How to Manage Food Plots

Overview

Food plots feed wildlife. Generally small parcels of land 1/2 an acre to 3 acres, food plots are planted with seeds that produce plants specifically for wildlife consumption. These small parcels of land are then broken into smaller plots that can be separately planted. According to the University of Georgia, the best managed food plots are those that provide food on a year-round basis. While providing and maintaining these areas takes work, the rewards are many in terms of wildlife observation and conservation.

Step 1

Collect soil samples from the food plot area on an annual basis. Using a shovel, dig several samples from around the site and mix the soil together. Take that sample to your local agricultural extension service for an analysis.

Step 2

Break the food plot area with a disc cultivator that is pulled by either a tractor or an ATV. Many manufacturers make a smaller disc cultivator that is easily pulled by a small ATV. Remove as much of the old vegetation as possible. This will include over-matured food plot material that is no longer a viable food source.

Step 3

Apply the recommended fertilizer and agricultural lime based upon the soil test analysis. Incorporate the material into the soil with the disc cultivator.

Step 4

Broadcast the recommended seasonal food plot seed over the ground. Attempt to spread the seed before any forecasted rains. Most food plots are located in remote areas with no access to water for irrigation.

Step 5

Inspect the food plot condition every two weeks. As plants are eaten down by the wildlife, prepare a new section of the area. Most food plots areas are broken into two separate planting sections. Cultivate and replant with new seasonal seeds. Rotate the food plot crops to keep a constant supply of green fodder for wildlife.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Soil test
  • Disc cultivator
  • Tractor or ATV (all-terrain vehicle)
  • Fertilizer
  • Agricultural lime
  • Food plot seeds for proper season

References

  • University of Georgia: Food Plots for Deer (PDF)
  • University of Tennessee: Growing and Managing Successful Food Plots (PDF)

Who Can Help

  • Mississippi State University: Wildlife Management - Wildlife Foods
Keywords: fall food plots, attract deer turkey, feed wildlife

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.