Conservation Wildlife Management

Food Plots: Keep it Simple, Plant Clover or Alfalfa

If you’re questioning your farming decision for luring hungry whitetails into shooting range next fall, use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method.

After getting your soil tested by the county conservation district or another trusted professional, and prepping it for farming, consider a simple clover mixture. Perennials, like white or red clover, have distinct advantages. First, they can tolerate extended wet or cold periods. That’s something to consider if you live in the North like me. They are also more resistant to insects and if you have plenty of deer, they take overgrazing pressure better and rebound faster.

Alfalfa is another good clover option. It’s also a perennial and offers many of the advantages of red and white clover, but alfalfa is hardier and more drought resistant. That’s why many farmers and ranchers in the Great Plains and West turn to it for their main hay production. Whitetails flock to it and since it needs little care, it’s easy on your pocketbook.

Depending on the environment where you live, your clover or alfalfa plot will require fertilizer, possibly a herbicide treatment if weeds persist and at least one mowing. A mowing just prior to hunting season spurs new growth and will definitely help bring the deer within shooting range.

Companies like Hunter’s Specialties ( offer options such as their Vita-Rack Velvet that includes a clover mixture for maximum results. Consider clover for your food plot and forget the four-leaf variety for hunting luck.