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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Food Plots Publications
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Oxygen-related fish kills can completely wipe out otherwise healthy ponds, but there is a strategy pond owners can use to control this problem.
Anoxia -- the lack of oxygen -- can form in deeper water layers of a pond during warmer months. Deeper water is heavier and denser, which prevents it from mixing with warm surface water where air and oxygen-producing microorganisms are found. As deeper water becomes isolated, its oxygen levels are depleted, reducing fish habitat and increasing the risk of fish kills.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People often ask what they can plant to improve wildlife numbers on their property. Before seeking advice on what to plant, the first question should be, "Is food a limiting factor?"
Most often, Mother Nature has provided all the food wildlife need, assuming animals are provided the proper habitat. Still, there is an ecological principle at work called Liebig’s Law of the Minimum.
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Pollinators are important to flowering plants and the food supply, but dwindling numbers of some of these creatures, including monarch butterflies and bees, have captured the public’s attention.
Many people want to help. But what can homeowners do to support these important pollinators?
Jennifer Buchanan, senior curator at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, shared her top three tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden.
Two of the biggest current threats to wildlife in our state are wild hogs and chronic wasting disease.
The current wild hog problem and confirmation of a CWD-positive deer this year in Issaquena County are examples of how the selfish actions of a very small segment of the hunting population can set off a negative chain of reactions that reach beyond the initial impact to wildlife species.
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.