NDA’s Guide to Summer Food Plots

March 20, 2019 By: Lindsay Thomas Jr.


It’s time to plant and manage summer food plots! Here is a quick guide to all the useful information available on the NDA website to help you decide what to plant, and how to plant it.

Editor’s Note: This page is updated regularly as new summer food plot content is added to the NDA website.

Species Options

Let’s begin with profiles of several species you should consider for use in summer food plots. These profiles are shorter versions of profiles from the pages of Quality Whitetails magazine, the publication for NDA members.

American Jointvetch: Heavy forage producer that can take the pressure

Alyceclover: Not a clover, but easier to plant

Buckwheat: Easy summer forage and soil builder

Corn: Fall attraction, winter energy

Cowpeas: Ice cream for deer

Grain Sorghum: Poor man’s corn that produces quality screening cover

Lablab: Viny legume that can take browsing punishment

Soybeans: King of summer forages

Sugar Beets: A warm-season crop for cold-climate regions

Sunn Hemp For Deer Food Plots

Don’t forget that food plotters in the northern United States can grow some “cool-season” crops in summer with a spring planting. They include clover, chicory, oats and alfalfa. These species won’t survive hot summers of the Deep South when established in spring but will do just fine in the North.

Seed Blends and Planting Tips

Now let’s look at some blending and planting techniques you’ll find especially useful in spring and summer.

VIDEO: The Benefits of Grain Sorghum in Summer Blends

Try These Warm-Season Food Plot Mixes

Planting Corn at the Right Time

Tips for Mixing Corn and Soybeans in the Same Food Plots

Can Milorganite Repel Deer From Summer Legume Food Plots?

Green Fields: 10 Ways to Grow Low-Impact Plots

Tips for Using ATV Disk Harrows

Cultipackers for Food Plots

Locate Your Best Food Plot Soil with this Free Online Data

Video: How Your Food Plot Soil Gets Tested and Why It’s Important

Winning the Weed War

More than any other season, summer food plots will face weed invasions. Here are some resources that will help in this battle.

5 Herbicides Every Deer Steward Should Know

How to Calibrate a Food Plot Sprayer

Avoiding Glyphosate Resistance

5 Reasons Food Plots Fail

Photo Gallery: Identifying the Most Wicked Warm-Season Weeds

Summer Food Plot Hunting Strategy

Many summer food plots can also be useful in predicting early-fall buck movements, giving you an advantage in early archery seasons. Here’s a look at GPS research into summer and early fall buck movement patterns.

GPS Reveals Early-Season Buck Movements

Overcoming the Three Biggest Obstacles to Early-Season Hunting Success

Good luck with your summer food plots!

About Lindsay Thomas Jr.:

Lindsay Thomas Jr. is NDA's Chief Communications Officer. He has been a member of the staff since 2003. Prior to that, Lindsay was an editor at a Georgia hunting and fishing news magazine for nine years. Throughout his career as an editor, he has written and published numerous articles on deer management and hunting. He earned his journalism degree at the University of Georgia.