Comparison of Three Ladino Clovers Used for Food Plots in Northeastern Georgia

We compared production, utilization, and protein levels of 3 ladino clovers (Trifolium repens) in northeastern Georgia. Three 0.2-ha clover plots were planted side by side in 2 separate fields on Chestatee Wildlife Management Area. Samples were clipped, weighed, and analyzed monthly for a 26-month period beginning in April 1990. All clovers were utilized very heavily by deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and other wildlife averaging 392 kg/ha per month dry weight totalling 10,210 kg/ha for the study. With data for both fields combined, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in wildlife (predominantly deer) usage among the 3 varieties: Regal (428 kg/ha/month), Imperial Whitetail Mix (383 kg/ha/month), or Osceola (367 kg/ha/ month). Overall use of all varieties was higher in a field (P < 0.01) with no other food plots were nearby. Highest monthly use occurred in June 1990 (1,107 kg/ha/month), May 1990 (974 kg/ha/month), August 1990 (887 kg/ha/month), and October 1990 (798 kg/ha/month). Production of Osceola (1,422 kg/ha/month) was highest of the 3 {P < 0.01). For both fields combined, May, August, and September were the months of highest production. Differences in height inside and outside exclosures were not significantly different (P > 0.05) by clover variety. Height differences were most apparent in November (54%), March (51 %), and October (51 %). All varieties averaged approximately 24% protein content. All varieties and mixes tested made excellent food plots for deer and other wildlife for at least 3 years. However, there were large differences in price. Regal ladino was the most economical followed by Big Buck (Osceola) and Imperial Whitetail (Regal and California Ladino Mixture).

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