Forage Beans for Northern Latitudes

By GrowingDeer,

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Mr. Woods,

I noticed Eagle Seed beans listed on your web site.  Do you know of anyone who has planted them in southern Iowa?  If so, how did they perform?  Do you recommend different seeds if planting in Iowa vs. Georgia?

Thanks for your time,



I have clients that plant Eagle Seed beans literally throughout the whitetail’s range – as far north as northern Minnesota.  All the varieties of forage beans are late maturing varieties.  Some of my clients with land in the northern latitudes plant the Wildlife Manager’s Mix as it has some faster maturing varieties included (they are not forage varieties).  Don’t be confused by the term “forage varieties.”  Eagle Seeds’ forage varieties of soybeans have been selected during the past 40 years (literally) for their volume and quality of forage produced while maintaining the seed pod production characteristics.  No other company that I’m aware of has such a long history of selecting desirable qualities in forage soybeans.  In fact, Eagle Seed makes 3 blends specifically for northern latitudes.   These blends have a bit more of the earlier maturing beans for maximum pod production with the later maturing forage varieties.  This allows hunters to produce quality green forage until very late in the growing season (or the first hard frost) while gaining a bit more pod production.

It’s important to plant the longer growing forage beans early.  I plant them when the soil temperature at 2” deep at 9 am (soil is as cold as it gets at 9 am +/-) is 60/62 degrees and rising. Iowa State has a web site that monitors and reports soil temperatures throughout the state.  If you are planting production size fields (30+ acres each), then the value of forage beans is that they will remain green and palatable until very late in the growing season or until the first killing frost.  Such large fields will usually provide enough forage to not be totally over browsed by deer.  However, if you are planting smaller fields in areas with a high deer density, the browse tolerance of Eagle Seed forage beans will often be the difference between a productive plot and a total failure.  Varieties of production soybeans simply can’t withstand as much browse pressure and will often die as the results of excessive browsing.

I’ll be working tomorrow in Fulton County, IL.  I manage multiple properties in Fulton and Adams counties where the owner has successfully planted, produced, and hunted over the standard Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  I usually don’t use the northern mixes south of Wisconsin, etc.

Growing Deer together,