Establishing a spring food plot for deer will aid wildlife with supplemental food after a harsh winter. Spring food plots are generally called an annual or perennial green browse. The term browse relates to the feeding habits of deer, where they will eat as they walk across the food plots. Planting dates for spring food plots range from January to May for most climate areas. The reason for this broad range of dates takes into account last frost dates and spring rainfall.
Collect soil samples from several locations around the food plot area. Mix the soil together. Dry the sample thoroughly. Deliver the soil sample to your local agricultural extension service for analysis.
Apply the herbicide glyphosate to kill any remaining green vegetation on the food plot. Mix the herbicide according to label directions. Spray the area thoroughly.
Mow the food plot to break up the dead vegetation. The organic material will aid in building the soil.
Broadcast the recommended amounts of fertilizer and agricultural lime based upon the soil test analysis.
Incorporate the fertilizer and organic material into the soil by pulling a disc cultivator over the food plot. Disc cultivators range in size from large devices pulled by a tractor or smaller units pulled by an all terrain vehicle (ATV).
Broadcast the spring food plots seed over the freshly worked soil. Attempt to time the seeding prior to forecasted rains as remote food plot areas will have no access to irrigation. Plant soybeans from April through July at a rate of 45 to 60 lbs. per acre. Alfalfa is spread between February and May at a rate of 12 to 15 lbs. per acre. Clovers are also planted during the same time with a rate of eight to 10 lbs. per acre.
Plant spring oats in late fall during the months of August and September at a rate of 100 lbs. per acre for a spring forage. Deer will eat the green tops of the oat plants, but many of the plants will yield seed heads for a spring fodder crop.