Tractor Equipment for Food Plots

If you are planting several acres and can afford it a tractor is the way to go for at least part of the food plot planting process. Tractors of all sizes are used but the key is to match the attachments to the tractor size.

The following tractor size and attachment matchups can serve as a general guide:

  • Approximate 35 HP Tractor – 5 foot wide equipment
  • Approximate 50 HP Tractor – 6 foot wide equipment
  • Approximate 65 HP Tractor – 8 foot wide equipment
  • Approximate 85 HP Tractor – 12 foot wide equipment

What tractors do best is bushhog really rough vegetation, chisel plow and disc. Fertilizer spreading, drag harrowing seeds and cultipaction are as easily completed using an ATV or UTV.

Chisel Plowing:

  • On our demonstration farm we use a newer model 47 HP tractor with a 7 tine heavy duty chisel plow. The tractor does a very satisfactory job with this chisel plow but I would not suggest a smaller tractor. You will read where greater HP is needed per chisel. We have found that plowing new fields or heavily sodded fields may take 2-3 passes starting at just 2″-3″ and working down to 6″ to 7″ . When plowing fields that have little vegetation and also have plowed the seaon before we often make only one pass to achieve the desired level. Six to 7″ is ideal plowing depth for food plots. Greater HP would be needed if you were using the chisel plow to rip the soil deeper than 7″.

General Notes:

  • It is best if your attachments are as wide as the outside edge of your back tires of your tractor
  • A disc does a fine job of preparing a seed bed. We use a disc after chisel plowing in the spring. We don’t generally disc after chisel plowing in the fall primarily to conserve moisture and secondarily the fall big seeds don’t require as fine a seed bed as the spring planting seeds.
  • Buying a used disc or used chisel plow is a way to save money. A heavy duty chisel plow will last a lifetime of planting food plots.
  • If you find a chisel plow used that is a good value but too wide for your tractor you can remove the outside tines if not excessively wide. Consider your circumstance if you might buy a larger tractor in the future. If so, the tines could be re-applied to your chisel plow. You can also cut off the outside and leave the center. Keep your cuts as they could be welded back on if you buy a bigger tractor later on.
  • Picture is tractor with chisel plow. Tractor is 47 HP and the chisel plow is a heavy duty 7 tine plow that is slightly over 6′ wide which is slightly wider than tire spread.