Soybean, botanical name Glycine max, is a legume that is mostly used for extracting oil. It is a popular low-cost protein source (contains 30-45 percent protein) for most animals (after de-fatting). This mild, nutty-flavored oilseed plant is also a favorite food for deer. Considering its high nutritional value, most animal lovers consider this leguminous plant as the best deer feed available. This is the reason why it is preferred by hunters and landowners for planting.
There are very few choices in warm-season forage for deer that are as valuable as soybeans. This strong-flavored legume also promotes rich milk production in female deer. Not only the seeds, but the leaves are also a rich source of protein. Hence, whether the deer feed on the foliage or the seed pot of the plants, they get the benefit of protein. If you are residing near the woods and have a passion for deer, then you can enjoy the view of these animals grazing right in your yard by planting this plant.
This plant is used for attracting deer into the plot. Two basic plant types are used. The first is bobwhite soybeans, which is most frequently planted for attracting deer and quails. Being a climber, this variety is best grown with other sturdy crops like sorghum, corn, and sunflower. On maturity, the small, protein-rich seeds turn greenish brown in color.
Another variety is the Laredo type, which produces a higher amount of green plant material than the other varieties. It is tolerant to a wide range of environmental conditions, and usually gives a very high yield. The small black seeds are rich in protein, but contain less oil and fat. Similar to the bobwhite variety, this one is also best planted with other food plot plants.
Planting in Plots
Planting deer food plots is best done during early fall. Though a soybean plant can grow in any soil, it grows best in well-drained soil. Select the plantation site accordingly (preferably 3-5 acres). You can use approximately 1 pound of seeds for 1,000 square feet of land. Provided that there is enough moisture, the seeds germinate within a few days of sowing. Deer enjoy feeding on these plants right from the time they sprout.
One problem is the deer overgrazing and killing the young plants. This usually happens when there are a large number of deer in the area. In order to prevent overgrazing, you can erect a fence until the plants are well established in the soil. Thus, as per the expected deer population that will be feeding in your yard, you can take this preventive measure to avoid overfeeding in the early stages of the plant's growth.
Even if you cannot manage to plant this legume, you can still attract deer by placing a homemade or any other type of deer feeder in your yard. If available, purchase roasted soybeans rather than opting for the regular, unprocessed ones, as the roasted ones are more aromatic and flavorful. By doing so, you are supplementing the diet of the visiting deer with a rich source of protein.
After conducting research and analyzing the results, soybean fields are specifically maintained for estimating the number of deer in a particular region. For better nutrition, you can mix the beans with other crops like corn, rice bran, alfalfa, oats, and acorns in the food plot. Or else, mix it with legumes for adding to the deer feeder.