SW Mississippi - never grown a food plot before...

Hey guys,

I've been hunting family timber land for the past two years in Amite County, MS. This summer, we're planning on thinning it out and, while the crews are working, we are going to have them clear out a few spots for some food plots.

I know absolutely nothing about what to plant, when to plant, etc. Can someone enlighten me, particularly someone that might be familiar with the area? I've heard my soil has a lime deficiency.

Getting a soil test done will be one of your priorities. It will tell you so much about what you need to put in your soil for under $10. You can take the sample here and they will send it off.


It will take 6 months for the lime to work, so the sooner you get it done, the better. For a fall food plot, you'll probably plant in early October, but someone more local to your area can chip in. Below, you'll see some options and mixes for a Fall food plot.

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I think, depending on how many acres you will plant, some of it should be in a perennial white clover. You'll need to get your soil ph up above 6.0 for it.

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Man, that brings back memories. My first deer ever killed was on the Amite/Pike county border sitting on the branches of a big beech tree. The year Ray Scott started Whitetail Institute with Imperial Clover, I talked my friend's dad, who owned the property, into planting it. Those plots turned out great. In the 90's, on the other end of the county, just east of Centerville, I planted oats, wheat, cowpeas, sunflowers, ladino, and crimson clover. You can't go wrong with oats, wheat, and crimson clover. If you have enough area, cowpeas do great. On some plots there, I did summer plots of cowpeas of about an acre. They browsed them down to nothing by the end of summer leaving me a great seed bed to plant into.

But, you do need a soil test if you want the best results. Feed stores usually will send them off for you. Or, you can take a trip down the road to Baton Rouge, and drop them off at LSU's soil lab.
Where's your place located in Amite? I'm in Wilkinson Co., just west of Centreville (5 miles from Vines Brothers, as the crow flies) so we're neighbors! And I was right where you are when I purchased my property 7 years ago

You almost certainly will need lime - a soil test will tell you how much. Our soils tend to be acidic to begin with and planted pines only make it worse; my pH ranged from 4.9 to 5.1 - which is terrible - and I ended up putting 4-5 tons per acre in my plots over a couple of years. The co-op in Liberty should have a lime truck, which is the only way to go for heavy doses of lime. Lime takes a while to react with the soil, so you will want to get it down as early as possible! Once you get your pH right you can start addressing you P and K levels. I purchased my property in December, 2013 and finally got my soil to where I wanted it to 2 years ago. I simply could not have done it without LOTS of 0-46-0 and 0-0-60!

Ben Allgood's comments about oats, wheat, and crimson clover is spot on - although I would suggest including arrowleaf clover to extend your clover into June. They're tolerant of less than optimal soil conditions and even though I've finally built my fertility levels up they're still the backbone of my foodplots. And once you get your soil built up you can add brassicas (my deer absolutely hammer rape and daikon radishes) and chicory, which will provide food during our late summer stress period. If your neighbors are like mine they're going to tell you that all you need to plant is rye grass - ignore them and their deer will be spending their free time on your property!

I usually plant around mid-October but will plant anytime after Oct. 1 if rain is forecast. If you plant any earlier the army worms are probably going to wipe you out.

There are a couple of people from our area here and this place has lots of very knowledgeable people who are happy to share what they know! One almost local guy you want to pay attention to is Baker (his name is Rusty Baker) from near Alexandria; he is serious about growing quality deer and a tremendous resource.

If you have any specific questions please post them or feel free to PM me!

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You guys are all awesome. I picked up a few soil sample kits from the Mississippi State extension service this week and will be taking soil samples tomorrow if the rain holds. It's going to be a logistical challenge to get a lime truck back there haha. I'm excited, though! I reckon the co-op will have the seeds and lime I need also?