Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Never underestimate the power of a soybean to compensate for missing neighbors or early-season feeding damage. It’s one of the things that make it difficult to predict how soybeans will react after a major setback. Sometimes, as the old Timex commercial once said, “They take a licking and keep on ticking.” Or in this case, they keep on growing.

“I noticed some plants along the small woods were nipped off by deer during my first visit earlier in the season,” remarks Steve Gauck, sales agronomist for Beck’s, based at Greensburg, Ind. He visits and scouts the Soybean Watch ’17 field at key times, making important observations and explaining what he finds. Beck’s is the sponsor of Soybean Watch ’17.

Soybeans compensate
When Gauck scouted during a visit in late July, he checked some of those same soybean plants the deer had nipped off. He didn’t find dead plants. Instead, he found green and healthy soybeans. In some cases, he had to look closely to determine if it was indeed a plant subjected to early-season deer feeding.

“If deer nipped out the tender tops and moved on, there was a very good chance that plants would grow back out,” Gauck says. “That’s exactly what happened. On plants where buds were left intact below the feeding injury, the buds took off and started growing.”

In some cases, the plant formed new branches. If you look closely at some of the plants damaged by early feeding, you can determine where the damage occurred, Gauck says. Instead of growing up at that point, the plant sent out branches, sometimes in both directions from the original stem that was nipped off.

Wildlife damage
Various reports of wildlife damage arise each season. Typically, more reports come from counties where timber stands or small woodlots, like the one next to the Soybean Watch ’17 field, are more common.

Deer like to nibble on young soybean leaves, and will feed on young corn if that’s the animals’ best option for food. Groundhogs also like to feed on crops, particularly young soybeans.

“You’re more likely to encounter these issues in fields next to woods — especially if one or more sides of the field are completely bordered by woods,” Gauck explains. “It’s a cost of doing business if you farm those kinds of fields.”

That’s because there is little you can do to prevent some amount of wildlife damage, he adds. Birds can also pose a problem. Reports of bird feeding leading to poor stands surfaced in south-central Indiana this past spring. Gauck has even seen it on his own family farm. “We’ve watched wild turkeys go right down the row and clean out seed,” he says.

There isn’t much you can do to prevent it, he notes. “When you get a field like this where there was feeding damage after plants emerged and the plants grew back, it’s about the best you can hope for,” Gauck concludes.

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them? It regrew from buds the deer left intact, Steve Gauck says. Soybean Watch: After being damaged by deer, soybeans send out new branches and regrow. Never underestimate the power of a soybean to compensate for missing neighbors or early-season feeding damage.

Will deer eat old soybeans? Yes, deer eat soy beans as long as they can. Even in January when the beans are cold and hard. During the yellow phase, it is the same time that acorns are dropping.

Is soybean good for deer? Not only is soybean attractive to deer, the nitrogen-producing legume also supplies deer with nutrient-rich forage from spring to fall, up to 35% of highly digestible protein; and then in the winter, grain (in the form of beans) that contains high levels of carbohydrates and fats to get deer through the rut and winter

How long do soybeans last for deer? While green, the plant has the maximum amount of moisture and the deer will feast on the soft leaves. When brown, the pods have reached full maturity and offer a nutritious seed. The yellow phase will last about one to two weeks.

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them? – Related Questions

How do you protect soybeans from deer?

Chemical repellents are one tool available to growers for controlling wildlife crop damage. Putrescent egg solids have been used successfully as a deer repellent and included as an active ingredient in several commercial repellent products.

Do deer like corn or soybeans better?

Beans offer a great meal which include the whole plant not just the pod. Beans are normally harvested before the corn. Come hunting season the corn offers better cover and is standing longer. Deer will definitely bed down in corn fields before bean fields.

Do deer like dried soybeans?

Deer won’t eat dry soybeans. You have to soak them first and then they still prefer corn.

What do deer love to eat the most?

Food they absolutely love are: pecans, hickory nuts, beechnut acorns, as well as acorns. Fruits such as apples, blueberries, blackberries, and persimmons are also appealing to deer and satisfy their appetites.

Will roasted soybeans attract deer?

Deer love to eat soybeans—so much so, in fact, that Soybeans make a good attractant for deer, especially for deer hunting. While deer like to eat soybeans, they will be even more attracted to toasted soybeans, which give off more aroma due to the roasted/toasted smell.

When should you plant soybeans for deer?

Since they take at least 45 days to mature, they can only be planted early in the fall in areas where overnight temperatures stay above freezing and daily temperatures reach more than 60 degrees F.

How late can soybeans be planted?

For best yield, soybeans (Glycine max) are typically planted in late April or early May. Soybeans planted in July will often still produce a small crop, but largely in response to the extra daylight hours that summer provides.

Do deer eat soybeans after they turn brown?

Soybeans are planted in the spring, and from the time they pop out of the ground they’re a tender, green treat that deer and other wildlife love to eat. The leaves are a main source of food for deer until the plants turn brown and dry out.

How many acres will one unit of soybeans plant?

bag of soybean seed will plant one acre, you will multiply 100 acres by the cost of the bag, $15.49, to find the total cost of planting your soybeans.

What is the most effective deer repellent?

Deer repellents are most often made from putrified eggs, dried blood, garlic, or soaps. Several studies, including this one, have found that egg-based products are the most effective. These include Deer Away, Bobbex, and Liquid Fence. I’ve used all of these and have had good results.

What do farmers use to repel deer?

Plantskydd is the #1 choice of professional growers and SAFE for use on Food Crops! Plantskydd is used by farmers and orchardists to protect from animal browse damage the following crops: Soybeans, corn, grapes, fruit/nut trees, blueberries, cauliflower, cotton, pumpkins, strawberries, vegetables, watermelon and more.

What can I plant in the woods for deer?

Plant a seed blend that thrives with just a small amount of sunlight, such as Whitetail Institute’s Secret Spot or Biologic’s Hot Spot. Make sure the mix includes plants such as crimson clover, arrowleaf clover, brassicas, wheat, oats, buckwheat, and rye.

What’s the best thing to feed deer?

Late Summer / Early Fall — Provide acorns, corn and soybeans. These are among deer’s favorite foods. Fall and Winter — Cereal grains including oats, triticale, and wheat. Cool season legumes such as clovers, alfalfa and winter peas attract deer and provide nutrition.

Do deer like beans?

When food is scarce, deer eat just about anything, including prickly-stemmed okra and hot peppers. Vegetables that deer seem to prefer include beans, lettuce, cabbage, and cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Will Coons eat soybeans?

Fish, Wildlife and Soybeans

Soybean meal is now a much more common source for protein in fish food. Unfortunately, soybean crops in the United States fall prey to significant damage by wild deer, raccoons, squirrels, groundhogs, Canada geese, and others.

Will bear eat soybeans?

soy beans. bears can not digest soy beans and if they eat them it will make them throw up.

Will deer eat yellow beans?

The yellow phase will last about one to two weeks. During that time, the beans can go from 60% moisture to 15% moisture and cause the leaves to wilt and fall off. This could throw timelines off and cause the beans to turn while there’s no apples or acorns hitting the ground, forcing the deer to rely on yellowing beans.

What should you not feed deer?

Do not feed hay, corn, kitchen scraps, potatoes, lettuce trimmings or any animal proteins from animals rendered into feed. Deer may actually starve when fed supplemental foods during winter if they have a full belly of indigestible foods.

What attracts deer the most?

Plants that typically attract deer include red clover, chicory, and orchard grass. Certain high-protein crops, such as peas, soybeans, turnips, alfalfa, sorghum, kale, or corn, are also attractants that the animals enjoy feeding on. Deer like the nutritious nuts that come from chestnuts and acorns as well.

Do turkeys eat roasted soybeans?

The turkeys will eat the soybeans just like the deer. Do not expect the deer to start eating the soybeans as soon as you start feeding them. Mix corn in with your soybeans.

What is the best time to plant soybeans?

Plant seeds from late spring to early summer. Soybeans must have warm soil to germinate and grow. Poke holes into a cultivated bed or row to plant soybean seeds about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and one-half inch (1 cm) deep.

Indeed, deer eat soybeans; it is among their favorite foods, together with corn, green beans, and pumpkin. Deer eat soybeans from when they are germinating to when ready for harvest. The beans are nutritional for deer, especially with proteins from the pods and roughage from the soybean plant.

Knowing that deer eat soybeans is not all you need to know about the deer-soybean relationship. Deer, like all animals, have preferences on how they like the beans and what time of the year beans taste best. Keep reading this article as it extensively looks into all the facts about deer and soybeans.

Table of Contents

  • Do deer eat soybean seed or plants?
  • Do deer eat soybeans that turn brown?
  • Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them?
  • Do deer eat soybean meal?
  • Will deer eat soybeans in winter?
  • What is the best time of year to feed soybeans to deer?
  • How to plant soybeans for deer?
  • Is soybean healthy for deer?
  • How to properly feed soybeans to deer?
  • Do deer like corn or soybeans better?
  • Conclusion

Do deer eat soybean seed or plants?

Deer will eat every part of the soybean. Right from germination to harvest as they are a ready protein source for lactating doe and antler growth. Deer love soybean leaves when the leaves are green and juicy.

Deers, however, love the green soybean plant more than they love the seed, but they will not spare the seeds, especially when they are dry and brown. Soybean forage is rich in water, and deer get more water from their food than from directly drinking water.

Do deer eat soybeans that turn brown?

Deer will surprisingly eat soybeans all year round. However, they do not like brown beans the same way they love other crops like corn or acorns. Deer will eat brown soybeans if they have no alternative but give them other options, and they will pick it over beans .

It is important to note that deer will eat roasted soybeans faster than soybeans beans in any other form. The aroma from the beans attracts deer, and roasted is good as it allows for a larger nutrient intake.

If you intend to feed deer with brown soybeans in a feeder, ensure to soak the beans in water as the deer will shun the beans if they are dry.

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them?

Soybeans are great for deer, mainly because they are a source of various nutrients and can regrow after the deer browse them. Germinating seedlings will regrow as long as they have the cotyledon intact. Cotyledons are the first two leaves that come out with germinating legumes.

More mature soybean crops will regrow and spread out too if eaten by deer. The beans will not regrow that quickly, though, if the deer uproot the plant. Some soybean seed manufacturers have seeds that keep producing forage even after flowering or losing leaves to deer.

Do deer eat soybean meal?

Deer eat soybean meal; however, they do not like it as much as they love other feeds. Deer are pretty cautious about their food intake; thus, they will eat a small amount of the meal. The extra protein in the feed is also not good for deer. Therefore, only a moderate amount is suitable.

As a workaround, you can mix soybean meal with corn and gradually increase the soybean meal. Switching works especially for deer not familiar with the meal or those who seem reluctant to try it.

Will deer eat soybeans in winter?

Deer will eat soybeans during winter, especially the seeds. The fat content in the beans is enough to push the deer through the rut and the winter until spring.

Deer will reduce their carb intake during the winter and increase protein such as soybeans since they need to bulk by getting the proper nutrition. Deer will also eat soybeans because natural food resources are scarce during the winter.

What is the best time of year to feed soybeans to deer?

Generally speaking, the best time to feed deer soybeans is when there are soybeans. Soybean foliage is a favorite for deer during the spring.

After the rut during winter, when weight gain is necessary for the deer is a good time to feed them soy meal or soybeans. During winter, deer will readily eat the beans as their food choices are narrow. However, it is not advisable to provide for deer during the winter as it can spread diseases or cause social stress with the deer.

How to plant soybeans for deer?

The variety of soybean you plant will determine the steps to follow. Ensure to test the soil for the proper Ph levels (5.9 to 7.0) and that the soil has appropriate nutrients. The soil temperature should be over 60 degrees.

If you plant by broadcasting, ensure to broadcast seeds at a rate of about 80 pounds per acre. For drilling, use 50 pounds per acre. The seedbed should be free from rocks, weeds, or branches.

For those who prefer no-till planting, ensure to clear weeds using a pesticide at least three weeks before planting. Do not forget to inoculate the seeds before planting.

For better yield results, consult your seed supplier as there are varieties for different places, the type of soil, and how fast you want to harvest.

Is soybean healthy for deer?

How to properly feed soybeans to deer?

You can use a deer feeder by suspending it in the middle of the farm. If the soybeans are dry, ensure to soak them in water. You can use roasted soybeans as deer love those and will jump over a fence if they catch even a whiff. For soybeans forage, ensure the food plot is accessible and deer will feed themselves.

Do deer like corn or soybeans better?

Deers love corn better than soybeans. Luckily, they tend to accept soybeans after getting familiar with them. Too much corn also causes acidosis and death; thus, mixing up corn with soybeans is essential for survival.


We have seen that deer are picky eaters when they have a variety; they choose soybeans over other foods. The beans have valuable nutrition for proper deer growth thus are an excellent feeding choice for the deer.


Deer damage is one of the largest challenges North Carolina soybean producers face. The North Carolina white-tailed deer population is estimated to be around one million (NC Wildlife Resources Commission). Many small fields throughout North Carolina border tree lines, leaving these fields susceptible to deer damage. Deer damage can range from minimal to severe depending on the area and duration of browsing, field size, and availability of other desired food sources. Light deer damage typically results in minimal yield loss, however if deer damage is widespread, adverse impacts on yield can be observed. Typical yield reductions occur due to removal of foliage reducing photosynthetic capacity, rather than direct removal of pods.


Deer damage is most typically observed in the first few weeks of soybean growth. Deer will generally feed on the upper most foliage, resulting in leafless stems. Stems can appear snapped and will generally have a jagged snap. If the deer eats foliage above the first node, the plant has an opportunity to recover by sending out new foliage from the remaining axillary buds. If the deer eat below the cotyledonary node, the plant will not recover. Stem spliting can also be observed from deer damage, where the plant appears to have two stems; this occurs when the deer damage causes growth from the axillary nodes. The stem cut from deer is typically more jagged than a stem cut from rabbits or groundhogs. Deer damage after soybean growth stage R6 (full seed) can occur, although rare.

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Deer damage in upper trifoliate leaves

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Vann, NC State Extension Specialist

Deer damage in upper trifoliate leaves

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Vann, NC State Extension Specialist

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Deer damage resulting in the removal of leaf material at the upper soybean nodes

Photo courtesy of Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension Specialist

Deer damage resulting in the removal of leaf material at the upper soybean nodes

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Photo courtesy of Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension Specialist

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Deer damage above the cotyledonary nodes

Photo courtesy of Norman Harrell, NC Extension Agent

Deer damage above the cotyledonary nodes

Will soybeans grow back after deer eat them

Photo courtesy of Norman Harrell, NC Extension Agent


Producers have limited options for controlling deer. Under low population levels, the cost of implementing management strategies may not outweigh the benefits as limited deer damage often does not cause soybean yield loss. At higher population levels resulting in persistent damage, several options are available, although none may be robustly effective. Population reduction is one management strategy. Fencing is a possible management strategy. Chemical repellents are another possible management strategy and may be effective at low population levels, however many chemical deer repellents evaluated in the state previously have provided limited soybean yield protection. Producers should use an integrated management strategy to manage deer in their soybean fields.

Additional Resources

  • Keywords:
  • Soybeans
  • Soybean Production
  • Deer
  • Field Crops
  • Soybean Pests

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: May 22, 2020

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