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. That all changed this spring in a fallow section of hard Georgia clay behind Ranew’s.
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 had the pleasure of touring 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. These parts are finished pieces that have been powder coated and baked in a high-tech, assembly-line-style infrared oven where the pieces come out nice and shiny.
Lester Ranew also owns 1,500 acres of well-managed hunting land 30 minutes south of Ranew’s facility. He invited me down to hunt turkeys and also to check out his company’s new food-plot implement.
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 — The Firminator. We’ve planted food plots at out hunting property, Borrowed Acres with the Firminator. It’s a heck of a planting machine and can be treated 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. Like all products made by Ranew’s, the RT model is a powerful and heavy-duty machine.
William Yancy, head of sales for Firminator equipment, hops 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 all sizes of seeds out 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. The sod of growing grass on top of the clay was also pulverized and mixed into the soil.
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?
One thing to remember about a rototiller, is that they aren’t disc, so they can’t be used in rocky fields. This implement would be best used on plots that are well established or areas with loamy soil and few rocks. Rocks and large roots can bind and break a rototiller, so be sure to use in debris-cleared plots.
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 Ranew’s to learn more.