The Rustler: July 2022

Harris County Cattlemen’s Association

Monthly Meeting


Where: Harris County Agri-Center


When: July 26, 2022

7:30 pm for the Steak Dinner


Reservations:

  1. Call or email Linda Luttrell at 706-801- 6056 or email lcl343@gmail.com.

2. PLEASE DO NOT CALL FARM BUREAU.

3. Cut off for reservations is the July 21st at noon. 4. We will only have steaks for those that have called in.

**VERY IMPORTANT**

If you make a reservation, there will be a steak with your name on it at the meeting. If you don’t show up, we will have extra steaks that we have to sell below market price. Please make every effort to attend. This will help control costs for everyone. The cost of our steaks has increased by 30%. Due to this rising cost, prices for dinner will increase to $20.00 for members and $25.00 for non-members.




June Meal Costs:

Members -- $20.00

Non-Members -- $25.00


Online Resources:

https://georgiaforages.caes.uga.edu/


Planting and Managing Wildlife Food Plots

Steve Morgan – Harris County Extension Agent


Establishing food plots for wildlife is not a difficult process and can be done with minimal investment. Planting food plots is an excellent way to improve available nutrition and increase the carrying capacity of wildlife on your property. A basic understanding of the soil, the wildlife species you wish to attract, and wildlife food preferences will help make your food plots successful. When done properly, food plots can provide opportunities to view wildlife or develop a healthier wildlife population.


Establishing food plots can also be a great activity for the family. Food plots do not take the place of habitat management in general, but are intended to increase the quantity and quality of food occurring naturally in an area. Whenever habitat improvement is desired, other management practices (e.g., timber management, prescribed burning and discing) should be implemented as well.


Before investing time, labor and money, ask yourself why you want to establish food plots. Do you hope to increase the health and quality of the animals on your property? Do you simply want to increase your chances of viewing more wildlife? Is there a particular species of wildlife you want to attract? Once these questions have been identified and answered completing the project will be much easier.


When considering your site, give some thought to the size of your food plots. Your plot can be any size, but it should be large enough to be functional to wildlife. To be effective, your plot should be at least 1,000 square feet. No more than 1/4 to 1/2 acre of food plot is usually needed for each 20 acres of land. If your food plot is expected to provide winter cover, then plots of an acre or more are necessary. Food plots are usually planted in long strips adjacent cover areas such as fencerows, on the edge of the woods or adjacent to wetlands. Strip width can vary, but the wider the strips,

the more food and cover created for wildlife. The closer the food plot is to good dense cover, the more use it will have by wildlife.


It is important to take the proper steps when preparing wildlife food plots. Soil is the building block from which plants grow, and without proper soil nutrient levels, plants will not achieve their maximum yield. Soil sampling is the only way to know for certain the present nutrient levels and which nutrients must be added to achieve optimum plant growth. This is a very simple process. Using a shovel and a plastic bucket, walk in a zigzag pattern through your food plot. Take random soil samples to a depth of four to six inches and place the samples in the bucket. The more samples you take, the more accurate your results. Generally speaking, fields up to 30 acres in size can be sampled as one field. However, if there are varying soil types or obvious differences in terrain or topography you may want to consider isolating these areas and sampling them as separate units. After collecting all of the core samples from the area, mix the soil in the bucket and take out two good double handfuls. Bring this sample to the local Extension office. If the soil is moist, allow it to air dry before bringing it in. You should receive your soil test results within 10 to 14 days. The report will explain your present soil nutrient levels and make recommendations for lime and fertilizer based on the crops you intend to grow. Soil testing should be done yearly. If you have questions about your soil test report, contact your county Extension office.

The process for planting food plots is really no different than farming with wildlife as the objective. Food plot plantings should depend upon which wildlife species you want to attract and the seasonal requirements of those species. Not all wildlife species benefit from all food plot plantings. Certain food plot mixtures provide benefit to different wildlife species. For example, doves do not get much benefit from a clover patch planted for white-tailed deer.


The most important consideration is matching the planting to the appropriate soil type and moisture regime in an area where wildlife will be attracted. Start by identifying

locations on the property where the targeted wildlife species are often found. Then look for suitable sites for planting. The best sites are generally flat, where more moisture is retained, nutrient levels are higher and it is easier to operate equipment. Soil moisture is critical. It is very important to plant when adequate soil moisture is present to improve

seed germination and establishment. In addition, the best time to plant is just prior to a rain event. When it is dry for an extended period after planting, germination and growth are usually less than desirable.


The following are some common errors made when establishing wildlife food plots:

• More is better. Exceeding the seeding, lime, or fertilizer recommendation is a waste of both time and money and, in the case of lime and fertilizer, too much may negatively affect the crop. The recommendations for seeding and nutrient application have been researched and should not be exceeded.

• Not fertilizing. Most crops need applications of fertilizer to help them grow and achieve maximum productivity. Don’t assume your soil doesn’t need fertilizer. Soil test — don’t guess.

• Using old seed. Seed that is old may not have been properly stored and handled. Make certain to use new, high quality seed in your food plot.

• Planting agricultural seeds in shaded areas. Plants grown for agricultural purposes require sunlight for energy and growth. Avoid placing these seeds in shaded areas such as woods.

• Not planting enough acres. Food plots that are too small are ineffective. Food plots can be any size, but should be at least 1,000 square feet. Food plots of 1/4 to 1/2 acre in size for every 20 acres are a good rule of thumb.

• Planting too late for maturity. All crops require a certain number of days to grow and mature. If the plants are planted too late, they will not mature and will fail to provide food to wildlife.

• Planting seed varieties that do not match our climate. Because of climate differences, many seed varieties suitable for other regions in the United States are not well adapted to our area. Use plants that have been proven to grow in the Piedmont region of GA.


Establishing wildlife food plots can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Wildlife food plots are a great management tool to use if you wish to view wildlife, hunt or just maintain a healthier wildlife population.


If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at (706)628-4824.



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