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
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal.
BILOXI, Miss. -- Individuals interested in learning more about conservation of Mississippi's natural resources can attend the Coastal Mississippi Master Naturalist class.
The seven-week course begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, located at 1815 Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi. Classes meet once a week at various locations through Oct. 17. Weekday classes meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Weekend classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- With the temperature rising daily, it is getting more common to spot turtles and snakes basking on the roads. Being aware of this change in reptile behavior can help drivers avoid hitting them.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Microplastics, very small plastic particles, in the natural environment have been in the news a lot lately, but there are many steps we can take to reduce this problem.
These tiny, sometimes microscopic, particles come from larger pieces of plastic and fibers from breathable clothing. They have been the focus of much recent media coverage and are the subject of ongoing research, including efforts at Mississippi State University.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Whether summer gardens are for beauty or food, this time of year is sure to bring wildlife into close contact with people's property.
Many gardens provide healthy and nutritious food for local critters such as armadillos, raccoons, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbits and a wide variety of insects. Gardens are usually easy for wildlife to access and offer an inviting buffet with such easy pickings concentrated in one area. All that time and labor you spent during the spring should not be tossed out due to these garden pests.