Jim Reed
Matt Kolling

Food Plot Installation

In terms of land management, there are three things you can control on your property to ensure a greater chance of success. The most popular and effective area to control is forage. Food plots can offer 365 days of forage, which encourage deer to remain on your property year round. Every food plot we plant is tilled correctly, fertilized to state agricultural recommendations and planted with fresh seed.

We believe that different forages should be used as tools to attract animals at specific times of the year. This philosophy allows us to implement a targeted approach to forage rather than a shotgun approach. In order to accomplish your goals, each one of our food plots comes with a forage guarantee and a free walk-through consultation. Contact one of our specialists to help you get started.

General Information

  • Legumes are plants that are able to produce nitrogen from the air. Examples include clover, alfalfa, soybeans, and peas.
  • Perennial plants come back year after year.
  • Annual plants must be replanted yearly.
  • A general rule of thumb: the smaller the seed, the shallower it should be planted.
  • Grasses need more nitrogen than legumes do.
  • Inoculants enable plants like clover and alfalfa to convert the nitrogen in the atmosphere to usable energy.
  • Deer need high protein forage sources in the summer and early fall.
  • Deer need high carbohydrate sources in the early fall through winter.
  • 1 acre = 43,560 sq. feet, or approximately 69 yards x 69 yards.
  • 1-2 quarts of Round-up per acre will kill most all weeds.
food plot installation
land management
food plotting

The Proof is in the Protein

1 acre of Clover Blend = 4000 lbs. of grazing forage = 1120 lbs. of pure protein forage Material Cost = $133

1 acre of Soybeans = 8000 lbs. of grazing forage = 1440 lbs. of pure protein forage Material Cost = $146

Protein Pellets 25% protein with 25 lbs./bag at $20 per bag =
4480 lbs. of pellets = 1120 lbs. of pure protein
5760 lbs. of pellets = 1440 lbs. of pure protein

This is a summary of the comparison of the left:

  • Clover = $133 = 1120 lbs. protein
  • 25% Protein pellets = $3584 = 1120 lbs. protein
  • Soybeans = $146 = 1440 lbs. protein
  • 25% Protein pellets = $4600 = 1440 lbs. protein

Material costs are calculated using full retail prices of nationally branded seed, fertilizer, and Round-up.

Additional Facts

Two types of plots

  • Hunting Plot 1/8 to 1 acre
  • Management Plot 1-5 acres

Suggested Forage Choices and Hunting Times

  • Clovers/chicory/alfalfa early season (perennial)
  • Rape mixes early to mid season (annual)
  • Small grains/rye/wheat/oats mid to late season (annual)
  • Beans/peas mid to late season (annual)
  • Corn mid to late season (annual)

Forage Upkeep

  • Most plants grow well if the pH is between 5.3-7.
  • Alfalfa needs a pH of 6.5-7.
  • Most plants grow well in soil that is not too wet.
  • Rape and alfalfa grow well in sandier soils.
  • Clover needs more moisture than other plants to grow well.
  • Fertilizing – Nitrogen (10), Phosphorus (10), Potassium (10), each number represents the percent of that nutrient present in that fertilizer blend.
  • It’s better to spread the fertilizer at half the rate you intend and go over the field twice in a criss-cross pattern than to try and spread all of the fertilizer just right in just one pass.

What to expect from your first year food plot and beyond

The key to successful food plots is patience! It’s important to remember that a food plot becomes more and more productive as time goes on. You can expect a good crop from your food plot the first year in production, but with proper weed control and soil maintenance, your plot will continue to improve. Here are some things to consider and/or watch for as you watch your first year plot.

Don’t be alarmed if your food plot doesn’t fill completely in or grow as high as you think it should. Deer are always looking for the greenest, most tender forage they can find. Deer and turkeys will search for tender, young green forage as the fall progresses, while killing frosts end the growing season for other plants they typically graze upon. By mid October in most areas, your food plot will be one of the best sources of nourishment. Therefore, many deer will visit a plot throughout each day. This type of heavy grazing will result in a food plot that is green and growing, but only a few inches tall and not completely filled in. The height of the food plot is irrelevant, as long as it is green. A green food plot is a growing food plot. A growing food plot will keep the deer and turkeys coming. They will continue to use a plot and keep it grazed at the height they prefer.

Although we’re not farming, a successful food plot still needs help from Mother Nature. Too much rain, a lack of rain, heat, sunlight, hail and overgrazing can, and will, affect the food plot’s outcome.

Material costs are calculated using full retail prices of nationally branded seed, fertilizer, and Round-Up.

  • pH: Your soil’s pH may take a few years to stabilize at the optimum level for growing your plot. You may want to consider testing your soil again next year.
  • Rocks: If your soil is rocky, you can expect rocks to continue to rise to the surface of your plot for the next several years. This is due to both working the soil and to the natural movement caused by repeated freezing and thawing of the ground. Rock removal will improve the condition of future food plots and should become an easier task each year.
  • Perennials: Perennial plants like clover need to be maintained over the course of a year. This maintenance may include mowing and/or spraying. Reed’s Custom Food Plots provides both of these services.
  • Wildlife: Ultimately, your food plot was established to increase the number of animals that come to your location. So, expect to see more of them and expect them to eat everything green and growing.