Beans or Corn: The Best Summer Planting for Deer

Beans or Corn: The Best Summer Planting for Deer
Beans provide a very high source of protein for deer during the summer which directly contributes to antler growth and fawn development. (Jeremy Flinn photo)

Though not nearly as popular as planting fall food plots for deer, planting summer plots is becoming more prevalent in the deer management community. The major reason is that more and more deer managers are realizing that their deer herd may not have access to the high-quality nutrition they need in the summer and even early fall, depending on location.

From antler growing to fawning, the summer months are extremely energy and nutrient demanding on all whitetails. With all that considered, the most frequent question that comes up is, “Should I plant beans or corn for my deer?”

Beans and corn fill two completely different nutritional requirements for deer. Though a common misconception, corn does not directly contribute anything to antler growth of bucks. With protein levels ranging between 6 to 8 percent, it’s barely enough to maintain basic metabolic functions, like breathing and digestion. Meaning, the contribution of protein to antler growth is non-existent.

Policy
Although corn has always been associated with producing big bucks, it directly contributes very little to antler growth. (Jeremy Flinn photo)


Where corn earns its keep is in the ability to provide a high-quality source of carbohydrates, particularly in the fall. This energy- and fat-building compound will allow the deer to exit the rut and weather the winter months in better shape. The better the shape a buck is coming out of the winter, the faster he can direct nutrients to growing a new set of antlers.


Beans, on the other hand, provide an extremely high source of protein, typically ranging between 25 and 35 percent depending on the soil quality and age of the beans. This makes them a vital source for antler and fawn growth, as well as helping does recover from 200 days of pregnancy. The high digestibility of the foliage in the summer allows maximum nutrient flow to the different parts of the body. If left standing, and pod production is good, beans will provide a great source of protein through the winter.

It’s worth noting that no matter what is planted, the native habitat will provide the largest staple of a deer’s diet. In fact, in most areas a deer’s diet in the summer will compose of between 50 and 60 percent of native foods, like woody browse and annual forbs. The areas in the best corn and bean production zones, also tend to have the best soils. These soils lay the foundation for the nutritional quality of the native foods deer are consuming.

You really can’t go wrong with either corn or beans for a summer planting; both can provide critical nutrition to your deer herd. If creating a high protein source is your main goal, then planting beans is the best choice. If you are looking to support your deer through the winter months and keep them in better condition, then corn should be your preferred planting.

Often a combination of both beans and corn on a property is optimal. However, both are not very tolerable of deer browsing, so planting on small levels (acreage) is not the best option.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut. Whitetail

Field Skills: Go Mobile to Tag Rutting Bucks

Tony Peterson - November 22, 2019

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut.

Don't let the fast action of November rush you into making a bad decision. Whitetail

Bowhunting: Taking the Perfect Rut Shot

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn

Don't let the fast action of November rush you into making a bad decision.

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the track. Whitetail

Aim True, Track Smart: Harvest Recovery

Wayne van Zwoll - December 26, 2019

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the...

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter. Whitetail

Make Bad Weather a Deer-Hunting Bonus

Terry Madewell - November 27, 2019

Become a better poor-weather deer hunter.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.