Should I overseed Eagle Seed forage soybeans even if they produced a good crop?

By Grant Woods,

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Thanks Grant for taking the time to look at my question. I live and hunt in Wisconsin near Trempleau county. I have a 1 acre plot that I planted in eagle seed soybeans this spring, with the expectation that it would provide forage for deer during the summer, but it would be over browsed, probably not set pods, and come late summer, I would be able to overseed it with broadside blend. Well I may have underestimated the browse tolerance of eagle seed beans and they are about knee high (I’m 6’3″) and have totally closed off and created a canopy such that I can’t see any bare dirt when I look at them from afar and up close. Not being a farmer and never having planted soybeans before, I’m not sure how to tell if these plants are going to produce soybean pods to hunt in the winter. I don’t want to ruin perfectly good beans and at the same time waste the eagle seed putting it in the plot and not have it germinate because the seeds can’t get any sun. Similarly, i don’t want to be fooled into thinking that these plants will set bean pods, not seed it, have the forage beans die in October and nothing but bare dirt to look at come thanksgiving. Not to mention the weed problem come spring when I try to plant again. Thanks in advance if you have a chance to answer my question.

Like you, I’m amazed every year at how much forage Eagle Seed forage soybeans produce even when being heavily browsed.

Unless there’s an earlier than normal frost at your property or you planted a very late maturing variety of Eagle Seed such as Big Fellow or Large Lad it shoulds like the beans in your plot will produce pods.

I really like the many benefits of cover crops!  Some cover crops can provide excellent forage for deer and other game.  When the temperatures are warmer than normal during hunting season deer tend to prefer green forage versus grains (bean pods). By overseeding standing soybeans you can provide deer both greens and grain in the same plot and keep attracting deer during both warm and cold temperatures.  

Eagle’s Broadside blend works great to mine or recycle nutrients. That is to say this blend grows in all but the coldest conditions and actively growing plants take up nutrients that otherwise might leach below the reach of new plants next spring.  When the winter cover crop is terminated the decomposing forage and roots release great nutrients for the new warm season crop.  I could go on with benefits of cover crops.

I strongly suggest planting Broadside in your standing crop of forage soybeans.  If you use a no till drill this will create gaps where the sun will reach the soil and allow the Broadside to germinate.  If you plan to broadcast the seed you may wish to drive and ATV through the plot, etc., and disturb at least 1/3 of the forage crown.  This will allow the Broadside to germinate and the remaining beans to produce pods.

I know it sounds crazy to remove a small portion of a plot you worked hard to grow!  However the benefits of a cover crop outweigh any damage to a small percentage of the standing beans.