Chufa - Turkey's Favorite Food
Mention planting food plots for turkeys and you'll hear chufa mentioned time and time again. Chufa is indeed one of the best crops for turkeys. It grows well in most soils and takes little effort to plant.
Chufa is a bunch-grass with a peanut-like nut that grows underground. Other names for chufa are earth almond, ground nut, tiger nut and duck potato. Turkeys scratch up the tubers and feed on them winter and spring. The tubers contain proteins, carbohydrates and sugars as well as oils and fibers.
The goal of a turkey hunter's food plot is to create a spot that attracts birds during the spring. Chufa matures in the early winter and normally holds birds until late spring, depending on the size of your plot and number of other critters that feed on it. Turkeys, and plenty of other wildlife, dig or scratch the tubers out of the ground once the plant matures.
Planting and growing chufa is a fairly simple process involving broadcasting the seed and disking them into the soil. Planting depth is 1 to 2 inches, with three or four plants per square foot. Plan on using about 45 pounds of seed per acre, with 3 or 4 plants per square foot of coverage.
With most seeds, a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0 is best. Chufa matures in around 100 days. Good soil moisture is important and the plant seems to do best in somewhat sandy or loamy soil. Although it will volunteer and come back the following year, replanting each year is suggested for the healthiest food plot.
Planting is suggested from April to July in warm climates, and April to May in colder areas. Smaller food plots are best if you’re planting in an area with no feral hogs and a low population of raccoons. In areas with hogs and lots of raccoons hunters must plant larger plots due to the amount taken by these critters.
Hogs and raccoons love chufas, and will decimate a smaller food plot shortly after it matures. Beyond harvesting raccoons and hogs, there's not a lot a turkey hunter can do to keep his food plot for the turkeys.
Another difficulty with chufa is soil hardness. Dry, hard ground prevents the turkeys from scratching-up the tuber.
With new chufa food plots, turkey hunters may want to disk around the edges to turn up some of the tubers for the turkeys to find. Most hunters discover that after they’ve given the birds this helping hand, the birds find the food and know instinctively to scratch-up the food.
For help planting turkey food plots click here.