Food Plot Site Selection
Site selection for your food plot is as critical as what you plant in it! Build it and they will come doesn't neccessarily apply to food plots. Soils can vary tremendously from location to location even lands located on the same tract of land. Selecting a site with good soils WILL have a huge impact on the success of your food plot.
A second consideration with regard to site selection would be its location relative to the habitat surrounding it.
The third consideration is the condition of the site currently. Is it a field, forest etc. What is there right now?
Lets look at the first consideration, the soil! Productive soils are those that have adequate nutrients, moisture, drainage! The first step should be to collect soil samples from the site and have this analyzed by your local coop or university to determine exactly how much minerals and nutrients your soil contains and the pH of the soil.
Fertilizer recommendations are usually also given with the reports. Do this for various candidate food plots and you can use this data to narrow your choices to the more fertile locations.
Another consideration other than the soil is what lies around your site! If you site is miles from woods then obviously it can have the best soils in the world but it still would be a poor choice for a food plot.
Obviously the choices are not usually that easy to see. Location... location... location. If the general area of the food plot recieves little deer usage then the usage of the food plot can be expected to be under utilized as well. Nearby thick cover even if it doesn't physically border the field is important. The more cover the more utilization you can expect to have.
The surronding woods can have detrimental effect in otherways. If your potential location is of very small size or extremely long and narrow the height of the trees on the southern side of the plot can prevent your plot from getting adequate sunlight.
So plot size will play a big factor in its success. There is no hard and fast rule for optimium plot size. A good rule of thumb is to make plots at least one acre in size if possible. Make them irregular in shape. And if possible have 5% of your land devoted to year round food plots.
The third consideration is the current state of the potential site. Tree and brush removal is long hard work and can get expensive. This often leads most to abandon otherwise very potentially productive food plot sites. This can be a huge mistake. Putting in the time to prepare a site such as this certainly takes some will power and a determination, but it will only have to be done once. Ask yourself if you will forever wish you had made the conversion? No better time than the present.
Other intangibles to consider are where are the other food plots. Food plots should be fairly evenly spaced across your land. Don't cluster them all in the same section. Also don't invite poaching by placing any of your food plots within view of public roads. Remember the poacher doesn't have to even be able to shoot from the road. If he can see a big buck regularly on his way home from work that is just a temptation that might get him sneaking onto your land.
Small plots should be planted with crops such as clovers and lespedeza rather than field peas. They can withstand heavier grazing than cowpeas, thus remaining productive throughout the year. Corn, soybeans and cowpeas are best planted in larger food plots.
Likewise don't plant lablab on your wettest soils. Lablab is drought resistant so plant it on the drier sites. Mixing and matching what you plant to the available food plot locations will maximize the benefits you get from you food plots.