Throughout the South, food plots are primarily planted for deer. Other wildlife can benefit from the forage in deer food plots, but deer are the focus. One of the first steps in creating attractive forage is selecting a quality deer food plot seed.
One of the first steps in creating attractive forage is selecting a quality deer food plot seed.
We spoke with Daniel Bumgarner at Wildlife Management Solutions to find out just what makes for attractive forage throughout deer season. “At Wildlife Management Solutions (WMS) we offer a variety of premium deer food plot seed that will perform in any soil type around the South. The proper seed types, when planted properly will provide forage throughout the deer season.
Archery hunters will want a fast growing and high forage producing deer food plot seed. Daikon Radishes are hard to beat for the early season. They don’t store a lot of starch. It doesn’t take cold weather to make the radish attractive and palatable to deer. Daikon radish also produces a lot of forage tonnage.
Cereal grains are another early season forage that produces early. Oats will sprout quickly and there is a lot of growth in 3- to 4- weeks. WMS Tritic Oat and Black Oat are two types of deer food plot seed that grow quickly in most soil types and continue to produce through the winter months.
Various deer food plot seed blends are great for late season plots that will last through the gun deer season. Clovers mixed with cereal grains and brassicas will produce good forage throughout the winter and early spring.
Annuals clovers produce more tonnage and can carry over into the spring. Frosty Berseem and Fixation Balansa clovers are two fairly new clovers available from WMS. The Fixation Balansa is sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s clover.” Both varieties perform in late winter plots and on into spring.
WMS Clover Feast blend contains both Frosty Berseem Clover and Fixation Balansa Clover. In recent deer preference trials at Mississippi State University, Frosty Berseam was the top preference and Fixation was second for drawing in deer.
Another clover for deer food plots is MiHi Persian. This is an annual clover and is highly preferred by deer. It is tolerant to water-logged soils and creates a palatable forage from winter into early summer. MiHi has a very sweet aroma in the spring when it begins to bloom.
Winter peas have long been a favorable addition to deer food plots in food plot blends. Some varieties don’t hold up well in cold weather. However, the Frostmaster and the Seceda pea are two varieties that can withstand the cold. These peas are also palatable to deer.”
Hunters attempting to establish a food plot in a remote area not accessible to a tractor or tillage equipment may want to try no-till or “throw and grow” . An important factor to success with any deer food plot is good seed-to-soil contact. If the seed is not on or in the soil it will not germinate.
“For no-till food deer food plot seed, hunters will want to focus on small seed types. Clovers and brassicas are good choices in this situation. Crimson Clover is better for low pH soils. Fixation Balansa clover also does well in various soil types. Both varieties of clover can handle some shade which makes them better for less open areas in woodlands.”
Deer food plot seed blends have long been popular among deer hunters. And there are many different blends on the market. Some hunters may choose to mix or blend their own plot seed. This may see less than desired results.
“At WMS we offer an Alabama Blend specifically designed and tested for deer in our state. The WMS Alabama Blend is an eight-part mix of seed that includes selected wheat, oats, forage Triticale, forage winter peas, Daikon radishes, and annual clovers. WMS Alabama Blend will provide quick growing attractive forage and will keep deer coming in all season long.
Plan your planting times for your plots based on the season. Archery plants can be planted as late as early October. While food plots for rifle hunters can be planted into November.
“Planting time is another critical aspect of good quality food plots. Hunters shouldn’t plant by the calendar, but rather by the weather. Soil moisture is important in germination and growth of young plants. Hunters should watch the weather forecast and plan their planting ahead of a rain.
Fertilizer is another factor in producing good forage in food plots. Most plot locations will need around 300 pounds per acre of 13-13-13 fertilizer. Also, to give a boost to your plots add some 34-0-0 fertilizer about 60- to 70- days after planting. This application will give the plants some new growth and palatability.”
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