Food Plot Basics

How Much Food Plots are Needed

These fundamentals may be determent by the surroundings of your property and based on your concept of creating plots for their primary food source or for attraction plots. If you are not bordered by agriculture fields, it is appropriate to have 5-10% of your property in food plots as a food source. An ideal practice is 60-75% of your plots persisting of perennial crops like clovers, alfalfas, and chicory. These varieties are high in protein and if maintained will last 4-5 years per planting. Along with 25-40% being planted in annuals such as buckwheat, grain sorghum, turnips, rape, corn, soybeans, or brassicas that are a high energy sources nevertheless need to be replanted each year. This will also allow better crop rotation whereas not depleting the nutrients of your soil. 

Where to Establish Food Plots 

Food plots are usually established in the most convenient location of a property, but may not always be the most appropriate for attracting wildlife. When clearing for new plots concentrate on areas where deer will appear comfortable feeding, away from roadways and entry points or any location they may not be contented during the day light hours. Logging roads and small natural openings are perfect areas for small plots. Select an area with at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight, eliminate wet spots in your plots with drainage or by creating a diversion ditch to redirect water where necessary. 

What Size and Shape Should Food Plots Be? 

Food plots may be of any size and shape that is suitable for the location and contour of the land, however size and shape of your food plots are a key factor in your deer management efforts as well as your overall harvest success. Large exposed production feeding plots may not be as affective for daytime usage whereas a smaller secluded attraction plot close to a bedding area will offer more day time use by deer. Hunting plots do not need to be large in size, smaller irregular shape plots less than one acre are ideal. It is best to have some nutritional plots that are rectangular shape and larger in size that will supply a sufficient amount of grazing. Do not discount an area thinking it’s too small to plant. Using your range finder to determine the exact size of your food plot is important in determining the quantity of seed and fertilizer you may need. Simply multiplying the length by the width of your food plot in yards and divide it by 4,840 this figure equates the acreage of your food plot. 

Planting Native Cover For Wildlife 

Amplifying your wildlife property may require more than planting food plots. In many occasions deer have to travel a great distances from feeding plots to bedding and cover areas. Planting specific areas for cover, using native warm season grasses, may provide an optimum bedding environment and help maximize deer to reside on your property. Establishing refuge, fawning habitat and high quality escape cover significantly increases the usage of your property, especially during daylight hours. Appropriate cover is very crucial to the success of any deer management program.