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Food Plots

Planting wildlife food plots is a common practice, especially for white-tailed deer. Many landowners or club members believe that a properly managed habitat and deer herd includes planted food plots. While the contribution of supplemental plantings to deer management should not be overlooked, more benefit can be realized through manipulation of native habitat. Practices such as well-timed prescribed burning of pine forests or proper timber harvesting techniques will provide abundant, high-quality forage and cover for deer at little or no cost to the landowner.

Consistently productive food plots require careful thought and planning before they are implemented. Factors to consider include the following.

  • Location:
    Plots should be located on fertile soils with adequate drainage. Cover should be located nearby or scattered across the plot. Food plots should not be established near a public road or waterway due to the increased possibility of poaching.
     
  • Size:
    Plot size and shape may vary with local conditions, but to provide adequate sunlight to meet forage production requirements generally should not be less than one acre.
     
  • Spacing:
    Plots should be scattered over the entire property if possible. It is more beneficial to establish 10 plots 2 acres in size than to have a single 20acre field. Cost may dictate total acreage planted.
     
  • Soil Testing:
    To ensure productive food plots conduct soil tests for fertilization and lime requirements. The local county agent (MSU-Extension Service office) can provide information on soil sample collection and where to send them for analysis. Be sure list the potential crops to be grown when sending in soil samples for testing.
     
  • Planting:
    Be sure to select a plant species or combination of species that will grow on the particular soil type and site that you have. If unsure, ask the county agent, wildlife biologist, or local seed supplier. Proper seedbed preparation will increase germination and yield more productive food plots. Plant crops at the prescribed seeding rate and during the proper planting season. It is critical that legume seeds (clovers, peas, beans) be inoculated with nitrogen fixing bacteria before planting.

 

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Food Plots Publications

News

A thin, eight-point buck stands beside a wall with drool coming from his mouth.
Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer February 16, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Anger. Acceptance. Get busy. This pretty much sums up my range of emotions after the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks released a statement that a 4-year-old buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in Issaquena County last week.

Several ripe persimmons hang from tree branches surrounded by green leaves.
Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Trees, White-Tailed Deer February 9, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Deer season is over, and prescribed fire, timber management, planting food plots and other habitat improvements come later in the year, but one activity that's perfect for February and early March is planting trees.

Two sturdy wire gates are raised in the large round corral trap. An automatic feeder on a tall tripod is inside the pen.
Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management January 26, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late winter is the peak time for trapping wild hogs, and the door or gate is a vitally important component in the construction of any enclosure.

Several brown and multicolored adult and young hogs sniff the ground inside and outside a round wire pen with a wooden door suspended over the opening.
Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG January 19, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild hogs are a tremendous problem for farmers and landowners throughout the state of Mississippi.

A drainage ditch with moving water, limbs, and trash.
Filed Under: Wildlife January 12, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most people who enjoy nature and being outdoors are careful to avoid littering -- not only because it is unsightly, but also because it can harm natural resources. Bottles, for example, can become death traps for small critters seeking food and water. Bottles and other trash can clog drainage ditches and waterways, creating additional challenges, especially if they contained toxins or other pollutants.

Success Stories

Wild hogs caught in a trap.
Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

Trevor Garrett stays busy. He divides his days between farming soybeans with his father, Johnnie Ferrell Garrett, and working as a research associate at Mississippi State University's Pontotoc Ridge–Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station.

Watch

Venison Stroganoff January 14, 2018
The Food Factor

Venison Stroganoff

Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 7:00am
Farmweek | Entire Show | August 10, 2017
Farmweek

Season 41 Show #6

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 2:30pm
Farmweek, Entire Show, January 26, 2017
Farmweek

Season 40 Show #27

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 10:30am
Farmweek, Entire Show, Oct 23 2015
Farmweek

Season 39 Show #16

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

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