So the food plots that you planted are coming in now. You are wondering were my efforts worth it? Did I add enough fertilizer and lime to the plot? What type of use is the food plot getting? One easy way to tell is to set up a small exclosure* in each food plot. An exclosure is nothing more than a small fenced in area to protect the plants inside of it from being eaten by wildlife.
These are simple to construct and can tell you a lot about your food plot. Simply take a piece of chicken or hog wire and wire the ends together so that it forms a circle about 3 feet in diameter. Drive two stakes into the ground and tie the wire cage to them.
Now you have a control area to measure how your food plot is performing. By comparing the rest of the food plot to the exclosed area you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how much use the food plot is receiving. On the other hand, if the plants in the food plot and the ones in the exclosed area are not thriving you may need to revisit how the food plot was prepped. Did you do a soil test? Did it receive the proper amount of lime and fertilizer? Make note of how well the food plot in the control area performs, so you can make some changes in how it is planted for next season.
*exclosure - An exclosure, in an area being used extensively for grazing, is a limited area from which cattle and wildlife are excluded by fencing.