For years, Scott and his wife have been planning and planting a duck food plot, and now that year, they’ve planted fourteen acres of wild rice on their hunting property. The idea is simple – more feed, fatter ducks. It was an easy decision – and the results have been remarkable. Now, Scott has 14 acres of rice, and it’s already producing fat ducks. Read on to learn how to plant a duck food plot, and get started today!
Planting wild rice
When planning to plant wild rice for your ducks, make sure you choose the proper variety. Wild rice is an annual plant, growing in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. Once planted, it will spread its seed and reseed. This plant is popular with ducks, but it does need a little bit of help from humans to germinate. Planting wild rice in the fall will mimic the natural seeding cycle and eliminate the need to store seed during the winter months.
Before planting your ducks on your wild rice food plot, make sure your soil is damp enough. This plant likes a crowded environment, so make sure your plot is in a location with adequate rainfall. Once it has been seeded, remove weeds using disking or herbicides such as Eraser-AQ. Once the wild rice is growing, flood the plot periodically with about an inch of water per foot of plant height. Once the rice has reached maturity, you can flood the plot at least one to two feet deep.
Millet duck food
If you’re planning to grow a millet duck food plot in your wild rice field, you should know what it will be and when to plant it. Millet is one of the easiest forage crops for ducks to eat. If planted in late April, it will be ready for flooding in September. During the growing season, millet will grow quickly and will produce large seed heads. It’s also cheap to grow.
While planting a food plot, it is important to remember that some species of grain are better suited for dry, drier soils than others. For example, rice will not grow well on soil that is overly wet, so you may want to plant a combination of both. In addition to rice, other food plots may contain other species of grain or legumes that are better suited for ducks.
Floating wild rice for 90 days
Floating wild rice for 90 days is a relatively easy method of providing food for your ducks. The rice is broadcast over a pond or planted directly into a seed bed. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension, planting the wild rice in the fall mimics how wild rice naturally seeds itself and eliminates the need to store seed during the winter. It also provides the ducks with protein and other nutrients they need to stay healthy and fat.
To plant wild rice in your duck food plot, you need to prepare the seedbed with a good mix of soil. For higher elevations, you’ll need less water in the spring and summer. Once the rice seedlings have grown to maturity, they’ll shed their seed and break dormancy, sprouting in the spring. If you leave some seed in the ground, ducks are unlikely to eat it all. But they will leave plenty for next spring. In general, ducks will leave more seed for the fall crop. The second year of planting wild rice is generally better, with a higher yield and less seed loss.
Smartweed for ducks
If you haven’t yet experimented with smartweed for wild rice ducks, you’re missing out! This plant has the same gross energy content as milo and corn. In addition to being great for ducks, smartweed is also great for scouting duck habitat. Wild celery is another great food source, and is an underwater plant that historically has been a favorite of canvasback ducks.
While you can plant any of these species in your waterfowl habitat, wild rice is especially popular with mallards, pintails, teal, and canvasbacks. These birds eat wild rice at all stages of growth. Sago pond weed is an excellent choice for feeding wild rice ducks because it produces more food than other aquatic plants. Sago weeds are rich in tubers and roots. Smartweed produces tiny black seeds, which ducks love.
WHIP for private landowners
WHIP for private landowners of a wild rice duck food plot provides financial assistance to help private landowners create a wildlife habitat development plan. Participants in the program agree to implement approved management practices in their property. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will cover the cost of initial implementation of these management practices. These agreements usually last for five years. The agreement must be renewed each year. In some cases, a landowner can receive several rounds of financial assistance for their project.