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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

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News

A large alligator rests on the shoreline beside water on a sunny day.
Filed Under: Wildlife September 22, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Thanks to the careful management and conservation efforts of Mississippi’s state and federal wildlife biologists, alligator populations across the state are thriving.

In fact, Ricky Flynt, alligator coordinator with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said he considers the healthy alligator populations a conservation success story. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, alligators were not protected and were nearly eliminated, he explained. Now, their numbers are high enough to allow limited recreational hunting. 

Filed Under: Water Quality, Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG, White-Tailed Deer September 21, 2017

Wild hogs cost Mississippians millions of dollars each year, but landowners stand to lose more than money if the nuisance animals’ range and population continue to grow. 

Left unchecked, wild hogs have the potential to steal property owners’ investments and cripple the state’s ecosystem in the process. 

a nest built by mice using insulation and a variety of other materials
Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management September 8, 2017

Now is the time of year when many of us notice the pitter-patter of small feet in our attics or walls.

Complaints of mice in and around homes are common in the fall. The house mouse is one of the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. House mice damage structures and contaminate food sources meant for humans, pets, livestock and other animals.

During the fall, both the house mouse, which spends most of its life in human dwellings, and the deer mouse, which spends warm seasons outside, are searching for food and warm shelter to nest and breed during the winter.

Healthy mourning dove populations allow opportunities for recreational hunting. Habitat establishments begin in the spring by planting small fields with a variety of grains such as sorghum, browntop millet and sunflowers. (Submitted photo)
Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife August 18, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mourning doves are popular game birds and songbirds in North America. Common in urban and suburban environments, they often are seen perched on utility wires or feeding in fallow grain fields or on the ground under bird feeders.

Mourning doves have a plump body, small head, buffy feathers with scattered black wing spots, long tail feathers, and short, pink legs. It is smaller and less colorful than its pigeon cousins that are often seen around city parks, bridges and silos.

Indoor classroom lessons about vertebrates are part of this Master Naturalist course in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Adam Rohnke)
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife August 11, 2017

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Funding and manpower are cited as the most common limiting factors in conducting research, especially for wildlife and fisheries studies, which can cover huge areas, involve secretive animals and collect large quantities of information.

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