Deer densities are a huge factor into what deer are eating, and figuring out exactly how much seed to plant can be a tricky topic for your food plot. In my case, there is way too many deer per square mile and I worry about the carrying capacity going into the winter. The natural browse is not enough. We never have acorns on the ground in November like some areas.
I had a few conversations this past week on this topic. Every farm and case is different. This is why i always ask where people live and what is their deer density before getting too deep into what they should plant. I have clients where you might see 100 deer in a field eating and then 20 miles down the road, they are lucky to see deer during gun season. Wolves, coyotes, bear, the weather, hunting pressures are all factors that come into play.
My goal is to supplement 1/4 of the deer's yearly diet with food plot forages. Knowing how many deer and how much land we are dealing with gets my mind whiling. Note, during the peak of the farm crop growing season, there might only be 1/8 of the deer herd's diet coming from my food plots.
So, I know I will have 50 deer eating from November on in the core area, as the crops come off. I am looking at 1 lb. of dry matter per head per day that I want available. That is 5 lbs./head/day of "wet matter". So every day I know I need 250 lbs. of clovers, alfalfas, brassicas, grains and forbs out there. In my case that amounts to 15000 lbs. I need till Jan 1. (then deer scatter some due to snowmobiling pressures and their metabolisms are well changed.
I need 7 1/2 ton of forage for my food plot. If I am conservative and have stockpiled 2 ton of forage per acre, I would need 3.75 acres of food plots in that area. That is what I have and always plan for.
so I’d use a generic number of .1 acre of food plots per deer that lived in the core area you own. That would be my ideal number.