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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

Bats on a tree limb
Filed Under: Insects, Natural Resources, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife October 25, 2022

Bats have long been associated with Halloween, and this has fostered many myths about them. They may look spooky to some, but they perform critical tasks in the environment that help humans. The 1,400 species that are spread across six different continents serve an important purpose in our ecosystem. They pollinate plants, distribute seeds, and control insect pests, including mosquitoes. Fifteen different species of these small mammals live in Mississippi.

Ruby throated hummingbird on a leaf.
Filed Under: Urban and Backyard Wildlife September 16, 2022

Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures and are adored by many people. If you’re a hummingbird lover, you’re probably giddy to have them flock to your yard again this season. 

A man kneels beside a harvested buck.
Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer September 14, 2022

Deer hunters are urgently needed to participate in the battle to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease among the state’s prized white-tailed deer population. Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a 100% fatal, transmissible, neurogenerative disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that deer infected with this disease should not be eaten. One challenge of detecting the disease is that until deer enter the last stages of CWD, they often appear completely healthy.

A Southeastern myotis bat roosts in a culvert.
Filed Under: Wildlife July 22, 2022

BILOXI -- Across Mississippi, bats provide incredible ecosystem benefits as the primary predators of night-flying insects, while also being one of the most misunderstood mammals in the world.

Bats evoke different feelings and thoughts within different folks when they appear in the evening sky. Some are in awe of the flying mammals’ acrobatics, while others are hesitant to appreciate their nightly presence. But there’s no mistaking that bats are vital players within the environment.

a snake
Filed Under: Natural Resources, Wildlife, Snakes July 22, 2022

In my opinion, snakes are not cute and cuddly like some other wildlife, such as rabbits and baby deer. However, they do an important job in nature and benefit humans by controlling pests, including mice and insects, that can spread disease and damage property.

Snakes do not seek out humans, but we can and do come across them. If you happen to encounter one, it’s unlikely it will bite unless it feels threatened or you surprise it.

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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