Avoid Fall Plowing - Leave Food and Cover for Wildlife
Fall tillage practices, even reduced tillage techniques such as disking and chisel plowing, can eliminate waste grains and crop residue that provides important food and cover for species such as pheasants, quail, partridge, turkey, and deer.
Studies of harvested untilled crop fields show wildlife consume 55-85 percent of the waste corn and soybeans between fall harvest and the following spring.
The corn stubble and stalks remaining in untilled cornfields also provide concealment cover for pheasants, quail, and partridge, so the birds are not so exposed to predators when feeding in the winter, said Todd Bogenschutz, wildlife research biologist with the Department of Natural Resources.
Research shows even reduced tillage methods, such as disking and chisel plowing, reduce waste grains available to wildlife by 80 percent and reduce crop stubble by 50 percent or more.
Farmers and landowners can leave a free food plot for wildlife by simply not fall plowing their fields, said Bogenschutz.
“No till farming is a great way to leave food and cover for wildlife. Leaving stubble is also a great way to capture soil moisture for next year,” he said.