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Planting Warm Season Wildlife Plots

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August 26, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Taylor: Today, we're talking about planting warm season wildlife plots. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we're speaking with Bill Hamrick, Mississippi State University Extension Service Associate. So, Bill a lot of us like to plant cool-season wildlife food plots for deer and other species, but why should we plant warm-season food plots?

Bill Hamrick: The main reason for the warm-season food plots, that's ... in the late summer, that's a critical time for a lot of whitetail deer and even other animals. Plants are maturing, you don't have the tender green plants available or the plant parts available that are high in protein and things are kind of dry and it's just a point of the year or time of the year when there's just not a lot of natural foods available.

So, by planting wildlife food plots in the summer, these warm-season plots can provide them with some nutrition during this critical time period.

Amy Taylor: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Now, tell me what are the different things that we can plant?

Bill Hamrick: Well, if you're wanting to plant these for deer, the best thing to plant are legumes. They're high in protein, so cal peas, soy beans, there's a variety of soy beans developed for wildlife plots that produces a vine that climb. Produce a lot of forage, there's some other ones like lab lab and some of the deer joint veg. The lab lab's not very expensive, but the deer joint veg can be.

Deer actually prefer just good old bush style soy beans more than any of them. But the soy beans can't withstand the gracing pressure. Probably the most economical planting would just be good old cal peas, iron and clay cal peas.

Amy Taylor: Okay, so those are some things that you can plant in the summer. Is there anything else that you advise planting?

Bill Hamrick: Sometimes, people will do a combination. They'll plant a grain like sorghum or might be corn and then, they'll plant the beans in amongst them and so, you're providing both a seed source for birds and such and also the deer will use that as carbohydrates, energy. But the main thing they're going to need during that time period is when they're developing antlers and the does are lactating, are having fawns and having to feed those fawns, the main thing you need there is protein. That's the critical nutrient.

Amy Taylor: And you say that you recommend planting in rows to get the highest productivity?

Bill Hamrick: Yes, you can plant either way. You can broadcast or plant in rows. If you plant in rows or drill them, a lot of people don't have a seed drill, so that's not an option for them, but if you do have access to using a drill or a planter, planting them in rows can be more productive.

Amy Taylor: And planting in warm season versus cool season, what are the main differences here?

Bill Hamrick: Biggest difference are the weeds. Cool-season plots, I have never had to deal with weeds on a cool-season plot. Now, a lot of times in the spring when those clovers that were planted during the cool season, people will do some weed control, some grass control. But as far as warm-season food plots go, generally you have to do a pre-emerge application, herbicide application, and then usually you'll have to do some post-emergent applications to control grasses.

When you talk about the mixed plots, keep in mind that sorghum, corn, those are grasses and so, anything you get to kill crabgrass is going to kill that corn and that sorghum as well, so you're kind of limited in your herbicide use there. A good alternative to corn or sorghum if you're going to do a mixed plot would be sunflowers.

Amy Taylor: Okay, so plant sunflowers instead of corn?

Bill Hamrick: Yes. Sunflowers are a good companion plant, because you can still do grass control with the sunflowers whereas you cannot with the grain sorghum and the corn.

Amy Taylor: Okay, that's all really interesting stuff. Thank you so much. Today, we've been speaking with Bill Hamrick, Mississippi State University Extension Service associate. I'm Amy Taylor and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture

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