Soybean food plot | Living the Country Life

Soybean food plot

If you want a food plot for deer, offer them forage soybeans
Photo courtesy of Purdue University

I see deer out in the soybean fields all the time. They love to eat young soybean plants, and farmers hate that. But if you are planting a food plot for deer, you can't go wrong with forage soybeans.

Brad Doyle is the manager of Eagle Seed, a company that produces soybeans specifically for food plots. They aren't the same variety grown for production agriculture. The forage types are bred for higher tonnage per-acre, which is important under heavy deer density. Forage soybeans can take a lot of grazing pressure and still develop pods.
"Leaf size on the varieties we've developed are about three-times the size of a standard soybean so if we think about deer feeding in the fields, they're eating one of our soybeans for every three so the plant has more ability to overcome that," says Doyle. "Height wise we have an advantage because we put on more nodes per plant. That node is a point where a series of three leaves is developed."

Food plot soybeans can be grown anywhere standard soybeans will grow. Doyle recommends planting at a density of 50-70 pounds-per-acre. Put up a fence around the bean plot for at least the first four-weeks of growth, otherwise, deer will mow down the young plants.

Forage soybeans stay green until frost in the northern areas, but fully mature in the southern U-S prior to frost. When the plants die back, leave them there. The bean pods are highly-palatable.

"Because soybean is very high in protein in the grain form, 36-44% on average, deer like to come back and eat that all winter long," says Doyle. "So yes in the areas where seed production is made, they definitely want to leave them standing."

Learn more:

Planning and planting food plots for deer

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