PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks food plot program was developed nearly 50 years ago to assist landowners in providing winter food sources for wildlife. Landowners can receive free corn or sorghum seed to plant each spring, plus a payment to help offset planting costs. The program took a step forward in 2015, offering landowners a third seed option, called the brood mix.
The brood mix is an annual mixture of cover crop species (i.e. canola, flax, millet, radish, sunflower) designed to flower from spring through fall and produce seed for wildlife to forage on during winter. By flowering, the brood mix provides pollinator habitat that traditional corn and sorghum food plots lack. Pollinating insects (i.e. bees and butterflies) thrive in areas with flowering plants. Insects comprise nearly 100 percent of a pheasant chick’s diet, therefore making habitats with high insect numbers for pheasant chicks to forage a key component of pheasant production.
Landowners enrolled in the program still retain and may regulate all hunting access privileges; however, they cannot charge anyone a fee in exchange for hunting access. For more information and to find a habitat adviser in your area, visit http://habitat.sd.gov/ or contact a GFP biologist at 605-353-7145.
Seed is typically distributed in May, so it is important that interested landowners get signed up as soon as possible.