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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

Four deer graze in tall, lush clover with thinned pines in the background.
Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer December 28, 2018

Many hunters and landowners plant wildlife food plots these days, but this practice has become common only during the last 30 to 40 years in the Southeast.

An adult wild hog and two piglets, all covered in coarse black hair, stand inside a wire-sided trap set in green grass on the edge of some woods.
Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG December 18, 2018

Wild pigs must be trapped year-round, and the close of white-tailed deer season is the perfect time to begin planning your wild pig battle plan. (Photo credit: File Photo by MSU Extension )

Dry leaves and pine straw are cleared away in a round, bare area on the ground below small pine branches.
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer November 30, 2018

Deer hunters know all too well the power of a deer’s sense of smell, or more technically speaking, its olfactory system. A change of wind direction can give deer just a whiff of human scent and send them running and send a hunter back to the truck empty handed. 

A young buck grazes behind four turkeys in a green, grassy food plot.
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer November 30, 2018

Chronic wasting disease is the hot topic in Mississippi’s deer-hunting circles, and for good reason. MSU Extension experts encourage deer hunters to participate in the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks program for sampling deer to get an idea of where the disease has spread. (Photo by Michaela Parker/Cindy Callahan)

Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife November 27, 2018

If you like to watch the birds that visit your yard, you probably have at least one bird feeder. Adding a source of water will offer birds and other wildlife a much needed refuge when the weather is hot and dry. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

Success Stories

Wild hogs caught in a trap.
Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG
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

Farmweek | Entire Show | February 22, 2018
Farmweek

Season 41 Show #34

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 7:30am
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

Listen

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 7:00am
Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 7:00am
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 7:00am
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 2:30am

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