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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 coyote walking.
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife December 3, 2021

At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood. 

Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land. 

Two male deer locking horns
Filed Under: Wildlife November 24, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each year in Mississippi, thousands of hunters spend time in the woods hoping to see and harvest a buck. Last year, hunters in the Magnolia State harvested about 122,000 bucks, producing venison for the table and antlers to admire for a lifetime.

Even without having to worry about hunters, however, life for a buck is no cakewalk.

A man holds items in an open shed.
Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer November 3, 2021

A prion disease spreading through Mississippi whitetail deer populations has changed how herds are managed and may reduce the economic benefit of hunting in the state. Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has been found in whitetail deer populations in 26 states as of August 2021.

Mouse in a field.
Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife October 29, 2021

As cooler weather arrives, mice are looking for any source of heat and food they can find. Sometimes, they find their way into homes. You may notice the faint pitter-patter of small feet inside walls and attics. It’s just the mice looking for a warm place to stay!

An open wooden shed houses miscellaneous items.
Filed Under: Wildlife, White-Tailed Deer October 28, 2021

The appearance of chronic wasting disease on the Mississippi landscape is making significant changes in the lives and hobbies of hunters, and many are ready to do what it takes to limit this disease. Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a prion disease of white-tailed deer that is easily transmissible to deer through saliva, feces, urine or a contaminated environment

Success Stories

Hummingbird.
Flower Gardens, Natural Resources, Environment, Water, Water Quality, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 2

Popular post

Hummingbird migration information reached more than 400,000 on Facebook, thanks to this post highlighting the featured Extension for Real Life blog post.

A man with glasses standing behind a table with shells, teeth, and bones on it.
Natural Resources, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 2

Extension connects landowner experts to identify fossils

The kids who dig in the dirt and rifle through the gravel do grow up, and many of them still keep their eyes on the ground whenever they’re outside. And, if they find an old bone or even a shell from an extinct oyster, they know they’ve found something special.

Three men and one woman standing, spaced out in front of a red brick building.
Community, Food and Health, Food Safety, Health, AIM for CHangE, Coronavirus, Nutrition and Wellness, Natural Resources, Fisheries, Forestry, Forest Economics, Water, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 1

Four Extension experts named fellows in their disciplines

Four well-respected Mississippi State University Extension Service experts were recently named fellows in prestigious academic and service organizations.

A man wearing a green collared shirt stands smiling.
Natural Resources, Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease
Volume 6 Number 1

Mississippi became the 25th state with a confirmed case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in February 2018. Since then, state agencies have been working together to protect the state’s deer population.

A white sign with dark green lettering reads, “Monarch Waystation: This site provides milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation. Create, Conserve, & Protect Monarch Habitats.”
Wildlife Youth Education, About Extension, Master Gardener, Insects, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, The Story of Plants and People, Vegetable Gardens, Urban and Community Forestry, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises
Volume 4 Number 2

See what's new in Extension: a new monarch garden, a storytelling series will begin, the Garden Expo highlights Extension education, and Keep America Beautiful recognizes MSU Extension.

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