Do Deer Eat Sorghum? Food Plot Tips

As a passionate nature lover, I’ve always been interested in the diets of various animals, especially deer. One question that often arises is, “Do deer eat sorghum?” In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using sorghum as a food plot species for deer and if they really consume it.

Sorghum, a cereal grain similar to corn, is commonly grown for animal feed and human consumption. Sorghum is a good food source and deer will happily eat it.

Do Deer Eat Sorghum?

Sorghum is a cereal grain that is grown primarily for animal feed and human consumption. While it is not a preferred food source for deer, they will consume sorghum in the doughy stage, especially if other food sources are scarce.

Although sorghum is a viable option for feeding deer, it may not be as appealing to them as corn due to its different taste and texture. Furthermore, deer have the ability to recall their previous food sources and may not prioritize sorghum if they have previously consumed it.

Benefits of Using Grain Sorghum as a Food Plot Species

As a food plot crop, grain sorghum is gaining momentum because it offers numerous advantages. Compared to corn, it is relatively easy and economical to establish and maintain, making it a viable option for budget-conscious growers. In regions with scarce rainfall, grain sorghum is a desirable substitute for corn, as it is more drought-resistant. Another significant advantage of using sorghum is that it is full of nutrients that are beneficial to wildlife. With its high protein levels and substantial energy content, deer are sure to benefit from this nutritious food source, particularly during the autumn and winter months.

Nutritional Benefits

In terms of nutrition, grain sorghum is an excellent food source for deer. It is high in protein, which is essential for deer during the fall and winter months. It also has a high-energy content, which provides deer with the energy they need to survive during the cold months. In addition, sorghum has a high crude fiber content, which helps keep the deer’s digestive system functioning properly.

Palatability and Durability

Although not as desirable to deer as corn, grain sorghum still serves as a delectable food source for wildlife. A distinguishing feature of sorghum is its durability compared to other types of plants commonly found in food plots. The seeds of sorghum have a thicker coat that shields them from infestation and disease. Moreover, it is well-equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions. Sorghum also has the added benefit of being immune to lodging.

Planting Grain Sorghum

Sorghum, a multipurpose crop, has found widespread acceptance in diverse regions of the country. Its ability to endure droughts make it a clear favorite amongst Midwest growers. Soil drainage is integral when planting sorghum, and optimal planting months range from April to June in the South, while June is preferred in the North.

Soil Preparation

To prepare the soil for planting, it is essential to remove any rocks, roots, or debris that may hinder growth. Additionally, the soil should be cultivated to a depth of at least eight inches. This will help ensure that the soil is well-drained and that the sorghum roots can penetrate the soil easily.

Seeding Rates and Planting Methods

To achieve a successful sorghum crop, it is essential to pay attention to proper seeding rates and methods. When planting in a pure stand, broadcast 8 to 10 lbs of seed over each acre. However, if using a seed drill, it is recommended to decrease that amount to 5 to 6 lbs/acre. Ensure that you plant sorghum at the right time so that it will take approximately four months to mature.

Caring for Grain Sorghum Food Plots

Irrigation is a critical aspect of caring for sorghum food plots. When planting sorghum, it is essential to ensure that the soil is well-drained. However, sorghum still requires adequate water to grow properly. Therefore, irrigation is necessary to ensure that the sorghum has enough water to thrive.


The amount of water needed for sorghum can vary depending on the location and climate. However, as a general rule, sorghum needs at least 1 inch of water per week. In drought-prone areas, it may be necessary to irrigate more frequently. When irrigating, it is important to ensure that the water penetrates at least six inches into the soil to ensure that the roots receive enough water. It is also important to monitor the soil moisture level to ensure that the sorghum is not overwatered or underwatered.


When planting grain sorghum as a food plot, fertilization is crucial for a good yield. Fertilizers are a good source of nutrients that the plant needs to grow and develop. Sorghum, just like corn, requires a lot of nitrogen to reach optimal growth. It is important to note that over-fertilizing can cause harm to the sorghum plant, leading to reduced quality.In general, it is best to fertilize as close to the planting date as possible.

Applying fertilizers a few days before or after planting is ideal. One of the commonly used methods of fertilizing grain sorghum is through foliar application. This involves spraying a liquid fertilizer directly onto the leaves of the plant. This method is especially useful when there is a nutrient deficiency or when trying to maximize growth and yield.

Pest Management

One of the biggest challenges when growing sorghum is managing pests. Deer are not the only creatures that like to feed on sorghum. Other animals such as rodents, birds, and insects can cause significant damage to the crop.

It is important to employ pest management strategies to ensure that your food plot yields a good harvest.Grain sorghum is susceptible to various pests, including grass weeds such as crabgrass, broadleaf signalgrass, and johnsongrass. Thankfully, there are several good herbicide options available that can help control these weeds. Also, insecticide sprays can help control pests such as aphids, stink bugs, and armyworms from feeding on the plant.

Attracting Deer with Grain Sorghum Food Plots

Growing grain sorghum as part of your food plot can be an excellent strategy for attracting deer. The plant provides structure and cover, which is important for the deer’s habitat. Moreover, grain sorghum is high in carbohydrates, providing a good source of energy for deer, especially during the winter months.

Benefits to Attracting Deer

By planting grain sorghum as part of your food plot, you create a feeding destination for deer that can be controlled and monitored. By providing food for the deer, they are less likely to wander into agricultural fields, leading to less crop damage. A healthy deer herd can also help control other pests that may be problematic.

Risk of Overgrazing and Disease

However, there is a risk of overgrazing by deer if there are not enough plants to meet their feeding needs. This can cause severe damage to the sorghum plot and can reduce the yield. Additionally, overgrazing increases the risk of the plant contracting disease, which can be a challenge to manage. To avoid overgrazing, it’s important to monitor the amount of grain sorghum the deer are consuming and adjust the planting density accordingly.


So, do deer eat sorghum? The answer is yes, they do. While sorghum may not be a preferred food source for deer, they will consume it if other options are scarce. Fear not, farmers and hunters! Introducing a rotation of different crops and waiting a few years before returning to sorghum can reduce the likelihood of deer remembering it as a food source.

Overall, sorghum can be a viable food plot species, but it may not be the most efficient option for attracting deer. Its benefits and drawbacks should be weighed carefully against other options before planting. And remember, if you do decide to use sorghum in your food plot, be strategic in your crop rotation to keep those deer coming back year after year!

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