I didn’t catch the food plot bug right away. I spent considerable time in and around food plots during the fall and winter hunting seasons, and again during turkey season my entire hunting career. I even put in time and labor spreading fertilizer, seed and lime, and dodging limbs while driving a tractor on ATV trails to some remote honey hole back in the swamp.
Nevertheless, I was always implementing somebody else’s plan. That all changed three years ago when I, along with a few other family and friends, formed a small hunting club on one of the member’s family’s land. That’s when I became the unofficial land manager. I’ve learned a lot over these past three planting season, planting both summer and winter food plots. Most of all, I’ve learned that planting quality food plots year-after-year requires a lot of time, effort and money. I’ve also learned there are tools available that can cut time and effort immediately, and over time save money because of it.
I’ve seen claims over the years of a one-pass implement for food plots, but I’ve yet to see an implement that truly did it.
Then I watched William Yancy of Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment pulverize a weed and grass-choked field growing in dry, hard-packed Georgia clay while planting seed and covering it, with one pass of the tractor. The Firminator RT is no little food plot implement. Like everything built by Ranew’s it’s made in America and built like a tank.
Ranew’s is a sprawling 30-plus-acre manufacturing facility 60 miles south of Atlanta in Milner, Georgia. What started in Lester Ranew’s one-bay garage 35 years ago, now employees more than 60 individuals and does business with companies around the world, such as Caterpillar, John Deere and many others.
I’ve toured Ranew’s facilities and the scale of the operation is huge. Beneath the metal skins of steel-framed buildings, skilled workers go about welding, cutting, painting and constructing big, heavy sections of steel to be used on the finished products of Caterpillar dozers and logging trailers with a grapple/boom. It was cool to watch bare steel pieces enter the powder coating booth on an assembly-line-style hook and then continue into state-of-the-art infrared oven, where the pieces exit bright and shiny, coated in the familiar Caterpillar yellow.
In a separate building on the same 30-acre spread in Milner, Lester’s other company, Ranew’s Outdoor Equipment, fabricates and builds one of the toughest and most useful food-plot implements that I’ve used or seen — The Firminator. We’ve planted food plots at our hunting property with the Firminator. It’s a heck of a planting machine and can be banged around like a piece of farm equipment. Although, when you see the shiny, baked-on paint job you might not want to scratch it!
The newest implement from Ranew’s is the Firminator RT series.
This model still plants and covers seed like the original Firminator, but the discs have been replaced with a PTO-driven rototiller. William Yancy, head of sales for Firminator equipment, hopped on a John Deere tractor and positioned an 8-foot model of the Firminator RT over a rock-solid section of thick grass, engaged the rototiller, revved the engine and dropped the RT to the ground. He immediately drove forward with the rototiller pulverizing the top 6 to 7 inches of hard-packed clay and grass roots.
I dug in the soft, crushed soil with my hand. It was powdery and perfect to plant in. Directly behind the rototiller is the Firminator ground-driven Accu-Seed system, which meters out any-sized seed onto the soil, then directly behind the seeds is an industrial-sized cast-iron cultipacker that firmly pushes the seeds into the loose soil. This ensures ideal seed-to-soil contact for quick germination and root growth.
With a pre-treatment of Glyphosate two to three weeks prior to planting, a land manager could absolutely till, plant and cultipack food plots with one pass using the RT model. Imagine how much time and fuel that would save in the long run.
One thing to remember about a rototiller: they aren’t disc, so they can’t be used in fields with large rocks and roots. This implement would be best used on plots that are well established or areas with loamy soil and few rocks. Large rocks and roots can bind and break any rototiller.
The RT series consists of a 4-, 6- and 8-foot model. This is serious equipment for the serious food plotter. Hunt clubs and landowners with lots of food-plot acres can save time and money with a more efficient system for planting. Check out Firminator to learn more. Call (678) 544-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to purchase.