Eagle Seeds Planting and Management Information

Provided by Rans Thomas, Creative Land And Wildlife Solutions (CLAWS)

For many years I have been planting and recommending Eagle Seeds Roundup Ready (RR) forage soybeans, commonly called Eagle Beans. These varieties were developed in AR and have been sold in the wildlife industry since the late 1990s. Large Lad and Big Fellow are similar. They are both true forage varieties in maturity group 7 meaning they continue to grow leaves longer than all other lesser groups before flowering and producing seed. For whitetails the true antler growing power comes from the high levels of digestible protein in the foliage; therefore, the longer the plants grow leaves the better.

Large Lad and Big Fellow can grow 36 to 37 branches on the stalk compared to Ag type soybeans with only 14 to 18 branches. Leaf size is also larger producing more biomass per acre. Game Keeper is a mix of Large Lad, Big Fellow and group 8 Whitetail Thicket, the worlds first climbing, RR forage soybean. While Game Keeper is the only seed mix containing Whitetail Thicket justifying the higher cost, I have had great success mixing Large Lad and Big Fellow at time of planting.

Why we Recommend Eagle beans:

  • Nutrient lab testing has indicated up to 36% foliar protein before flowering
  • Roundup Ready® which allows growers to control weeds with Glyphosate
  • Being maturity group 7, forage soybeans the plants re-grow leaves aggressively in response to browse and will continue to grow for a longer period of time than Ag type soybeans in southern regions with a long warm season
  • The response to heavy deer browse from a true forage variety is to grow more leaves while the response from an Ag type soybean is to mature even more quickly and produce seed
  • Very fibrous roots leading to higher N fixation and drought tolerance
  • Heavy seed production if crop is healthy at maturity providing a high fat, high protein food source into the fall and winter

Planting Recommendations:

  • Plant 50Lbs./acre total mixing 50% Large Lad and 50% Big Fellow together at time of planting
  • When planting with a standard or No-till grain drill obstruct 1 or 2 seed chutes between those that are open inside the seed bin to plant in rows that are 14” to 21” apart (At 14” row spacing tractor tires will not go between rows for spraying without running over crop plants and herbicides may not make full contact with weeds)
  • Seeds should be fully covered at a depth of 1”
  • Plant when top soil temps are 54 degrees F or higher, this usually occurs by mid-April in the lower south and late April to early May in upper, southern regions

As plants germinate and first emerge they are the most susceptible to damage from deer browse. For smaller food plots, fencing or other deer browse deterrents will likely be required. As the plants mature, surviving the first few weeks and bushing out they then become much more browse tolerant. Although Eagle Beans are RR I highly recommend also applying a pre-emergence herbicide such as Prowl H2O that is labeled for use on soybeans. Always follow herbicide label guidelines. The pre-emergents will aid in control of problem weed plants like pigweed and coffee weed.

In the south, pigweed has become very problematic having developed a strong tolerance to Glyphosate. For post-emergent control of maturing Pigweed in soybeans I have had success with the herbicide Ultra Blazer. Coffee weed is also a problem and tough to control with Glyphosate after plants are taller than 4”. The first Glyphosate application for Eagle Beans can take place when plants have 4 to 6 leaves and are 4” to 6” tall. This early, post-emergence application can help control early, emerging coffee weed.  

In field trials, Eagle Beans have proven to produce in poor soils; however, I always recommend growers work to optimize soil quality. Take soil samples in Jan or Feb. Apply lime a few months before planting to raise PH if recommended in soil report. Apply appropriate fertilizer blend according to soil report just before planting. As the summer ends, Eagle Beans have matured and produced seed they can be left standing to provide the high fat, high protein seed as a fall and winter food source for wildlife.

Clearfield Sunflowers Planting and Management Information

Clearfield sunflowers are large head, small seed producers. The Pro-sized variety is a larger seed requiring a round, corn plate in row planters. Doves do prefer smaller sunflower seed; however, they will consume the larger sized. Clearfield sunflowers can be treated with Beyond by BASF, a post-emergence, broad spectrum, soil residual herbicide. Beyond is an expensive herbicide; however, application rates are low only requiring 4 to 5oz./acre. Always read herbicide labels and follow application guidelines.

Abundant seed scattered on clean ground is the key to having a great dove field. With the proper use of Beyond on Clearfield sunflowers, many grass and broadleaf weeds can be controlled. Sunflowers have very large leaves while growing through the summer, which can also shade out weeds on the ground floor. After the sunflowers have matured, seeds have hardened and seed heads droop, a follow up application of Glyphosate may still be required. Leading up to dove season the goal is to have mature sunflowers dropping seed on clean ground. The sunflowers can also be mowed in strips, still the seed needs to fall on clean, weed free ground.      

Planting Recommendations:

  • www.agproducts.basf.us/products/clearfield-sunflower.html
  • Plant 5 to 7 lbs./acre on 28” to 36” row spacing with row planter or grain drill with seed spaced 12” to 14” apart in the rows
  • Seeds should be fully covered at a depth of ½” to 1”
  • When sunflowers are from the 2 to 8 leaf stage, before broadleaf weeds are greater than 3 inches tall and grass weeds exceed 4 to 5 blades, apply Beyond according to label

An additional application of Nitrogen 30-0-0 fertilizer “top dressing” 30 days after emergence may be beneficial if weeds are under control