Food Plot Basics

How much of your land should be in Food Plots?

Every property is different and the goal of a food plot varies as well. Is your property surrounded by agriculture fields, forest, or both? Are these plots being created as a primary food source or hunting plot? If your property is not located near agriculture fields than 10% of your property are recommended for nutritional plots. We recommend that 45-65% of these nutritional plots should be in a perennial crop such as clover, alfalfa, and chicory. These varieties are high in protein and with proper maintenance can last up to 5-7 years. The other 35-55% should be planted in annuals such as brassica, grains, soybeans and corn. Having both perennial and annual plots will help in supplying the proper nutrition threw out the entire year.

Where to establish food plots?

It's often found that the most convenient location isn't often the best location for a food plot. These locations may not attract wildlife. Especially during day light hours. Deer are preyed upon, so look for areas where deer will feel comfortable feeding. Keep these plots away from roadways and areas that are pressured. Hidden areas, logging roads and staging areas a great places to establish a food plot. These areas need a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of day light and shouldn't be in wet areas.

Food Plot Shape

The shape of your plot should be determined whether the plot is a nutritional plot or hunting plot? Nutritional plots are just that, plots main focus is to provide the most nutrition as possible. So large rectangle shape works the best. Hunting plots need to be design to get the deer close enough to harvest, so the size and shape is important. Kidney shape, L shape, narrow rectangle and hour glass shapes work the best. Put these in secluded or transition areas for best results.

Soil Testing

One of the most important things you should do first is get a soil sample done. It's inexpensive and will help in the success of your food plot. Having the proper PH level will allow the plant to uptake the nutrients in the soil and make the plant more palatable to deer. Taking 4-6 samples from different locations in the plot will help in the testing of your PH. Your soil sample will tell you whether you need lime and the amounts of N-P-k to apply.

Site Preparation

Site preparation is extremely important. The success of your food plot depends on a clean vegetation free seed bed. Clear all trees and grass. Mowing and the use of grass and vegetation killer like 41% Glyphosate. Glyphosate will only work on contact with green growing plants. It's imperative you have a clean vegetation free plot before planting. Once your food plot is vegetation free you can begin the ground preparation. Your goal is to have a loose, weed free seed bed prior to sowing seeds. Seed to soil contact is important in creating optimum seed germination. The top 4-6 inches of your soil is where the organic matter is. Organic matter provides a carbon source and presents the soil with the ability to absorb water and aeration. You can use a disc or plow to turn over the soil. Apply lime and fertilizer at this time and blend the soil and fertilizer together.

Planting Seeds

You can plant your seeds using several methods. The two most popular are conventional, hand held and ATV seeders. Conventional is normally used for corn and soybeans and hand held and ATV seeders are used for grains, clovers, chicory and brassica. When sowing your seeds either with a hand held or ATV seeder make sure you put half the amount of seed in the hopper and walk or ride in one direction. Than plant the remaining seed in the opposite direction. This will allow for unified coverage of your plot. Make sure to cultipack or drag the plot. Always plant when there is rain in the forecast. Proper moisture is key to a successful food plot.