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December 07, 2020 3 min read
Do deer eat soybeans? You may be wondering the best way to create the right food plots for deer. This article will talk about how and when deer eat soybeans and why they don’t eat them sometimes.
Soybeans are highly nutritious annual legumes with excellent levels of protein. A given soybean field can provide over 25 to 35 percent crude protein, which is more than abundant for deer. If you are creating a wildlife food plot, you might wonder whether it is a great idea to grow soybeans alongside. So, you may ask—do deer eat soybeans?
The shortest answer is, Yes, deer eat soybeans. However, they don’t eat soybeans all the time, which depends on the season and deer food preference.
White-tailed deer prefer soybeans during the summer. It is one of their favorites at such times, offering just the right level of protein they need for optimal antler and body development. At this time, your soybean yields should be green and soft, making them easy to eat by deer. Therefore, deer may gobble the green pods and leaves. Nevertheless, you may observe that as the soybeans change from green to yellow, deer in the area may not eat them.
The yellowing phase usually happens around early September to October, when their more preferred food sources abound. The competition will get steeper as they can now access acorns, plums, persimmons, honey locusts, berries, apples, corn, and lots more. However, not every Fall is the same. There are times; the atmosphere might be really dry, throwing off the timelines, so deer cannot easily access acorns, apples, or other desirable food choices. At such times, you may find time to feast on yellowing soybeans. The chances of them eating the soybeans in the Fall equally increases if the soybeans were irrigated. In such cases, though, the entire area faces drought, the beans may remain in their green state for a little while longer, making them more desirable (especially considering the unavailability of more palatable sources).
However, they might return in early winter, especially if winter starts cold and heavy. At such times, your beans must have transitioned from yellow to brown. If winter starts slower, your soybeans may not be heavily foraged by deer until mid-winter.
Do also bear in mind that if you have a high deer population, a dry year, or scarce vegetation, the transition will not matter. The deer will eat everything, including the soybeans, regardless of the color, shape, or moisture content.
There is no right answer here. It all depends on some factors. You need to consider the herd numbers, soil quality, food plot acres, personal resources, and other complementary food sources. The transition between seasons can equally make or break your soybean plot. Therefore, it is widely recommended that you plant various forages instead of limiting yourself to soybeans. Consider cultivating mixed greens such as oats, peas, rye, brassicas, and clover. You can also add corn to the mix. However, it would be best if you also consider what your surrounding neighbors are offering. If your neighbors of-fer more desirable choices, deer might feed there for a long time, before coming to yours.
Do deer eat soybeans? Yes, they do. Soybeans are great even for food plots as long as you have weighed the odds. Always consider factors such as deer volume in your area, complimentary food sources, weather conditions, size of food plot acres, and lots more before deciding. That way, you can find the right balance in your soybean cultivation and prepare for different circumstances.
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