Food plots play an important role in the drive towards healthy animals and bigger bucks. They can transform deer management on tracts big or small. What’s the big difference between food plots and native vegetation?
On average, native vegetation will produce about 200 to 300 pounds of deer food annually. However, they can only use about 100 pounds per acre without destroying the area. An adult deer will consume 6 pounds of feed per day. That is 2,190 pounds of feed per year. So, one deer will need roughly 22 acres.
Protein content will be approximately 6% to 12%. Most biologists agree that deer need about 16% protein to express their potential. This is especially true during fawn rearing and antler growth. Due to the lack of proper protein levels in native vegetation deer will not reach their full potential for body and antler size not to mention their health.
Many feel that dumping corn or protein pellets out is the key. Supplemental feeding has its place and is very important. But even if you do it right it is shown that deer will only consume 20% to 25% of their diet from the supplemental feed.
Food Plots Can Provide 75-80% of a Deer’s Diet
Remember deer will only consume 20% to 25% of their diet in supplemental feed. Studies have shown that they will consume approximately 75% to 80% of their diet in food plot crops. There are two reasons. First, it is more like browsing to them and deer are naturally browsers. Second, is the quality of the forage. Food plots produce forage that is much more palatable and digestible then native vegetation.
Planting food plots gets you a lot of bang for your buck. Not only will food plots decrease the average home range size for each deer but significantly increase your property’s carrying capacity. Food plots are going to supply above the necessary 16% protein so your deer will have a chance to express their true health and antler growing potential.
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