Success in hunting on your farm is directly         F   ive types of habitat occur                                        ...
Waterways                            Orchardgrass and brome work       Fence Rows      These water pathways are         we...
Following are some inland          If you want to make these           one-half to five acres, but they    wetland practic...
and cover for some species. The      Food Plots                           songbirds, barn owls, and as    waste grain and ...
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Landscaping Your Farm For Wildlife


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Success in hunting on your farm is directly related to how well you provide the basic elements of a wildlife habitat – food, water, cover, and
space to raise young. If you’ve done a good job, chances are you will have a successful hunting season.

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Landscaping Your Farm For Wildlife

  1. 1. Success in hunting on your farm is directly F ive types of habitat occur on farms – grasslands, related to how well you provide the basic elements wetlands, cropland, woodlands, and the farmstead. of a wildlife habitat – food, water, cover, and space to raise young. A study shows that grass- lands support 7 to 11 species If you’ve done a good job, chances are and up to 386 birds per acre. you will have a successful hunting season. Wetlands support 13 nesting bird species and up to 702 birds per acre. Corn and soybean row crops support 2 or 3 bird species and up to 88 birds per acre. Landscaping Using a few simple techniques for plantings and Your Farm land management can enhance wildlife habitat on different For Wildlife areas of your property which could dramatically improve your next hunting season. For more nature habitat information Visit these helpful websites: There are a number of cost- sharing programs available A Plants Home A Birds Home from state and federal A Homesteaders Home sources for conservation practices. Check with your Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and state department of natural resources for details. These agencies can also provide a list of inexpensive sources for trees and shrubs used to enhance wildlife habitat and improve soil conservation. Grasslands Following are some grassland practices that you can use to enhance wildlife habitat on your property:© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
  2. 2. Waterways Orchardgrass and brome work Fence Rows These water pathways are well and some farmers are These provide excellent cover usually dry and sustain flows of having good luck with native for birds and small animals. moderate to heavy rains. They warm season grasses such as need to be wide enough so switchgrass, big bluestem, Fence rows which contain water won’t divert around them Indiangrass, and little bluestem. continuous grasses, shrubs, and be protected from soil and trees are the best. erosion by permanent grass Waterways provide excellent Research shows summer cover. cover throughout the year and counts of 28.5 birds per mile. especially during nesting. Many a gamebird has been flushed For herbaceous fence rows from this natural cover. only, 12.7 birds were found per mile and for herbaceous fence rows with scattered trees and shrubs, 16.5 birds per mile were found. Fence rows can produce good cover, food, perching, and nesting, along with serving as safe wildlife travel corridors between areas of the farm. If you want maximum benefits, maintain two or three snags (dead trees) per mile for cavity nesters, plant a few vines or shrubs that produce fruit, add rock and brush piles, keep at least a 10 ft. width, and, if you have no snags, add nesting boxes for bluebirds, tree swallows, wrens, kestrels, and flickers. During the last two decades, the practice of plowing fence to fence has increased, making it difficult for songbirds and gamebirds to find adequate habitat. Wetlands Wetlands are simply areas that become saturated with water for all or part of the growing season.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
  3. 3. Following are some inland If you want to make these one-half to five acres, but they wetland practices that will strips especially attractive to can be larger. enhance wildlife populations wildlife, encourage herbaceous and boost hunting success. food plants and mast- If you want to host more producing (nuts) & fruit trees wildlife, enhance the area Be sure to check your state and shrubs. Dogwoods, around the pond with native wetlands regulations before winterberry, blueberries, grasses, shrubs, and trees. implementing any practices. viburnums, and elder are good choices. Consider adding one or more Buffer Strips and Corridors nearby food plots or leave One of the most important If you can till on adjacent several rows of unharvested practices is to protect the land, seed millet, buckwheat, grain nearest the pond. Also, wetlands from activities on sorghum, or corn and you will add a wood duck nesting box. surrounding land such as attract songbirds, grouse, turkey, and possibly waterfowl. If you are building a new pond, logging or cropland. leave an island in the middle. It Hunting near these areas provides a safer nesting area Maintain a buffer strip at usually produces good results. for ducks and geese. least 50 ft. wide around the wetlands. Do not mow or cut If your livestock will use the the vegetation. Marshland pond for watering, run a pipe If you are lucky enough to have from a submerged filter to a These strips can serve as marshland on your property, tank below the dam. filters for reducing erosion protect it, as it is one of the and sedimentation, provide most valuable natural assets visual screening, and provide Fence the pond to keep the on your farm. shade trees to maintain livestock from damaging the cooler water temperatures. banks and muddying the water. It serves as a nutrient trap Fence the area to keep that filters out herbicides, livestock outside. Consider seeding the banks fertilizers, and soil that washes with native grasses and into the marshland from These strips also serve as wildflowers. What you will be adjoining cropland. Usually you travel lanes and are sources creating is an oasis for many will find an abundance of wildlife. of food and cover for wildlife, species of wildlife from ducks especially wetland and upland and geese to gamebirds, deer, A good rule of thumb to follow species. songbirds, fish, butterflies, and is for every acre of wetland on amphibians. your farm, provide two to four Planting desired wetland acres of undisturbed adjacent vegetation to increase cover grassy nesting cover. and food can be successful, Cropland but is often difficult if plants If you are practicing good If you have no wetlands, you are already established in the conservation tillage on your should have five percent of your target planting site. cropland to reduce soil erosion, farm in permanent grassy cover. chances are you have beneficial If you have cavity trees and habitat for wildlife, especially snags in your buffer strips, Ponds quail, pheasants, and songbirds. keep them, they are needed Most farmers prize their farm By maintaining the crop residue, for nesting. ponds. Usual size ranges from you are furnishing both food© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
  4. 4. and cover for some species. The Food Plots songbirds, barn owls, and as waste grain and weed seeds are One of the most popular and dens for rabbits, woodchucks, food for wildlife during the best ways to provide winter and raccoons. winter. food for wildlife is food plots. If it is necessary to remove Crop Rotation Farm co-ops have an the old buildings, retain the Instead of continuous excellent assortment of trees and shrubs. You may even cropping, try rotating your grasses and grains that can be want to plant additional native crops. It will increase the health used for wildlife food and cover. trees and shrubs such as of your plants and add plant cherry, hawthorn, and highbush diversity. They include millets, berries, where the buildings were. lespedezas, soybeans, grain By adding legumes to your sorghum, and legumes, plus These farmstead sites are cropping program, you’ll add sunflowers, birdsfoot trefoil, also important habitat for nitrogen to the soil, reduce cowpeas, and crown vetch. squirrels, flickers, robins, brown fertilizer requirements, and thrashers, sparrows, catbirds, provide ideal wildlife nesting For maximum bird attraction, crows, red-tailed hawks, wood cover and food. try the grain sorghum. The ducks, owls, finches, deer, blue tuber heads grow as long as jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, Also, delay mowing until after there is moisture – often until cedar waxwings, and black the peak of the nesting season a killing frost. Then, when it snakes. – around July 15. ripens, birds will have a feast. Untimely mowing will kill Food plots should be nesting adults and destroy sheltered on the north and their nests. west by natural features such as wooded creek bottoms, Strip Cropping wetlands, or wind-breaks, that Another good conservation will prevent drifting snow from This article was written by practice is contour strip covering the grain. Thomas D. Patrick, President cropping. and Founder of the WindStar Wildlife Institute, a national non- profit conservation organization Here row crops are planted in Farmstead whose mission is to help strips along the natural Another excellent area for individuals and families establish contour of the slope and next wildlife is around abandoned or improve the wildlife habitat on to a grass strip. You’ve got both farmstead sites. their properties. erosion control and plant For more information or for the diversity. The trees, shrubs, grasses, name of a Master Wildlife and weeds found there are Habitat Naturalist in your area, The grass strips serve as beneficial to wildlife, especially please contact: travel lanes and nesting/ old, mature trees with cavities roosting cover for wildlife. and those that produce WindStar Wildlife Institute quantities of nuts, fruits, and Terraces planted to grass/ seeds. E-mail: legume mixtures also provide food, nesting/roosting cover Old buildings are used for and travel lanes. nesting by barn swallows,© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home