The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Countless properties across Cleveland County and Oklahoma are being purchased for recreation, and most of these landowners are planting food plots.
While food plots are not a substitute for good, native habitat management, many are still interested in planting to attract and benefit wildlife. Deer and turkey are the two main species landowners plant food plots to benefit, but a wealth of other game and non-game species also benefit.
Many landowners plant cool- and warm-season plots. The location of these plots will determine their size and growing conditions, as well as the likelihood they will be utilized by wildlife. Depending on the availability and quality of native wildlife forages, deer food plots containing warm- and cool-season forages should comprise between 5 and 10 percent of the land area. This is equivalent to 5 to 10 acres per 100 acres of well-managed native habitat.
To overcome seasonal fluctuations in the quantity and quality of food, plant both warm- and cool-season supplemental forages. These provide deer with a high-quality food source yearround.
Combination plantings of grasses, forbs and legumes provide a diverse food source for wildlife and reduce the risk of losing entire plots to weather, insects or disease. Many commercially available food plot mixes provide nutritious and preferred deer foods, and you can see many of these in action south of Norman.
The Oklahoma State University Extension has teamed up with one local and six national wildlife seed companies — including Ross Seed, The Whitetail Institute, Mossy Oak/Biologic, Eagle Seed, Pennington, Tecomate and Evolved Harvest — to plant acres of their seed blends.
To see these test plots, attend the 2013 OSU Food Plot Demonstration from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 2. Stop by and see which blends you prefer and which ones best handle deer browse pressure. Copies of tissue and soil sample results will be on hand. The landowner will discuss the planting process and how he plans to manage his deer herd.
Directions are as follows: from the Shamrock station at the intersection of Highway 77 and Slaughterville Road (south of Norman/Noble), travel 4.6 miles east on Slaughterville Road. Immediately on north, look for the white OSU sign. Turn in gate and follow road north.
Call OSU at 321-4774 if you have trouble finding the demonstration site. Plan to arrive at 3 p.m. and wear proper attire and bug spray. Plan a long weekend and take the afternoon off — only 20 minutes from Norman and Interstate 35.
For questions or to RSVP, email Cherry Slaughter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heath Herje is an agriculture educator with Cleveland County Cooperative Extension service.