If you're looking into starting your own food plot for deer, here are the food plot varieties we feel are best for deer.
If you've heard of an "annual" clover, sometimes you can get two or three years out of them, depending on which type you use. Arrowleaf clover has a really good seed rate, and you can get two or three years off of an annual seed. Berseem clover is also an annual clover, but it really doesn't seed itself well and you generally have to replant it yearly. Perennials like the ladino and different types of whites and red clovers provide different levels of nutrition and different forage levels based on the time of year. A combination of all those varieties can do wonders for your food plot. Clover is more of a cool season plant so it does really well in the spring and fall months.
Alfalfa is another plant that loses its effectiveness in the later fall and the winter because the plants get really stemmy and the deer just don't prefer it. Yet, during the spring and summer alfalfa can be a great protein source, highly digestible, and deer really seem to enjoy it. You can also make some extra money with the alfalfa by having a farmer farm it and do alfalfa bales, or keep it for yourself if you have cows.
The downside to alfalfa is that it requires a little more fertilizer than other plants. If you're going to plant chicory or alfalfa, they will require better drained soil. Clover can grow just about anywhere, and it doesn't mind the shade. Certain strains of clover don't mind wet soil, either.
There are a lot of different deer food you can plant for spring, summer, and fall forage. These are the ones Midwest Whitetail feel are universally best for keeping your deer herd healthy and having a good palatable food source throughout the year.
Of course, there are other food varieties such as corn, soybeans, and sorghum. Those require more work, more sprayings, and more fertilizing. Small plots like that generate a lot of browse pressure from deer, depending on where you're setting them up, and you'll most likely need fencing. Clover might be a better option when you're starting out.
The best thing is to go out and try what you think is best, learn from it, and build off of it. Food plotting comes with a lot of hard work, and a lot of trial and error. You can learn a ton about what the deer prefer on your property just by going out and trying something. Give it a try, and we hope you get that big buck this fall!