Germination of forage legumes can often be affected by many different environmental factors which impact the establishment of food plots for wildlife. To ascertain the variability in performance among commercial products, we tested the germination rates of three popular wildlife seed mix blends: Perfect Plot (Biologic), Rack Force (Evolved Harvest), and Bird and Buck Whitetail and Gamebird mix (Star Seed). Ten 1-gram random samples of each seed mix were tested in complete darkness at a constant 25° C for 25 days. Germinated seeds were identified by species, removed from the Petri-dishes, and counted individually every 24 hours. Observed germination rates were compared to expected rates for each plant type: alfalfa (Medicago spp.), clover (Trifolium spp.), chicory (Cichorium spp.), rapeseed (Brassica spp.), and grasses (Poaceca spp.). Seeds of the Bird and Buck mix had the highest overall germination rate at 79%, only 0.6% lower than the expected seed mix germination. Perfect Plot and Rack Force seeds exhibited germination rates of 49% and 52%, which were 7% and 11%, respectively, lower than expected. For the Bird and Buck mix, grass seeds had 7% more germination than expected, while rape seeds had 6% lower germination than was expected (p < 0.0001). Clover and rape seeds in the Perfect Plot mix had 18% and 9%, respectively, lower germination than expected (p < 0.0001). Rack Force clover and alfalfa seeds showed 16% and 17%, respectively, lower germination than expected (p < 0.0001). Seed mix performance was not correlated with mix diversity and was inversely related to seed mix cost.
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