Dan Moultrie Speaks Out on Soybeans
A couple of years ago, researchers discovered a new high-protein supplemental feed for whitetails - whole soybeans. “Although feeding corn is one of the best ways to attract deer, corn typically contains only 5- to 7-percent protein,” Dan Moultrie, the creator and founder of Moultrie’s feeders says. “So while you may be attracting deer with corn, you’re doing little to improve their overall nutritional level. A few years ago, research from Auburn University showed that soybeans could be used in a spin feeder, and that deer would eat them.” Until this discovery, no one had found a way to use a spin feeder to distribute a high-protein feed to deer. The problem that had previously been associated with feeding high-protein food to deer came from the fact that the high-protein “pellets” used in spin feeders would break down when exposed to moisture and not come out of the feeder. As a result, deer managers had to use some type of covered trough to feed commercial pellets to their deer. Also trough feeders required time, effort and expense, and often the deer fed primarily at night instead of during daylight hours when hunters could observe and potentially harvest them. Soybeans on the other hand do not have all the problems associated with pelletized food and are an excellent source of protein at a low cost.
The Learning Curve:
In many ways, deer are like children. If you want to teach a child who doesn’t like broccoli to eat it, then add a little ice cream. As the child begins to look forward to eating this dish, you can reduce the amount of ice cream. In a short time, the child will start eating broccoli without the ice cream. Deer love corn as much as children enjoy ice cream. Sometimes deer reluctantly will eat soybeans before they’re trained to eat them by mixing the soybeans with corn. To increase the level of protein in your deer’s diet, mix corn with the soybeans, which contain up to 45-percent crude protein. Then eventually feed only soybeans as the deer become accustomed to eating them. “We suggest that the first time you fill your feeder you should use a mixture of 75-percent corn to 25-percent soybeans in the late winter and early spring,” Moultrie explains. “The second time you fill your feeder, increase the soybean level to a 50:50 mixture, if you see the soybeans are beginning to disappear like the corn. The third time you fill up your feeder, you often can use 100-percent soybeans.” Soybeans, generally readily available almost anywhere in the country, are easy to transport and load into a feeder, and soybeans can deliver the protein your land’s deer herd needs at a reasonable price.
High Protein vs. Cost:
Every wildlife manager interested in providing supplemental feeds to deer must consider the cost factor. “On average, a 50-pound bag of corn will cost about $5 a bag,” Dan Moultrie, founder and creator of Moultrie, reports. “A 50-pound bag of soybeans will cost $6 to $10, and a 50-pound bag of high-protein pellets may cost as much as $15 a bag. So, when you compare costs, the soybeans are only slightly more expensive than the corn and much less expensive than the commercially prepared high-protein pellets. However, when you compare the nutritional value of the soybeans with the corn and high-protein pellets, you’ll see that your dollars ahead by feeding soybeans. The corn will have a 5- to a 7-percent protein level. The soybeans have a 35- to a 45-percent protein level, depending on how much fertilizer has been used to grow them and the quality of the soil. Most high-protein deer pellets have 16- to 21-percent protein. To deliver the most protein to your deer for the least amount of money, you can’t beat raw soybeans.”