Wildlife Management: Soybeans for Deer

Soybeans can be great for supplementing white-tailed deer. Soybeans are warm season legumes that require more fertilization with additional phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in order to provide a high level of protein and growth. Forunately, soybeans can be easily planted from seed and will germinate in only a few days if adequate moisture is present. In addition, the beans can be fed directly to whitetail if purchased in bags. Whole soybeans can be purchased in the “raw” or roasted form.

Soybeans are often eaten in food plots by whitetail in both the foliage stage (green beans) and after the beans have matured. Some varieties of beans can easily reseed after the seed falls to the ground. A few varieties will produce plant material into the late season up until frost. Inoculation improves growth by allowing the plants to develop their own nitrogen.

In food plots, soybeans are attractive to deer from first emergence into maturity. They are so preferred that many small acreage plantings can be quickly wiped out by whitetail browsing pressure. Unfortunately, once damaged the soybeans will not re-grow from early browse pressure. As a result, you should consider fencing or repellents for small (< 5 acre) fields and plots.

In addition, soybeans are perfect for mixing with grain sorghum, peas, alyce clover or other warm season annual forage legumes in mixed-species food plots. When soybeans mature they will make high quality seeds for dove, quail, turkey and deer.

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