Smaller implements make ATVs a viable option for the small landowner who wants to build their own food plots.
Side-by-sides like the Rhino offer some distinct advantages to the small landowner interested in building food plots. One of the most obvious is cargo space.
By Bob Humphrey
Thanks to the relatively recent introduction of smaller discs and implements, even small landowners can build their own food plots. However, you’ve got to match your implements to whatever is pulling them.
ATVs are now a viable option. Consider a 400 cc engine to be the absolute minimum, with larger engines offering obvious advantages, particularly more horsepower. Smaller implements like the Plotmaster 400, Summit Plot-Mule or Tufline ATVD series are specifically designed for ATVs of 300 cc or larger. However, this rating is based on ideal soil conditions. In wet and muddy or hard and dry soils, you’ll really appreciate the extra horsepower.
Consider 4WD an absolute must. Again, tough soil conditions make for tough work, and you want something that will stand up to the job without overworking the machinery. You should also give strong consideration to a liquid-cooled engine, for the same reasons. This will help cool the engine at slower speeds when pulling implements.
You can use either 4-wheelers or side-by-sides, but the latter offer several distinct advantages. First is a rear cargo area for hauling seed, lime, fertilizer, tools and of course, game.
As far as the implement itself, there are several things to consider. All-in-one units, like the Plotmaster or Firminator can save you time and money. However, you want something that weighs between 350 - 1,000 pounds, preferably toward the lower end.
If you go a la carte, discs with serrated edges will chew up the sod better. A roto-tiller can be a big time saver, but you should attach a cultipacker behind as the tiller will fluff the soil, seed will get buried too deeply and won’t germinate. Two other time and labor savers are an ATV-mounted sprayer for applying herbicide, and a broadcast spreader for seed, granular lime and fertilizer.