10 Steps to Making Your Food Plots More Attractive to Deer
.No matter what one plants in a food plot the seed you plant has only a small role in a deer's attraction to it. You as a food plotter can tilt the table in your favor to achieve success. Here are basic concepts to apply.
1) pH. Proper pH ranges affect nutrient utilization. If your soil is out of the 6.0-7.0 pH range, plant forages that tolerate being out of that range.
2) Fertilize according to the forages you plant. You need to have a yield goal for the forage blend and an understanding of that forage blends average nutrient composition. Without that you are only guessing.
3) Raise your levels of organic matter. Low soil organic matter levels reduce water holding capacity, nutrient holding capacity and reduce root development. All are important factors in growth.
4) Have alive soil. Even if you have a balanced level of pH, major minerals and trace minerals, if you have low levels of natural soil microorganisms, you will not be able to effectively utilize those nutrients in the soil. You achieve this by reducing herbicide use, reducing tillage of soil and keeping something growing on your land as many months a year as possible.
5) Split application of fertilizers. This helps in cases where mother nature comes into play. You may have lost a percentage of nutrients due to volatilization or leaching post planting.
6) Foliar Feeding. Provide that added boost 3-5 weeks after planting helps reduce plant diseases and insect pressures. You also will see an increase in sugar content and nutrient content of the forages you apply foliar plant foods to.
7) Proper clipping of perennials/annuals. Maintaining maximum nutrition levels of forages increases deer's desirability to them. Deer are selective browsers. Deer have little reason to eat over mature forages in favor of those more palatable.
8) Plant biodiverse mixes. Spreading out the maturities on a block of land helps. It also helps handle whatever mother nature throws at us. We never know if it will be a wet year, dry year, hot year or cold year. Planting a variety of forages, some that handle each of these situations, increases the chances something will be attractive to deer no matter the weather.