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Food Plots

Planting wildlife food plots is a common practice, especially for white-tailed deer. Many landowners or club members believe that a properly managed habitat and deer herd includes planted food plots. While the contribution of supplemental plantings to deer management should not be overlooked, more benefit can be realized through manipulation of native habitat. Practices such as well-timed prescribed burning of pine forests or proper timber harvesting techniques will provide abundant, high-quality forage and cover for deer at little or no cost to the landowner.

Consistently productive food plots require careful thought and planning before they are implemented. Factors to consider include the following.

  • Location:
    Plots should be located on fertile soils with adequate drainage. Cover should be located nearby or scattered across the plot. Food plots should not be established near a public road or waterway due to the increased possibility of poaching.
     
  • Size:
    Plot size and shape may vary with local conditions, but to provide adequate sunlight to meet forage production requirements generally should not be less than one acre.
     
  • Spacing:
    Plots should be scattered over the entire property if possible. It is more beneficial to establish 10 plots 2 acres in size than to have a single 20acre field. Cost may dictate total acreage planted.
     
  • Soil Testing:
    To ensure productive food plots conduct soil tests for fertilization and lime requirements. The local county agent (MSU-Extension Service office) can provide information on soil sample collection and where to send them for analysis. Be sure list the potential crops to be grown when sending in soil samples for testing.
     
  • Planting:
    Be sure to select a plant species or combination of species that will grow on the particular soil type and site that you have. If unsure, ask the county agent, wildlife biologist, or local seed supplier. Proper seedbed preparation will increase germination and yield more productive food plots. Plant crops at the prescribed seeding rate and during the proper planting season. It is critical that legume seeds (clovers, peas, beans) be inoculated with nitrogen fixing bacteria before planting.

 

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Food Plots Publications

News

Nine-banded armadillo
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife September 2, 2021

Armadillos are one of the most unique looking critters out there. These animals are covered in silver, armor-like plates that protect them The word “armadillo” actually means “little armored one” in Spanish!  

An adult male turkey is in a field.
Filed Under: Wildlife August 24, 2021

It seems that wild turkeys don’t like humidity any more than people do. That is a finding of a study conducted by the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center, or FWRC, in response to concerns that Mississippi’s turkey season was not timed properly.

Raccoon.
Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife August 2, 2021

The Northern raccoon, also known as the backyard bandit, is no stranger to Mississippi. Known for the black bandit mask on its face and its striped tail, these raccoons can be found in a variety of environments. They easily adapt to their surroundings, whether that be in forested areas or cities. 

Green Frog.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife July 26, 2021

Is it a frog or a toad? If you stumbled on this amphibian, would you be able to call it by its correct name? Many people believe that frogs and toads are two different types of amphibians. Technically, a toad is a type of frog! At first glance, they may appear very similar but there are a few differences that will help distinguish one from the other. 

Blue Jay with nut in mouth.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife July 8, 2021

Birdwatching is a favorite pastime of many Mississippians. My grandmother had a bird book she wore out over the years. I fondly remember sitting on the porch swing with her as a child trying to identify the different birds that frequented her house. Sometimes we were successful in finding the bird, other times not so much. 

Success Stories

Hummingbird.
Flower Gardens, Natural Resources, Environment, Water, Water Quality, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 2

Popular post

Hummingbird migration information reached more than 400,000 on Facebook, thanks to this post highlighting the featured Extension for Real Life blog post.

A man with glasses standing behind a table with shells, teeth, and bones on it.
Natural Resources, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 2

Extension connects landowner experts to identify fossils

The kids who dig in the dirt and rifle through the gravel do grow up, and many of them still keep their eyes on the ground whenever they’re outside. And, if they find an old bone or even a shell from an extinct oyster, they know they’ve found something special.

Three men and one woman standing, spaced out in front of a red brick building.
Community, Food and Health, Food Safety, Health, AIM for CHangE, Coronavirus, Nutrition and Wellness, Natural Resources, Fisheries, Forestry, Forest Economics, Water, Wildlife
Volume 7 Number 1

Four Extension experts named fellows in their disciplines

Four well-respected Mississippi State University Extension Service experts were recently named fellows in prestigious academic and service organizations.

A man wearing a green collared shirt stands smiling.
Natural Resources, Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease
Volume 6 Number 1

Mississippi became the 25th state with a confirmed case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in February 2018. Since then, state agencies have been working together to protect the state’s deer population.

A white sign with dark green lettering reads, “Monarch Waystation: This site provides milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation. Create, Conserve, & Protect Monarch Habitats.”
Wildlife Youth Education, About Extension, Master Gardener, Insects, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, The Story of Plants and People, Vegetable Gardens, Urban and Community Forestry, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises
Volume 4 Number 2

See what's new in Extension: a new monarch garden, a storytelling series will begin, the Garden Expo highlights Extension education, and Keep America Beautiful recognizes MSU Extension.

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