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 tall."   
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.   Whole plant protein 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"

Hay and Forage Grower Magazine 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 silage test at Andrews
University, Berrien Springs, MI, resulted 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. They were tested as forage crops at three universities, and the results were
reported in the  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

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 product” 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 and chopped late Aug.
“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%.

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"
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

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

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 silage.  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 said.
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 ® and Large Lad ® soybean.
Hay Nutrient Values for
Big Fellow ® and Large Lad ® 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
Call 870-684-7377 to order or find a dealer
Copyright 2002-2019.  All Rights Reserved.  Eagle Seed Company.  |  PO Box 308 | 8496 Swan Pond Rd  |  Weiner, AR 72479  |  870-684-737
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