not quite to the beans or the corn so you create a kill plot. I’ve been told and I haven’t done it because I live in Colorado, our farm is a thousand miles away. I’ve had the guys go in and clear out. We’re talking 20×20. It’s not a huge area. It’s just a really small area, maybe 50×50. Your maximum distance is going to be a twenty-yard shot at most. They can go in there and take the trees out and start preparing it so they can get in there and report the stumps and turn the soil as soon as it’s able. They can get in and put the seed into the ground.
In some of those places, if you’re putting a new plot, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. When do I need to start? How do I need to start? What kind of equipment do I need if I need equipment? That type of thing. Part of that thought process is what we need to be doing now.
Do you recommend people to keep journals or blogs or three-ring binders?
It’s a great idea. I don’t know about your memory, but my memory is not the best when I look back. If a person does keep those journals, not only are you learning more about what’s going on, you can look back at the spring and say, “This is what I did. How did it affect my fall?” You can look back at that for years and either come to a product, whether it’s Alfalfa or clover or a blend or whatever it is that seems to work best at your time of year. Those are one of the things I always ask people is, “How do you hunt? Are you a bowhunter?” Bow season is typically earlier than what guns seasons are. Whether it’s a rifle or muzzleloader, depending on your area. Are you a late-season muzzleloader hunter? Take Iowa, for instance. They’ve got the early season muzzleloader hunt. They’ve also got a late season hunt. When do you need the deer in those spots? That’s one thing to look at.
When you go to the Iowa Deer Classic, you’re not only going to talk to Arrow Seed, there’s going to be a lot of other manufacturers and companies there. They’re going to give you tips and techniques. I recommend people go to Iowa Deer Classic or any outdoor show. One, attend the seminars and two, then go talk to the seminar speakers because they’re more than willing to do that. Devon, what is the number of your booth at the Iowa Deer Classic?
We’ll be in Booth 832 this year. Right on the corner of Fifth. People have stopped by before or right in the same area.
Do you have any specialists for the show for the readers of this podcast?
Anybody that comes up and mentions Whitetail Rendezvous will get 10% off their purchase at the show.
Folks, mention Whitetail Rendezvous and you’re going to get a 10% discount from Arrow Seed. Devon, anything else you want to say about Arrow Seed and the Food Plot?
One of the things that I would love to mention is there’s been a big push on screening materials here in recent years. When I’m talking about a screening material, I’m talking about something that gives the deer a little bit more security. We’ve got a product called Green Screen that is absolutely wonderful. We’ve had the plot at fourteen feet tall in Iowa. It’s an interesting product. You can use it for a lot of things. Whether it’s hiding a blind, funneling deer, protecting your deer from people driving by on the road. I have a customer that started using it and he says his deer is coming out into a field that’s on a road up to two hours earlier than they normally did. If a guy hasn’t taken a look at screening materials or screening plots, I’d suggest taking a look at them.
With that folks we’re going to end this Iowa Deer Classic promotion with Arrow Seed and Devon Johnk. Thanks, Devon.
Thank you, Bruce.
About Devon Johnk
Devon Johnk began his career at Arrow Seed in December of 2011. Devon pulls double duty as our warehouse manager, and the sales rep for our food plot division, calling on food plot dealers and providing technical support.