View Full Version : what do i need to make a food plot???

November 25, 2008, 11:33 PM
this isn't directly related to hunting but i figured someone here would be able to help me. I have 10 acres of thick grassy field that i would like to turn into a food plot for deer. im trying to get more deer on my property. What implements would i need to make a food plot? do i just need discs and a spreader or is there more to it? i dont have a tractor anymore all i have is 2 4 wheelers so i was thinking i could get the kind of implements that you pull behind an atv. any help would be appreciated.


November 26, 2008, 08:28 AM
Depending on what the condition is now and what you intend to plant you can actually do some "no till" planting...
I haven't seen much on this board. But go to this'n here for that stuff....
There is a whole section about food plots there... tons of good info from some proven plot planters and many failure stories to save you money there too. Plots ain't cheap, seed alone is usually way over a dollar per pound with some seed runnin' 3+ bucks. Feel free to jump in asking questions on Boartuff.
real helpful guys... And you can tell 'em "Hdogs" sent ya;)

November 26, 2008, 09:47 AM
Along with food you need to provide deer with minerals.
I started one of these licks a year and a half ago and the results are very good. Two well worn trails to the lick, the deer have eaten the dirt in a circle 4 feet wide and 5 inches deep.

Printable version
Ingredients: Makes 200 lbs. for about $23.00

1 part Di-calcium phosphate, this is a dairy feed additive bought at feed stores.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $11.00 you need one bag.

2 parts Trace mineral salt, the red and loos kind without the medications.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $5.00 you need two bags.

1 part Stock salt, ice cream salt.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $2.00 you need one bag.


-Use a 3 pound or similar size coffee can to use as your measure for each part of the mix.

-Mix all together well but not until read to use, keep ingredients separate until ready to put to use.

-Dig or tear up a circle in the soil about 36 inches wide and about 6 inches deep.

-Mix your mineral mixture with the soil.


-Replenish in 6 months with fresh supply of mineral, and then each year there after.

Hope to see you in the woods this weekend. horntagger

by Allen “horntagger” Morris
This was passed to me from a private land conservationist from Missouri Department of Conservation in the county I have land in. This is just one example of how working with any game and fish department can benefit you. So now I am passing it along to you. You will be amazed on how well this works.

The ultimate goal of mineral supplements in deer management is to increase antler size and improve overall health of deer herds by providing minerals or trace minerals that may be lacking in a given area.

One mixture or home recipe of deer minerals we recommend to landowners is a mix of one part Dicalcium Phosphate, 2 parts trace mineral salt (loose), and 1 part loose stock salt. All of these are available to purchase at most local feed and farm supply stores.

Just to give you a little background on these minerals and what they are designed to do lets start with the Dicalcium Phosphate.

Dicalcium phosphate is used primarily as dairy cattle feed additive and other animal feeds. It promotes feed digestion, weight gain, and milk production, which is obviously beneficial to a lactating doe deer. Dicalcium phosphate contains roughly between 18 and 21 percent phosphorus and 19 to 23 percent calcium.

You're probably asking why this is important by now. Well if your talking about growing antlers on deer you need to take a look at what is the make up of a deer antler.

Hardened antlers contain 40 to 50 percent organic matter from mostly proteins while the most abundant minerals consist of calcium and phosphorus. The demands for these minerals on a daily basis can be significant for antler production.
In addition, a lactating doe's milk contains high percentages of both calcium and phosphorus to pass on to their young, also causing a significant mineral drain on the doe. What makes all this significant is the fact that phosphorous cannot be synthesized by the body so it must be provided in needed levels in the animals diet. This is where a mineral mix such as this could be very valuable if an area is lacking in these naturally.

Trace mineral salts do two things for deer. The first and foremost is it does have the salt/sodium to attract the deer and promote the use of the mineral. Secondly, it provides the trace minerals such as magnesium and potassium that are very important to herd health but are not found in significant quantities like others.
Stock salt is again like part of the above. It has the sodium to attract deer to the minerals. Most mineral mixes have salt as their most abundant ingredient since a mix of just phosphorus, calcium, and other trace minerals have little attraction to deer once mixed with the soil.
As for directions of use we suggest using a 3-pound coffee can to measure out 1 part dicalcium phoshate, 2 parts trace mineral salt, and 1 part stock salt. Mix all these together once ready to use but keep components separate during storage. Dig a hole in the soil about 36 inches wide and 6 inches deep and mix the mineral well with the soil. This should be replenished after 6 months and then once a year thereafter. Most use seems to be during the spring and summer months on mineral licks. It's a good idea to keep these areas replenished and stocked in the same spot to maintain use.
Because of shedding of the summer coat begins this time of year, the deer need the salt, and maybe next year you will get this out early in the year to help with antler growth and fawn health.

November 26, 2008, 12:00 PM
thanks to both of you. that recipe sounds like it might work and ill be sure to check out that forum. Thanks

November 26, 2008, 12:33 PM
SimonKenton, all of that goes in the one 36x12" hole, or how many licks does this make? Seems like a pretty large amount for just one 36x12 hole, especially when mixed with soil.

November 26, 2008, 02:42 PM
Four coffee cans does one lick=12lbs

November 26, 2008, 04:18 PM
I mixed up half of this recipe, or 100 pounds, and mixed that into a 3 foot circle in the ground. You can work that much mineral into the ground with a shovel, no problem.
Then, once a year, I replenish it with 100 more pounds.

Byron Quick
November 26, 2008, 05:16 PM
Ten acre food plot? No tractor? I'd find someone with a tractor and other needed implements and pay them to till and plant the acreage. I might also consider not utilizing the entire area as a food plot. Or even using the entire area but plant different strips with different food plants...not just deer specific but with other plants for other species.

November 26, 2008, 07:56 PM
Yes, depending on how many deer you want to have, you could do real well with just 2 acres of food plots. I was studying up on the Whitetail Institute's food plot instructions a year ago. As I recall, they said that one acre of their special deer clover would support 3 whitetails. That is, 3 deer could live on that one acre with nothing else to eat.
Since the deer like to roam around, and the deer will have other food sources, you probably would get 6 deer hanging around an acre of the clover.
So, I bet two acres would give you about 12 deer hanging around.
You might want to google up the Whitetail Institute. They are expensive but good, very informative web site.

At any rate I wish you well with your food plots, I plan to start some of my own next year.
I have 48 acres in the NC mountains. Not very many deer up here. If I made 2 acres of deer clover and chicory, along with my homemade mineral lick, I believe I could start taking 3 to 4 deer every year up here.
As things stand now, I have killed 3 deer in 6 years of hunting in these NC mountains. Boy does this crummy deer hunting make me miss the great deer hunting in central Georgia.

November 26, 2008, 09:15 PM
Depends on where you're located. In Miss. and Texas I plant wheat. You're going to need a tractor in my opinion.

November 26, 2008, 09:48 PM
It's hard to get around using some heavy equipment if it is thick grass. You can run over it with a harrow many times before it gets worked up enough to plant. If you have a Southern States or other farm service close by they can spray it and kill what's there, then you can no till drill it. But, you still have to have a tractor to pull the drill that they rent and they will charge you so much an acre to spray.
Sometimes it's more cost effective to just buy corn if it is legal in your state.

November 26, 2008, 10:31 PM
i might have someone with some farm equipment that could help me out. i dont think i would plant the whole 10 acres. id probably do 2 2acre plots in differnt locations with different crops. anyone ever used the discs that attach to an atv? i have 2 atv's with enough power to pull one. maybe ill try one of those.

November 27, 2008, 08:04 PM
The ATV discs aren't worth the trouble to hook up. It sounds like this field has been fallow for a pretty good while, if ever broken. You're going to need the weight of a real disc to break the ground. When I break new ground I use a subsoiler first. Saves a lot of time, but you need the implement and a big tractor to pull it.

November 28, 2008, 09:53 AM
Anyone have a problem with hogs tearing up a food plot?

November 28, 2008, 10:49 AM
"hogdogs" enter here:D

November 28, 2008, 11:10 AM
I figgered he'd weigh in. He must be on a siesta.

We have hog wallers and root'n areas all over my FIL's property. We've thrown the foot plot talk around, but I'm afraid we'd be wasting our time.

I wonder if a bunch of rye grass might make fer a nice winter food source to keep 'em from wondering too far and do it with a minimum of work.

November 28, 2008, 12:32 PM
The food plots for deer around here get hit a little bit but They like them peanuts better. They just finishing up that harvest now. 2 leggers though.... A buddy showed me a picture of a guy in his food plot off a game cam and there is no way you can get there without knowing you are trespassing.

November 29, 2008, 05:59 AM
My 5acre field was full of sumac and soil was very sour. First step was soil sample followed by spraying field with Crossbow. After about a month I plowed field with two bottom plow trying to rip sumac root bed out. Raked debris in piles and burned them. Disced field, limed and fertilized per soil sample then lightly disced again. Broadcasted Ladina Clover, drug a home-made drag over field. The only place I was able to use ATV was in the spraying and fertilizing part using pull behind implements. Rest done with tractor. Liming done by a fellow that does liming for farmers around here. I had to wait for him to do theirs as 5acres was to small for him to make special trip.Wished I knew how I could spread my lime myself. The powdered stuff wants to clump up in most spreaders.

November 29, 2008, 06:44 AM
Bush hog the grass then rip it up with a turning plow and then disk it. None of which can be done satisfactorily with a 4 wheeler. After it's been disked up plant clover.

November 29, 2008, 04:55 PM
Rereading this thread I decided to put in my 2 cents worth, a project I started 4 years ago on a 7 acre field. First I planted 1500 pine trees in a patchwork pattern which used up about a third of the field. I needed a place for a couple of cows so I fenced 3 acres, one of which is in trees. Fencing really doesn't matter as deer can jump cattle fences when they want to. With the leftover field I planted a dozen apple trees, putting them in little protective fences which look like tomato arbors so the deer wouldn't graze them down to nothing. I planted a dozen each of mullberry trees and chinese chestnut trees, all small of course, but they'll grow. The field already had pasture grass growing in it and I normally bushog half the open field each year to get rid of weed trees. But I use the patchwork method here as well so there are irregular patches of ground which are more or less weedy. Some of the trees coming up are persimmons, which I skip when I bushog.

I only disk a quarter acre in a strip 50 feet wide by 200 feet long. On this strip I put varying amounts of lime (depends on how much the soil needs on a yearly basis) and 120 pounds of 13-13-13. The fertilizer is disked into the ground and followed by 50 pounds each of oats and rye grass and 3 pounds each of red clover and turnips. I don't need more fertilizer because disking doesn't kill the regular grass and the organic matter left on the ground seems to hold fertilizer better than bare ground.

If a person was doing this without a tractor they could just cut an area of grass down short and sow the fertilizer and seeds but they'd have more seeds lost to birds.

What I've gotten is an environment where some does have taken up residence. They hide out in the blackberry thickets, sun themselves in the high grass and then come out to feed on the green field when winter comes. From time to time they invite a buck over for dinner and from time to time I remove one of them or a buck from the food chain. In the meantime I have a place for lots of birds, voles, rabbits and other critters.