If producing cash crops is the main purpose of your farm, you may wonder if there are any easy wildlife management practices you can put into place as well. You don’t want to spend a lot of extra money on them, and you certainly don’t want to take too much time and resources away from your farming.
Luckily, there are some relatively easy and inexpensive things you can do to improve your own hunting experiences or increase the value of a hunting lease on your property. By creating clover buffers, small food plots, strategic paths through your crops, and timber stand improvement, you can mix wildlife management with your farmland crops.
Establish Clover Buffers
Around the perimeter of your existing crops, there is probably a strip of ground that doesn’t produce like the rest of your field. Forest canopies keep sunlight from what’s planted on your field edges, and the paths your tractors and vehicles travel on may not even grow anything. You have to wonder, is it worth your time to plant all the way to a field edge?
You can use your field edges and even maintenance roads to benefit wildlife easily and inexpensively by establishing perennial clover in these areas. Clover is one of the few plants that provide a palatable, high-quality food source to wildlife nearly all year long. A perennial variety comes back year after year, so once it’s established it is relatively easy to maintain.
Frost Seeding Clover
Use a method like frost seeding to start establishing clover when the rest of your farm operations aren’t going full force. In the late winter or early spring, when you still have a few hard freezes in the forecast, broadcast perennial clover seed on top of the ground around your field edges.
As the ground freezes and thaws, the seed will absorb into the ground, and by summer you will start to see a new food source that wildlife love starting to appear. It may take a couple of seasons of frost seeding to see clover take over, but there is minimal maintenance required once it does.