An Evaluation of Supplemental Plantings for White-tailed Deer in the Georgia Piedmont

In the southeastern United States, supplemental plantings often are used to increase forage availability and quality. We evaluated production and utilization by white-tailed deer {Odocoileus virginianus) of 3 warm-season and 8 cool-season agricultural forages in Madison, Morgan, and Putnam counties, Georgia. Eight 0.1-ha food plots were planted with cool-season forages at 3 locations in October 1991. Three warm-season forage species were planted at 3 locations in May 1992. Forage production and utilization were measured every 29 ± 3 days. Aeschynomene (Aeschynomene americana) and alyceclover (Alysicarpus vaginalis) were productive and highly utilized warm-season forages. Among cool-season forages, wheat had the highest monthly production from January through April. Ladino clover {Trifolium repens) had the highest monthly production and utilization from May through December. All forages except small burnet (Sanguisorba minor) maintained crude protein levels exceeding 16%. Agricultural forages that performed best were competitive with weeds, tolerated dry weather during establishment, and recovered from intense utilization during early growth stages.

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