Copyright 2002-2018.  All Rights Reserved.  Eagle Seed Company.
  "Eagle Seed Company has new forage soybean varieties that
can produce
9.8 tons of dry matter per acre with up to 28% whole
plant protein proven by university testing.  Compared with other
forage and food-plot varieties, they
grow taller with bigger leaves
and have greater browsing tolerance.
The varieties were grown at
Southern Illinois University, LSU Ag center in Louisiana, and
Oklahoma's Noble Foundation.  
"They're awesome," Dr. Atkinson
(forage specialist at SIU) says.  "They got up to almost
6 feet
Hay and Forage Grower Magazine
SIU; LSU; Noble Foundation; Ardmore, OK
The Big Fellows in this picture were planted in
Missouri near Exeter.  The measuring stick used
in the picture  is four feet in length.   
rotein content was 36%.  The beans were
not irrigated and were planted on a

very rocky soil.
"Testing Tall Soybeans as Forage:
Researchers Report Early Results
with New Forage Varieties"

Excerpted from Hay and Forage
Grower Magazine
written by Neil Teitz

Independent Research:
Andrews University; Berrien
Springs, MI
Southern Illinois University

Two new tall-growing forage soybean varieties look awesome to Dr. Rebecca
Atkinson, Southern Illinois beef forage specialist.  They perfomed well in an on-
farm rotational grazing study in her second year of testing and one of the varieties
yielded 6 tons/acre of hay when planted late after last summer's wheat harvest.  
Results from a sliage test at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, resultied in
10 tons/acre of soybean silage, testing 14% protein, 41% ADF and 51% NDF. He
grew 10 acres of the soybeans, and if the silage performs satisfactorily, he'll plant
40 acres this year.
The Roundup Ready varieties — Large Lad and Big Fellow — were developed at
Eagle Seed Co., Weiner, AR, primarily for use in wildlife food plots. They were
tested as forage crops at three universities in 2008, and the results were reported
in the March 2009 issue of Hay & Forage Grower (see our story, “They're
Awesome”).  The soybeans were evaluated at several additional locations last
year. Although they're long-season, Group 7 varieties, they can be grown
anywhere in the U.S., says Brad Doyle, Eagle Seed general manager.

Doyle sees them as a promising alternative to alfalfa, especially for farmers who
can't grow the perennial legume. Lab tests have shown the soybeans' leaves
have up to 42% protein, he says.  In Illinois, Atkinson is interested in them mostly
as a pasture crop for cow-calf producers. Yields were impressive in a 2008
simulated grazing study, with
Big Fellow peaking at 9.6 tons of dry matter per acre
and Large Lad at 8.9 tons/acre.
So last year she convinced a producer to plant 2
acres of the soybeans in one of 12 paddocks in his rotational grazing system.

“I instructed him to graze it down to 10” but not past that, and that's what he did,”
she reports.  The producer grazed the paddock twice, but didn't apply glyphosate,
so weeds took over after the second grazing. If he had sprayed, he could have
gotten at least one more grazing, she says.  He usually rotates his cattle every
three days, but soybean growth was so great that he left them in that paddock an
extra day.

He was so impressed with them that he's going to plant 4 acres next summer to
graze his cattle on again
,” says Atkinson.

In the double-crop hay trial, the beans were planted in 15” rows June 29 and
mowed into windrows when they were 3-4' tall. The yield was exceptional, but
field drying was problematic, says Atkinson. The soybean stems weren't
conditioned severely enough, and it took several days to get the crop dry enough
to bale.  She plans further work to find out how much conditioning is needed.
Wider windrows should speed drying, too, and narrower rows might result in
smaller stems that dry faster, she says.

In the Michigan silage trial, Birney planted half the 10 acres to each of the varieties
and mowed the crop into windrows after last fall's first frost. The beans were
about 5' tall, and since both varieties are indeterminate, plant tops had new
growth while the bottoms were more mature.

“We had everything from blooming and putting on new leaves down to pods,”
says Birney.

“It had monster leaves and the silage smells just like alfalfa silage,” he adds.
"Heifers Thrive on Soybean Baleage"
Hay and Forage Grower Mag. Excerpted by Neil Teitz, p 11-10
Independent Research: Fuller Cattle Farm and Marcantel Cattle Farm
Eagle Seed Forage soybeans are “a pretty superior
in terms of  TDN and protein content, notes
cattleman Bill Fuller. Mastering the harvest required
some learning.   Marcantel cut the Eagle Seed Big
Fellow soybeans when they were about 5’ tall prior to
pod development. He baled them at 40-45% moisture
about 36 hours after cutting. Bill Fuller recommends
using a conditioner to make it easier to bale.  Using a
conditioner will also help crimp the stems of the large
plant making it easier to handle.  The conditioner will
help prevent stems poking through the plastic wrap.
Fuller said it also helps to net-wrap first.
   Marcantel also ran his bales through a tub grinder.
“They ate it like candy.”   Bottom line for this grower:
“The heifers grew a lot of frame and meat. I sold quite a
few, and the ones I have left look just as good as the
other cattle.  I definitely plan to do it again.”
Research above and below courtesy of :

Independent Research:
McNeese State
Arkansas State University
Research Farm

The above photo was taken on the ASU
farm in Jonesboro, AR. The field was planted
in late May with  Big Fellow RR soybeans.
The Big Fellows were chopped in late
“I wanted something to blend with corn as a protein supplement,” to make it a
more complete feed for his beef cattle says Fuller, of Kinder, LA.

He began to investigate alternative protein sources when forage soybeans caught
his attention. For two years, Fuller has teamed up with Chip LeMieux and Bill
Storer, animal scientists at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA, to grow,
harvest and evaluate forage soybeans developed by Eagle Seed Co., Weiner, AR.

Last year they tested Big Fellow, a late-maturing Group VII Roundup Ready variety.
A center-pivot-irrigated field was divided into sections for corn planted at a
seeding rate of 28,000 and soybeans planted at 100,000 seeds per acre. Both were
on 30” rows to match the harvester. The soybeans were planted in late March, one
week ahead of the corn.

The corn reached dent stage in August and dropped to a lower moisture level than
is typical for silage. That allowed the soybeans to gain more vegetative growth,
reaching growth stage R5 and yielding 3.9-4.4 tons/acre of dry matter at harvest
despite the inter-plant competition.

A pull-type forage harvester chopped both crops at a combined dry matter of
about 36%. To layer the crops, corn was chopped until the silage wagon was half
full, then soybeans were chopped for the remainder of the load. The two forages
were mixed as they were bagged.

Fuller fed the silage free-choice to cows with calves. “I had to run the cows out,”
he says.
“They would eat and eat. If I let them, they’d eat over 50 lbs/day, and that
is too much.”

The soybeans averaged 18-19% protein, and adding them to corn in roughly a 50-
50 mix resulted in silage protein levels of 13-14%.

Fuller definitely feels he’s on the right track, although he’s quick to remind that,
while soybeans are intriguing, experimenting with them remains second to
producing the best silage corn possible. The row spacing, harvest timing and
other details have to benefit the corn.

The corn-soybean silage also is being evaluated as part of McNeese State
University’s heifer enhancement and development program. Directed by Storer
and LeMieux, the program is a joint venture of the
university and Fuller Farms.

Producers bring their heifers to the university feedlot for a five-month stay,
LeMieux reports. Each heifer is weighed once a month. Before it leaves the feedlot,
researchers evaluate it for daily gain and other characteristics that will determine
how well it will perform as a replacement. Feeding the silage mixture to developing
heifers under controlled conditions will confirm a lot about the value of soybean
forage as a supplemental protein source, he adds.

So what’s ahead for soybeans as forage? LeMieux, Storer and Fuller are involved
in agronomic studies to pinpoint exactly what works best in the field – everything
from soybean row spacing, plant population, planting and harvest dates to the
finer points of harvesting.  This year the team is evaluating Large Lad, another
Group VII Roundup Ready variety, as well as an experimental Group V soybean,
both produced by Eagle Seed. According to Storer, Large Lad seems to perform
similar to Big Fellow in the field, both reaching heights of over 6’. The Group V tops
out at about 3’ and is much bushier with greater pod development. Storer is
looking closely at
leaf-to-stem ratios and stalk thickness.
"Souped-Up Silage: Chopped Corn,
Forage Soybeans"

Excerpted from Hay and Forage
Grower Magazine
written by Florrie Kohn

Independent Research: McNeese
State University
"Soybeans as Forage: New
Varieties Rival Alfalfa for Quality"

Excerpted from Midwest Producer
written by Loretta Sorensen

Independent Research:
Midwest Producer serves
Kansas and Nebraska
This photo demonstrates that Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans
have twice the biomass, leafiness and browsing tolerance of
other soybean cultivars.
Public researchers planted plots at the University of Nebraska.  Analysis of Large
Lad and Big Fellow's nutrient qualities about 10 weeks after planting at nearly
three-foot heights
tested better than alfalfa, with 23.5 percent to 27 percent crude
protein in freshly clipped plants with fairly soluble protein.  "NDF (neutral detergent
fiber) was a little high for fresh forage, about 38 to 39 percent, similar to alfalfa in the
late vegetative or early bloom stage," Atkinson says. "ADF (acid detergent fiber)
was 28 percent, which is also similar to alfalfa."  

Atkinson's research process also investigated digestibility of each variety and
found it to be in the range of 69 to 71 percent. Net energy content scored well at .65
for maintenance and .39 for gain but is less than alfalfa. TDN (total digestible
nutrient) was similar to alfalfa at 61 percent.

Whether there is more value in soybean or alfalfa forage depends on producer's
geographic location. One benefit of soybeans is ability to rotate crops and not tie up
a field five years. Forage soybeans would be planted every year."

Depending on location, forage soybeans need between a 90-day and 120-day
growing season. Beef producers using them for forage would have to balance
soybean forage with pasture of other types of hay to prevent nitrates from reaching
dangerous levels.  "Depending on soil nutrient level and rainfall amounts, nitrate
levels could become high," Atkinson says. "They wouldn't be toxic, but it wouldn't
be healthy for cattle."

Since news of her research was released, Atkinson has heard from beef producers
considering or planning to use soybeans as a forage or haylage crop.

"One Indiana producer is considering a 10-acre test plot for grazing," Atkinson
says. "If he goes ahead with that, it would be the end of June before he could put
cows on it. An Ohio producer is considering using it for hay, and another Kansas
producer is looking at 100 acres to make silage for feed yards."

In testing forage soybeans for hay, researchers will consider how to rake and dry
bean forage and how much moisture to retain to maintain nutritional value.

Atkinson is waiting for funding before continuing her next year's research. With
Illinois' strong dairy industry, she plans to include dairy cattle in coming projects.
She also plans to test planting patterns of forage soybeans and corn silage to
increase corn silage quality.

"You want to harvest the beans before the seed gets hard," she says. "We
harvested test plots when pods were full and seeds were still soft, about an R5
stage. One of our challenges intercropping with corn will be the soybean's
tendency to vine. I think you could get at least two cuttings of hay from these
varieties, but I won't know for certain until testing is completed."

The economic contrast between soybean forage and other types of hay and silage
wasn't reviewed in any of the current research projects. Atkinson says existing data
would allow researchers to provide economic comparisons.

"There are a lot of elements to consider and geographic location would be an
economic factor," Atkinson says. "We know if you're using soybean forage for
stocker cattle,
you should be able to cut back on other protein sources and may not
need another protein source.
You'd have to really look at details, like seedbed prep,
how much time is invested in planting, herbicide and insecticide costs."
"Feed Trials Suggest Cows
May Join Soy Bandwagon"

Mid America Farmer/Grower

Independent Research:
Noble Foundation
Louisiana State University
Dr. Rebecca Atkinson, nutritionist from Southern Illinois University Carbondale,
found that cows would readily chow down on soybean plants both growing in
the ground and served up dry.  What's more, the plants provided pretty much the
same the summer slump when forage quality starts to decrease due to the lack
of rainfall," says Atkinson.
These aren't your grandfather's soybeans...Forage soybeans, developed
specifically as deer and livestock feed, can reach 6 feet in height and sport
leaves as big as a fist.  Those huge leaves pack a powerful protein punch, and
because the plants retain the legume family's ability to enrich soil, these beans
still can fit into a standard crop rotation.  Because grazing doesn't carry the
costs harvesting does, farmers who already plant corn or beans could save
some money by letting  the cows have at it.  "All you'd have to do is make sure
the fences are good, supply a bloat block to be safe and ensure that they have
some water, " Atkinson said.  "They'll take care of the rest."

Still, the numbers got even better when Atkinson turned harvested plants into
 Crude protein rose to 26%, while NDF and ADF percentages came to
32% and 36%.  Overall, it scored 194 in relative feed value.  
"This tells me that it compares well to alfalfa silage in terms of nutrition,"Atkinson
Eagle Seed's Forage Soybeans have
twice the biomass, leafiness, and
browsing tolerance of other soybean.  
Pictured left is a commonly available RR
soybean variety.  Large Lad Forage
soybean is on the right.   When standard
soybean cultivars are blooming and have
reached their full height, Eagle Seed's  
forage cultivar is just beginning to
increase in height.  Our forage soybean
will remain In its vegetative or
pre-reproductive cycle and grow 6 to 8
weeks after the commonly available
soybean cultivar is harvested.
Silage Nutrient Values for
Big Fellow RR and Large Lad RR soybean.
Hay Nutrient Values for
Big Fellow RR and Large Lad RR soybean.
Data collected 10 weeks after planting.  Courtesy of Dr. R.
Atkinson, Beef Forage Specialist, Southern Illinois University.
"Eagle Forage Soybeans Deliver Yield and Quality,
Research Shows."
"THEY'RE AWESOME" -- Dr. R. A. Atkinson, SIU
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