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UGUIDE Food Plot Seed Delivery Road Trip 2020

April 12, 2020 by

First off, Happy Easter everyone and I’m sure most of us have never spent an Easter quite like this one (and hopefully never will again).

We just got back last night from delivering food plot seed to all our UGUIDE Outfitter Partners (UGUIDE Pheasant Camps).  Even after doing this for all these years, I am excited about the changes we are making and also the hope to do even better in the future.

You may or may not know that UGUIDE started a cost share food plot seed delivery program several years ago.  The just of the matter is to cost share a portion of the camps' seed costs and offer delivery of the seed at no charge.  This was the one thing I thought I could offer that would have the biggest impact across our system.

We have found good food plots are difficult to do.  One component of the equation is to find the right seed for how we do plots.  For years Pheasants Forever has provided seed for us, at low cost, that has worked well.  We have found, however, that there are unknowns with this seed source and it is not going to serve pheasants well in the long run.  We have determined to invest a little more into the plots.  In short, we aim to pay a little more for better seed, develop a rotational system which is a major factor in sustainable high quality plots, and make sure we are fertilizing plots adequately.

This year's seed has been sourced from Millborn Seeds in Brookings SD.  We are using their Double Barrel Milo and Final Flush mixes.  Final Flush gives us the rotational benefits we need in our system.  Corn is a key component as well, but we could not find a good short-day, cost-effective Roundup Ready corn this year, so we asked the camps to source their own as needed.  Next year we hope to be able to offer a reasonably priced short-day (90) maturity glyphosate tolerant corn.

We departed for Millborn Friday morning on the 14 hour, 870 mile round trip. We headed towards Sioux Falls and then north to Brookings.  We did not realize that the Smithfield Meat processing plant in Sioux Falls was making the state a national news covid hot spot.  I guess some 326 employees tested positive for covid.  Seems no one will elude the impacts of this virus.

The trip to Brookings and pickup from Millborn was uneventful and we were on our way to our first pheasant camp seed drop in Faulkton, about a 3 hour drive.  Upon arriving at the Faulkton pheasant camp, the first thing we noticed was the beautiful corn and milo food plots still standing.  Along with that were other whole cornfields not harvested.  We were learning this would be the first of many production crop fields still not harvested from last year.  USDA is reporting 96% of crops harvested, but I’m not sure that number is accurate.

The Faulkton Camp owner was kind enough to give us a quick tour of the farm.  What a resource for wildlife!  My wife used the same words I would agree with after we took the tour;  “inspiring”.  We dropped the plot seed and were on our way to Gunner’s Haven in Selby.  Upon arriving, we learned the owners had bought a new John Deere No-Till drill for planting plots.  This was great news because these are great pieces of planting equipment and an important part to getting plots done right.  I told them my neighbors make some excellent after market precision components (Prostitch Ag) for those planters and I would send him a couple samples to try on their row units.  Read more on this in Food Cover Plots 2.0.

After a short visit and a seed drop at Gunner’s, we were on our way to our lodging destination at the Wrangler Inn at Mobridge on the beautiful Missouri River. Like any place else in America, the motel and town were pretty locked down and like a ghost town.  I bet we were 1 of only maybe 2 or 3 guests at most in a motel with 100 rooms.  Dinner was at the DQ drive thru and breakfast at the Burger King drive thru across the street.  With a meal and coffees for the road we were on our way to West River Adventures.

My wife was becoming pretty good at spotting roosters along the road.  We both thought we were seeing a good number on the whole trip.  We were seeing hens too but roosters tend to make themselves more visible during the spring breeding season.

Once across the Missouri river and hanging a left turn for Timberlake, we experienced our next covid experience.  “Covid 19 Check-point, Consider alternate routes”.  What was this about?  We kept rolling towards Timberlake.  We were in  Dewey counter which has zero cases of covid so we were wondering what this is all about.  Dewey is also mostly tribal ground in the county and they had a checkpoint just mainly auditing where people were coming from and going to as we crossed through the tribal checkpoint north of Timberlake.  No big deal and makes sense if you want to keep covid off the reservation.

After spotting many more pheasants and many more standing crop fields of corn and sunflowers, we arrived at our next camp destination; Meadow Creek.  We’d normally hit West River first but in this case the owner of Meadow Creek would not be home and we got an early start that morning.  The weather was getting nasty and we knew we would be greeted by a winter storm warning when we got back to Lake Andes that night.  We made the drop at Meadow Creek seeing more pheasants, standing crops and water in the fields along the way.  We were happy to be turned around heading with the northwest wind and towards our last drop of the trip and then onward towards home.

We always enjoy our visits with the owners of West River Adventures but this time covid, nasty weather and 200 cows needing to be brought in from pasture would nix that social event.  Fortunately they had some good young lads around to help with their cattle drive and they made unloading the 45 bags of seed go real quick.

Lastly was the 5 hour leg of our return trip back to the farm.  We were about a month earlier than usual due to the new supply system.  My wife and I both agreed we were very encouraged by the number of pheasants we saw along the whole trip.  She knew now where the state gets its reputation as the pheasant capital!