The Ultimate Food Plot for 2010 Season
Before you make your final planting decisions, consult with an area agronomist to make sure your selection will grow well in the climate and soils where you hunt. These professionals can also offer some advice on the varieties of clover to plant based on these same considerations. Be sure to inquire about the best time to plant, as this can be critical. Most major universities have agriculture extension offices that provide this basic information for free.
We should first realize that forage quality is site-specific and directly correlates to soil and climate. It is amazing to me why some retailers try to sell Southern plants in Northern climates. In addition to the total waste of time and money, many retailers conveniently forget to inform hunters that all seeds may not necessarily grow in all soil classifications. Thus, retailers have made big dollars from many uninformed hunters looking for a quick fix.
Here is my perfect planting scenario. If you have a low or moderate deer density and enough rainfall each year to support corn, split the field in half and plant clover on one half and corn on the other. Deer get great summer food from the clover and you provide a strong fall and winter attractor with the corn. Two and a half acres of corn isn’t a lot so be prepared to see it disappear fast starting in November unless your deer numbers are really low. For your information: a football field is about 1.5 acres, so that should give you some idea of the size of the ground we are talking about.
Total cost for five acres: about $325 the first year and about $225 each year after until the clover thins out. At that point, you can simply rotate the two crops and start over. This assumes you pinch pennies and can borrow the equipment or get someone to put it in for nothing.
If you expect high deer utilization (from a high deer density or a lack of other food sources) and/or your area has insufficient rainfall to support corn, I recommend soybeans for 60% of the plot (three acres) and clover on the remaining 40%. This will assure a good deal of summer food as well as a fall and winter attractor. Also consider drilling winter wheat into the thinnest parts of the bean field once the beans have filled in and started to dry down. As long as you don’t work the ground, the beans will still be available but the addition of the winter grain planting will improve the overall efficiency of the plot.
Total cost for five acres: about $400 for the first year and about $325 for each year after. This assumes that about half the bean plot will be planted to winter grain each fall and that you can get the work done for free.
Planting food plots is a lot of fun and taking on the role of a steward is satisfying, but improving your hunting area is not cheap nor should the decision of what to plant be taken lightly.
Within the past 10 years, vast amounts of information have been published on "sure-fire" methods to improve the nutritional quality of available forage for whitetail deer. Although this article could never attempt to explain everything involved with a deer's nutrition it should shed some light on the basics of improving deer forage from a hunter's point of view.
If your looking for a great book that will show you some great ideas and if applied correctly will guarantee you a successful hunting season check out "Food Plots Made Easy" written by Dr Jud Mcfarlen.
Get your copy now at http://deerhuntinginfo.net/category/free-deer-hunting-ebooks/