Are you needing to put a plan in place for your food plots? If so, we hope this article will help you along the way. Food plots are a crucial piece of your overall management plan. A lot of people think food plots are just for putting the wildlife where you want them during the hunting season. While that may be partially true, the biggest perk of planting food plots is, and always will be, to get your herd to reach its maximum potential and maximum health. At Backwoods, we definitely design our plots to maximize harvest success, but that is not our overall goal. With this in mind, we have listed out below what we believe to be an accurate guide to managing your food plots on your property. Productive food plots require some extensive planning and thought. We recommend that no matter how much acreage you own or lease, that 3-5% of that acreage is planted in food plots.
When you start designing your food plot program on your property, you should always keep in mind that there are several things that need to be marked off the checklist before the plan is made. Is your soil fertile? Soil fertility is a must. If your soil isn’t fertile, your plot will struggle to provide the needed nutrients, and in some cases, they may even die off. Does it have decent drainage? If the location doesn’t drain well, the chances of success are slim to none. Water and moisture are a must for the plot, but too much is just as bad as too little. Is there cover around the plot? Cover is very important. Deer do not feel comfortable in a plot that is out in the open. They like to feel secure and safe. Is there enough open acreage to support the quantity of deer? Ideally, we like to see food plots that are at least one acre. It doesn’t always work out that way, and we understand that completely. If your only option is a plot that is less than one acre, it is still better than no plot! If you are forced to plant smaller plots, always try to make more plots nearby. Small plots are sometimes the only option for a variety of reasons, but they tend to get over-browsed. This can cause the plot to underperform or even die off. Will adequate amounts of sunlight be able to reach the plot? While there are some varieties and blends that are more suited for shady areas, such as our Shady Patch blend, you don’t want to be completely reliant on that blend alone if at all possible. Most varieties and blends are going to require at least partial sunlight, so it is important to keep this in mind when choosing your plot locations. Is there another plot nearby? It is appropriate in some instances to have plots close together, however; the goal should be to spread your plots out as much as possible. It is always better to have more smaller plots vs. less larger plots.
All of these questions are important and must be answered before deciding on your food plot plans. It is also important to plant appropriate varieties and blends for your soil type and soil conditions. No-till planting is our first suggestion if available to you. A no-till drill is ideal, but this technique can also be accomplished by broadcasting into existing vegetation, spraying that vegetation, and laying the dead vegetation down over the seed. The other option is preparing the seedbed using tillage. Either way you go, seed to soil contact is a must. Germination rates may be lower if broadcasting into existing vegetation, so keep that in mind when planting. Always be sure to plant during the appropriate season and use the appropriate seeding rates. Planting one of the Backwoods blends that contain cereal grains as well as clover and brassicas is a good choice since the different varieties and species will mature at different times and will offer diversity for your herd. It is always a good idea to place enclosures in your plots to see how much your herd is utilizing your plot. It is recommended to put one enclosure per acre of forage.
We hope that this food plot guide has helped you in your planning process. If you have anymore questions, please feel free to reach out to us and tune into The Testing Grounds to see how we are managing our plots!