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Four Keys to Successful Small Food Plots

FOOD PLOTS | JULY 01, 2018

Game animals need three things to thrive: cover, water and food. Planting food plots is really farming for wildlife. You plant food plots for deer to improve the health, size, antler strength and bulk, and to generally enhance the natural habitat. Turkey hunters, deer hunters, moose hunters, duck hunters, quail hunters and every other type of game hunter can benefit from planting food plots.

In many cases tractors and other traditional farming equipment fit the bill. However, game biologists believe that smaller food plots in remote places work as well or better than large green fields. The animals are more likely to use smaller plots because they are less exposed.

A small wildlife food plot requires the same care and attention as large green fields. Here are four things that will help improve the production of your small food plots:

  1. Be sure to choose a place that gets a minimum of four hours of sunlight a day. It doesn’t have to be full sun (that is better, of course) but good, bright sunlight is a must. A good size for a small food plot is 20 feet by 80 feet.
  2. Always prepare the soil by plowing, smoothing and firming the seedbed. All terrain behicles can be very effective tools in the planting and preparation of small food plots because they can go places a tractor can’t.
  3. Always lime and fertilize the soil. Most woodland soils are low in phosphorus and tend to be acidic. A soil test will tell you how much to use. Information on taking soil tests can be obtained from your local County Extension Office.
  4. Broadcast seeding by hand or with a spreader can produce good results if you are careful to cover most seed no deeper than an inch and use a cultipacker or heavy drag to firm up soil after planning. Good seed-soil contact (adhesion) is essential for a thick, productive stand.

Remember, wildlife needs three things to thrive: cover, water, and food. Planting food plots is farming for wildlife. If you haven’t planted a food plot before, give it a try.

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