Last weekend, May 2nd and 3rd, my whole family participated in the planting of this years soybean food plots. I’ve talked over and over about why I like soybeans as a crop for deer, but I have always focused in my discussions on their attractiveness and ability to draw in deer. But there are other reasons I love planting soybeans. They are excellent as a green manure crop. Soybeans are perfect for controlling weeds in plots that are planned for a fall annual planting especially when using round-up ready beans. And, by planting soybeans in all your plots even the ones you plan to till in later for fall plots, you lessen the pressure on the beans you want to mature.
Soybeans are a great choice even in plots that are going to get re-planted later in the year. One reason I like the soybean is by planting round-up ready it allows you to keep the weeds in check. Then you can plant your summer brassicas or fall green plots on weed free ground. This photo is my dad spraying a small plot of soybeans about 3 weeks after planting in 2013.
The weather was perfect for our spring planted soybeans this year. Southern Iowa has been getting a lot of rain like much of the mid-west, but we got a small break from the rain and just enough to get my soybeans in the ground. Planting was easy….spread the fertilizer and seed—disc them in. That’s it.
I bought a new seeder this year that gives me a larger hopper capacity for spreading the seed and fertilizer in my plots. In this picture, I’m spreading either soybeans or a high potash fertilizer for the beans. Spread seed, fertilizer, and disc them in to plant soybeans. Nothing fancy about it. Note…this is a field that was in winter rye last fall. So, we chisel plowed the rye in first, spread out the ingredients of our plot, then we will disc them in. If you don’t have a chisel type implement, just disc the rye a couple times before spreading the seed and fertilizer then go over one more time to get the seed in the ground. Some of the rye will make it but will get killed off a few weeks later when you spray your plot.
In a couple plots we had planted winter rye for a green food plot for last fall. In those plots we chose to till in the green rye (making great green manure and soil building) with a chisel type implement and then plant our beans. But you wouldn’t have to…the disc would work but would require a few more passes before planting.
This plot was planted in two parts last fall. The left side was only winter rye. In this picture the rye has been chisel plowed once, and now my son Forest is discing in the soybean seed and fertilizer that I just spread. The plot on the right is a late summer planting of alfalfa with winter rye as a cover crop. We will leave the rye and mow it off in a few weeks leaving a weed free stand of alfalfa. The alfalfa plot is small…my hopes are that the deer eat it fast enough to keep it from maturing. I might have to slightly clip it a couple times this summer.
A nice stand of alfalfa coming up in the winter rye!!
Every food plot I currently have save one small interior plot is now planted in soybeans. In mid-summer I will take some of the beans and till them in and plant brassicas; and then in early fall I will till in some more and once again plant a mix of winter rye and brassicas. The soybeans hardest hit by deer pressure will most likely be the ones tilled under in mid-summer for brassica plots, and the very edges of exterior fields and all interior plots will get planted in the rye/brassica mix in early fall around September 1st.
One of the last plots of the day. Soybeans last year….soybeans again this year. This is one of the plots fenced to keep deer out until fall. Once the seeds and fertilizer are spread it only takes one pass with the disc. Fast and easy.