The Ultimate Food Plot Machine

food-plot-tractor

A modern compact utility tractor (CUT) is a true force multiplier. A good one maximizes your effort and available time. The same axiom applies to tractor implements. Yes, there is still a solid place for ATVs, but sooner or later, you'll want to pop for a tractor and tools that allow you to maximize your time to work the dirt and deliver the satisfaction of getting it done right.

A case can be made to buy used, but this can be fraught with perils because you have to know exactly what you're looking for and how to evaluate the condition. With the low- or zero-cost financing options available today, and package buys that offer a front-end loader and other implements free, buying new from a reputable dealer makes sense.

For the average small-plot land manager putting in 10 to 40 acres of warm season plots and fall grains, a CUT in the 30- to 45-hp range is ideal. Tractors in this category are affordable, economical to operate, capable of lifting implements up to 3,000 pounds, easily trailered with half-ton vehicles, and provide enough power for tougher jobs like working a plow, disc, or tiller.


Kubota-Tractor-For-Food-Plots


I bought my first CUT — a 29-hp lesser-known brand — used, without knowing what I really needed. I faced a major breakdown the first season and had to get in line for repairs, when the shop was at its busiest with farmers needing immediate help. I waited weeks for parts, then dealt with the problem of the dealer not being familiar with the brand I owned. Lesson one.

I also didn't know what implements I needed and was reduced to begging and borrowing the right tools from other local land managers who needed their implements the same time I wanted to borrow them. Inevitably, there are only a few weekends a month each spring and fall when conditions are right to mow, lime, fertilize, spray, disc, till, and plant. As weekend warriors, you need your equipment on call and operable when the weather allows. Lesson two.

When it became time to replace my tractor, I invested a winter of research before choosing a new rig. Rock-solid reliability and power-per-dollar were my main priorities, but I also wanted a list of specific features based on a lot of in-field experience and frustration, especially when working alone.

Kubota-Tractor-Accessories


My other criteria were 35 hp, 4-wheel drive, aggressive ag tires, strong hydraulics and a 3-point lift capacity of at least 2,500 pounds, telescoping 3-point arms, spacious cab, tight turning radius, minimum wheel width of 60 inches (to fit inside the rows on my corn/bean planter), a compact overall length (to fit on my trailer), a large fuel tank, and a comfortable seat. I also thought I wanted a manual transmission, but after some research, I opted for a unique Glide Shift Transmission (GST).

After a long search, my Ultimate Food Plot Machine is a Kubota L3560 with a GST transmission. Its performance is stunningly strong.

food-plot-tractor-transmission


Glide Shift Transmission:I've always been a manual transmission fan, not only for the reliability, but also to maximize available power from CUT engines. Hydrostatic transmissions, while convenient, bleed off some available working horsepower to help drive the system. Kubota's exclusive Glide Shift Transmission is the best of both worlds. A simple dash-mounted throw lever chooses forward, neutral, or reverse; a gear shift on the left side of the cab allows you to choose between 12 forward and eight reverse gears — with no clutching on the fly! Super convenient and it works amazingly well.

Kubota-Food-Plots-Front-End-Loader

Front End Loader: A front end loader is a must for all sorts of work, from moving downed trees off trails to moving piles of dirt and other material. Watch for Kubota promotions that provide it free with purchase during spring or fall sales.

Kubota-rotary-mower

Rotary mower: The Land Pride rotary mower is key for everything from initial plot site clearing to creating travel lanes and maintaining annual plots like clover. The 72-inch width is small enough for tight spaces and efficient for large clearing jobs.

Kubota-food-plot-tiller

Tiller: My overall favorite tillage tool. Great for incorporating prior-year plant residue into your plot, improving organic matter, and quickly delivering quality seedbeds. While slow to operate, on established plots it provides one-pass results. Don't scrimp on this implement; get the heaviest built, widest model your tractor's horsepower will accommodate.

Sprayer: Either in electric ATV (25-gallon capacity) or PTO driven tractor mount (50 gallons), you will need a sprayer for burning down plots prior to planting, applying preplant herbicides, and spraying established plots. Fimco makes many field-proven models.

food-plot-tractor-spreader

Spreader: From spreading lime, fertilizer, and other soil amendments to salting your ice-covered driveway, get the largest hopper your tractor can accommodate.

Kubota-tractor-planter

Planter: If you want corn, soybeans, and sunflowers in precision rows for optimal growth and spraying access, this time-proven model, originally produced by Deere, is superior. Midwest Wildlife Management manufactures a limited run each year, so order in time for spring planting.

food-plot-tractor-equipment

Do-all tool: The Firminator G-3 is a multipurpose disc, drop seeder (clovers, brassicas, fall grains, beans, etc.), and cultipacker that replaces three tools with one. This is a truly heavy-duty piece of gear, and the adjustable angle disc gang works way better than it should due to the overall weight of the unit. You can also adjust the G-3 to engage all three tools simultaneously or individually based on need. The only multipurpose implement I've used that works better than advertised, in four-, five-, six-, and eight-foot models. Buy the width that covers your tire tracks and can be lifted safely by your 3-point.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap

Take your venison loin to a whole new level with this delicious reverse-seared stuffed elk backstrap. Smoking the backstrap on a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill first, then finishing it on a blazing-hot skillet or flattop, creates a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak with a crispy, seared exterior. The filling of diced mushrooms and creamy Boursin cheese adds a whole new level of amazing flavors to an otherwise classic smoked venison loin.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system. Optics

How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology. Optics

The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020

Tony J. Peterson - July 09, 2020

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips. Recipes

Why Freezer Burn Matters

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Don't make field dressing a deer any messier than it has to be; make sure you have all the essentials before you go out this season. How-To

DIY Deer Field Dressing Equipment and Tips

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Don't make field dressing a deer any messier than it has to be; make sure you have all the...

August is the perfect time to ensure your deer stands are secure and ready. Whitetail

September Is Coming: Now Is the Time to Check Your Treestands

Jeff Johnston

August is the perfect time to ensure your deer stands are secure and ready.

Hunting spring gobblers can be challenging enough! Here's how to not beat yourself. Other Game

3 Run & Gun Mistakes Every Turkey Hunter Makes

Tony J. Peterson

Hunting spring gobblers can be challenging enough! Here's how to not beat yourself.

Here's where to find them, plus a bonus recipe. How-To

How to Find Morel Mushrooms in the Spring Woods

David Draper

Here's where to find them, plus a bonus recipe.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now