Over the years there have been a lot of improvements and developments in hunting strategies in order to attain some good catch. In deer hunting, one of the most effective strategy is to have a soybean plot in your property. This strategy is one good way to attract and keep deer in your property and it also allows you to have larger, healthier deer. Soybean is a good choice to put in your plot since deer really loves it. It is a good source of protein for them since it consists of around 30 percent crude protein and during the winter, there is no other plant that can provide them with the same protein level. Actually, this amount of protein is even more than enough for a deer to develop their antler and body to its optimum. Also, soybeans are also high in fat because of its oil content. This can be a good source of energy for them to increase body heat. With this advantages in mind, are you interested in having your own soybean plot? If yes, this article might help you. Listed here are steps on how to plant soybeans for your best deer food plots. But before we proceed to that, let us first have some background knowledge.
Things to Consider before Setting up a Soybean Plot
Our goal for having a soybean plot is to have a nice deer catch, so when choosing a location, make sure that there is a good place where you can perform both bowhunting and gun hunting. Look for places with good stand trees and staging areas around. Also, choose an open area so that your plants will get enough sun. If possible, choose a site which is flat but if you can’t find one, pick a slope which is facing east or northeast to avoid exposing your crops to late afternoon sun which may cause them to wither. It is also good if you choose a location where bucks can comfortably go even during the daytime. A good location would be somewhere where there are bedding areas and security covers that are close by.
One very important factor before learning how to plant soybeans for your best deer plots is to know the productivity of your soil. Soil productivity is the inherent capacity of the soil to support plant growth. It is dependent on the soil’s chemical, physical, and biological properties. Examples of chemical properties are the cation exchange capacity (CEC) which affects the ability of soil to retain nutrients and the pH which affects the type of nutrients available in the soil. Soils with smaller particle size retain nutrients longer and most plants grow well at pH 6.0-7.0. An example of soil physical property is soil texture which refers to the particle size of the soil and is categorized as clay, sand, or silt. This affects the ability of soil to hold water. Clay holds water well while sand drains water quickly. For the biological properties, it refers to the mineral, nutrient, and organic matter content of the soil. Soybeans grow well in slightly acidic, loamy, and nutrient rich soils.
Things that You May Need
Before proceeding to the main steps, let us first have a quick look of the things that you may need for your soybean plot.
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There are many varieties of soybeans but you can put them into two major categories – grain and forage. Soybeans which are developed for grain production are short, erect, and has short maturation period while those which are developed for forage production are taller, bushy, and has longer maturation period. If you are going to choose seeds for your soybean deer food plot, I recommend forage soybean seeds since these can provide the deer of leafy forage during the long growing season then give you a good crop of soybeans after. You can also try experimenting to know which soybean variety suits your region, soil, and purpose the best. Also, choose good quality seeds over cheaper seeds.
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Soil conditioners are used to enhance the properties of the soil. It helps repair damaged soil and maintain the quality of soil. It also helps loosen the soil and maintain and replenish nutrients. They may also contain organic matters such as plant and animal remains. It also destroys weeds.
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Fertilizers are added to soil to supply the nutrients that the plant needs to improve its growth and yield. They either provide the nutrients that the soil lack or replace the nutrients that the plant has already taken in. The primary components of fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
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When planting in a large area of land, it is good to have a seed spreader in order to have a good distribution of your seeds. You wouldn’t want your plants to clump in one place while the others are too scattered. Choose a seed spreader that can deliver your seeds uniformly and accurately.
How to Plant Soybeans for Your Best Deer Food Plots
Step 1. Test the soil
One of the most important steps on how to plant soybeans for your best deer food plots is to conduct a soil test since it allows you to determine if your soil is favorable for your crop to grow, and if not, it lets you know what adjustments to do in order to optimize your plant’s growth and production. It also helps you save money since you will only apply the amount of fertilizer needed, no excess. You can get a sample of your soil and send it to a reliable testing laboratory or if you are not very particular and just want to know the basics, you can do it on your own. You can buy a soil test kit and simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions written in there.
Step 2. Condition the soil
As I have said earlier, soil conditioning enhances the property of the soil and helps you eliminate the weeds. The type of soil conditioner that you should use would depend on the result of your soil test. You may consult an expert or go to a university’s horticultural department regarding that. You may use liquid soil conditioner so that it is easier to apply. You can just use a sprayer and spray it all over the land area where you are going to plant and wait for a few days to allow it to do its work.
Step 3. Adjust soil pH to what the plant desires
Soil’s pH affects the plant’s efficiency to absorb nutrients. It is good to grow the plant at its desired pH to attain optimum growth. Soybeans grow best at pH 6.3 to 6.5. Depending on the result of your soil test, you will adjust your pH higher or lower. If your soil is too acidic, you may apply lime to increase its pH; if it is too basic, you may use aluminum sulfate. Just make sure to apply the proper amount and not overdo it. You can use drop spreader to apply these substances evenly. If you applied lime in your soil, make sure to water it regularly so that the lime seeps well into the soil. If you use aluminum sulfate, till the soil so that it mixes well with the soil.
Step 4. Apply fertilizer
Based on the result of your soil test, add a proper amount of fertilizer to your soil. Also consider the plant that you are growing. Since we are growing soybeans, we wouldn’t need high nitrogen since it an fix its own nitrogen. Thus, we should focus on adding potassium and phosphorus to maximize our yield. Soybeans need a lot of potassium. When applying fertilizer, you may also use drop spreader to apply them evenly in your soil.
Step 5. Till the soil
Tilling loosens the soil which makes it easier for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate. It also allows for more seeds to germinate. You can use garden tillers if your plot will not be so big or you can use a disc harrow if you are going to deal with a large piece of land. A disc harrow consists of a row of sharp, slightly concaved discs fixed in a frame and is used to till the soil and chop off unwanted weeds. This can be attached to your tractor or four-wheel to make tilling easier. It is better if you loosen around six inches of land when you till to have a good result.
Step 6. Spread the seeds
After preparing your soil for the best conditions for the growth of your plant, you can now plant your soybean seeds. Since we wouldn’t want our seeds to be buried too deep in the soil, we must first pulverize the soil and make it firmer by using a cultipacker. After that, we can now spread the seeds using a seed spreader to make sure that our seeds are well-distributed. After spreading the seeds, we will again cultipack the soil to firmly press the seeds into the surface of the soil.
Step 7. Maintain your food plot
Soybeans don’t actually need much maintenance while growing, and since we have already provided a good soil environment for them to grow, we can just water them from time to time enough for the soil not too dry and spray them with liquid fertilizer once every thirty days when they are already growing. If the seeds are not germinating yet, make sure to get rid of the grass and mow the area.
It is now very popular for deer hunters to use food plots in order to attract their prey and provide food for them. The idea of food plots is to put a concentrated food source of your prey in one location, thereby increasing the possibility of encountering them. If done correctly, having a soybean food plot not only increases your chance of catching your game but it also allows you to produce quality prey due to the nutrients that you provide them. Mastering how to make an effective soybean food plot is never easy but once you get the grip of it, it can provide you of a lot of advantages. I hope this article helps you learn how to plant soybeans for your best deer food plots.
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