Food plot planting can be very beneficial to your fall and spring activities. As for Chip Flory, he decided it was time to shut down the horse business and turn the pasture into a food plot area for himself, Emily, and Tom to hunt. Some people may think that they don’t have enough land to make a food plot area and make it beneficial. I would say Chip would disagree with that. He has managed to turn a half an acre into the ultimate feeding spot for the whitetail and turkey in their part of Iowa.
It all started with the help of the Outdoors on the Farm pro staffer Scott Rofles. He traveled up to the Flory acreage to help them pick the right seed to grow and how to break up their food plot. To start planting a food plot you really need to know your land in and out. The first thing that you must do is do a soil test. This will help you understand what types of seed will be sustainable in your area.
All food plots need to be adjacent to heavy cover. This will help bring turkeys into the area in the spring with their young, along with many other benefits. Having heavy cover will increase your odds of your plot holding a lot of insects. A young turkey’s diet consists of mostly insects the first couple of weeks and this will keep them coming back for years to come. Secondly, the animals need to feel protected coming into your plot. Having a small open area surrounded by brush and timber land will help your plot bring in more wildlife.
Now before you go out and copy exactly what Chip did you want to make sure your food plot is the exact same as his. Most likely, this isn’t the case. Every food plot is different and should be set up differently depending on the shape and design of your area. As for Chip’s ground, he has a long, narrow strip of land with cedar trees on the west side and a timber line on the east. The ground is about a half an acre in length. So for many linear plots a lot of the concepts will be the same. Scott advised Chip to break his plot up into three main sections.
- First Chip had to make a divider because he could literally walk 200 yards from his house, through his front yard, and into the food plot. Scott suggested he plant cedar trees for a long term divider but as for the short term affect he could plant a couple of rows of corn, sorghum or sunflowers.
- As for his first section, Scott decided on planting a clover mix of red clover, Dutch clover, and ladino clover. Clover is a very fine seed and will need nice distribution and a light disking to be planted. After that, the stuff grows like wildfire. Clover is going to attract whitetail and turkeys to Chip’s area. Scott also said planting a light cover grass like timothy would help hold dense cover in this area. Planting can be done in August or September to be ready for spring seasons or as early as May for your fall seasons.
- Chip’s second section is right where Emily and Thomas have positioned their ground blind (depending on the wind of course) and it is most populated with wildlife, usually. Scott said planting winter wheat for this section would be perfect; it’s cheap, easy to plant, and shows quick results. Winter wheat grows extremely fast, and Tom started noticing more whitetail and turkey in his area only a month after planting. As for tillage you will only need a light disking and you will need to distribute the seed heavily. This will help with thick cover and the whitetails absolutely love it!
- The last section is more for our late hunting seasons for whitetail. Emily and Tom both enjoy bow hunting and Chip made this area specific for some great winter action. Brassica is a turnip and planting it is a great way to bring in the whitetail. Whitetail will come in and eat the foliage first then come back and dig up the bulb. It makes for a great variety for the deer and keeps them coming back to your area.
This area was planted in May and is already looking great for our fall hunts. Emily and Tom have caught some great action on the trail cameras and can’t wait to try out the area starting with bow season! They will definitely be fighting for time in the blind and may even have to share the time together to see action this spot is going to bring in.
To see more pictures from wildlife caught on trail cameras and more pictures of the food plot check out our website at www.outdoorsonthefarm.com. For more information on food plot’s check out our other articles or check out our website.