Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Golden rules for great food plots for wildlife

If you want to help wildlife through harsh winters, food plots can help. But there are a few key rules you should follow in planning and planting the plots to attract and aid your favorite wildlife species.
Food plots near escape cover.Food plots will tend to concentrate wildlife--both the species you want and the species you don’t. If you’re planting the plot so you can find a covey of quail or pheasants, you can bet that fox and other predators will also be looking in the prime feeding area for them. So escape cover needs to be close so that the food plot isn’t a cruel trap for your favorite species.
Several small food plots are better than one larger one.You’ll get more diversity of species with more locations, and the escape cover will be closer to feeding wildlife. But larger food plots may be needed if you have
heavy deer populations that wipe out the food supply before the winter is over. You want your food supply to be available to your favorite species all winter.
Guard against soil erosion.Steeply sloping soils plowed or disced for planting are exposed to water and wind, and will erode if precautions aren’t taken. See the Guernsey SWCD to be sure the land is protected against erosion. The District has a no till drill for rent that can be used to establish these food plots without plowing under existing sod.
Plant food to attract and support the wildlife species you want.Along with other recommendations, the SWCD office has information on the best foods to offer various wildlife species. The three common types of food plots are annual grain plots; green browse plots, and fallow
areas. Corn, grain sorghum and forage sorghum are favorite grain plots for pheasants and quail. Green browse plots with pure stands of high-protein legumes and grasses are used by quail, pheasants, turkeys, songbirds and
others. Winter wheat, rye, millets and buckwheat are favorites of migrating waterfowl. Fallow plots are disced or otherwise disturbed croplands that are tilled
but not planted, that encourage new annuals and weeds to grow that are essential to young quail, turkey and many songbirds.

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