What food plot species should I plant at farm in Iowa?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersFood Plots

I just had a couple questions for you about a farm i just purchased. I was able to buy 132 acres in Boone IA. Which is in the center of Iowa. It is 66 acres tillable and 66 acres of timber. My questions are about food plots. Also i will be bow hunting and gun hunting. So hunting from October 1 thru January 10th.

I outlined my property in red. The blue line is a creek. The white dotted line is a train tracks which a train passes by every 8 minutes. To the north there isn\’t much timber. But to the south there is a bunch of timber. The farm consists of 5 fields.

Fields 1-4 are going to be soybeans that i am going to combine.

But field 3 i plan on leaving 2 acres of beans for the deer.

Field 5 i am going to be 3 acres of CRP in the white. And then 2.7 acres of food plot. Im going to plant soybeans and something green.

One of my questions is, what besides soybeans should i plant in the 2.7 acres.

Also on the map there are 2 yellow circles. Those are flats that i could clear some trees and plant some food plots. I was wondering if i should just keep it to the 2 food plots i have planned. Or make both those yellow circles into food plots so then i would have 4 food plots.

So those are my main questions.

Do i plant 2 or 4 food plots?

What do i also plant besides the soybeans?

One more quick question. On a path coming up to field #3 there are a bunch of scrapes. But the trail that the deer walk is pretty hard to walk thru. Tree branches hang low.

My question is do I need to cut a nice easy trail for the deer to walk out into the food plot. Or leave it the way it is.

Thank you very much,

Dane Titman



One of the primary factors of why Iowa produces great bucks is soybeans!  Soybeans are a great two season crop as deer eat the forage during the summer and pods during the winter.  Soybeans are very easy to grow and maintain.  I suggest you plant forage soybeans (longer maturing like from Eagle Seed).  Once the commercial beans are harvested from nearby ag fields the best forage will be in your plots.  The slower maturing varieties from Eagle Seed will stay green much longer than the commercial varieties normally planted in Iowa.  Hence once the commercial varieties beginning ripening (turning yellow) deer will prefer the still growing and green forage of the Eagle Seed beans.

I also suggest over seeding the beans in the plots with a cool season blend such as Broadside that has a radish, forage wheat, and brassicas.  This will provide greens and beans in the same plot.  Deer will prefer the pods when its cold and the greens when the temperatures are warm.

This is a great soil building rotation that’s easy to plant and maintain.

If deer are using the trail I wouldn’t modify it much!

Enjoy creation,


December 28, 2015