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GRANT: I enjoy planting new varieties of forage – at least new to me. I don’t want to risk my entire food plot program with something I’m not familiar with. I want to stick with the varieties that have proven successful in the past but I want to try new ones to see if I can tweak my program and get a little bit better quality or quantity of forage in the same area.
GRANT: The soils here in the Ozark Mountains tend to be very gravely and simply don’t hold a lot of water. But we’ve had great results with Eagle Seeds Big Fellow variety because it’s a very drought resistant strain of a forage soybean. In some of our smallest hidey hole food plots, the Big Fellow variety worked great to handle the drought but it did not handle such a small area and the amount of browse pressure for that size food plot.
GRANT: This year we planted Eagle Seeds Whitetail Thicket in some of our smallest hidey hole food plots and Adam and I took time to go see how they're doing.
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GRANT: We’ve had soybeans in here in the past and quite candidly, they never did this good and basically, were browsed off pretty quickly.
GRANT: We switched to a different variety this year and that’s made all the difference. This year we tried a different variety called Whitetail Thicket. It’s a different beast than most soybeans. It has 5,500 seeds per pound, where most soybeans have about 2,500 to 3,000 – where other words – Whitetail Thicket has twice the amount of seed per pound. So, at the same planting rate, we got a lot more stems per acre but that’s not all the magic of this particular variety.
GRANT: Whitetail Thicket is actually a result of cross breeding for years and years and selecting the traits that are most necessary to be a browse resistant soybean. Brad and Joyce of Eagle Seed literally selected different varieties of soybeans and crossbred for a number of years – many, many generations – to come up with Whitetail Thicket.
GRANT: This is group eight soybean. And those numbers – group four, five, seven, eight – are just relative maturity. Eight being the longest maturation, or maturity, of a soybean. What that means is – for a bow hunter – is this bean will stay green well into three or four frosts into the fall, and you’ll have the only green soybeans in the neighborhood which means the deer will be feeding right here.
GRANT: Another characteristic they selected for is its growth form. It’s a viney type soybean and I think that’s why it handles browse pressure so well. By viney type – instead of being a straight stalk and a few branches off the side – this particular variety of soybean will put these big, long branches that will be literally six, seven, ten feet off – producing leaves off each one instead of just one main stem.
GRANT: So, even if the deer bites here or here, it’s still growing. And it will take tremendous browse pressure unlike any other soybean variety I’ve ever tried.
GRANT: We’re in another small food plot. This one is less than an acre and there’s obviously intense browse pressure throughout the plot. And I’m just stunned at how this little plant can be, obviously, browsed so heavy. You can see where it’s been browsed off here and new growth come out here and keep putting out new forage.
GRANT: Of course, new leaves are the most digestible. They're the most tender, everything’s digestible. It’s about 100% digestible. So, no doubt about it – if this trend continues and we keep watching this throughout the summer, I’m gonna be a huge fan of Whitetail Thicket for small size food plots.
GRANT: Another characteristic I’m noticing is on the bottom in the plant – or the roots – even these small plants that are only a few weeks old – are already producing a huge amount of nodules or fixing a lot of nitrogen. That’s free nitrogen for this fall. I’ll drill right through this with the Broadside Blend and won’t add any fertilizer cause they’ll be plenty of nitrogen right here to make those wheat and that brassicas and radishes really pop out of the ground.
GRANT: It’s still early on and we’ve had pretty good growing conditions. We’ll be watching these food plots throughout the summer and we’ll keep you posted what we feel about Whitetail Thicket as the season progresses.
GRANT: Monitoring food plots is important for any land manager. But a subject that’s just as important is monitoring invasive species. When I’m talking about invasive species, I’m not talking feral dogs. I’m talking plants that can take up a lot of space.
ADAM: With all the projects we take on during the summer, one of ‘em we don’t want to overlook is invasive species control. One of our biggest invasive species problems here at The Proving Grounds is multiflora rose. There’s a lot of different ways to control this species, but the one we found most effective is cutting it off just above ground level and treatin’ the stump with herbicide.
ADAM: When treating the stumps with a herbicide, I like to use a back pack sprayer. I can be more accurate. Just give it a few squirts on top of the stumps and we’re good to go. Some people like to use a foliar treatment on multiflora rose. That means you're spraying all the green leaves with the herbicide. If there’s any wind drift at all, you're gonna kill some of the plants in the surrounding area that you probably don’t want to kill. So, we’re gonna cut the stem, treat the stump, use less herbicide and not hurt any of the plants in the surrounding area.
GRANT: It’s important to cut every stem because if you cut three-quarters of the bush but leave a few stems standing, those will produce seeds and make your problem worse the following year.
ADAM: When you're dealing with invasives like multiflora rose on the edge of food plots, the cut stump treatment is probably your best bet.
GRANT: Adam and I recently took an afternoon and went up to a plot we call Tracy’s Field and spent a little time watching for deer.
GRANT: We were hoping to – and did see – some velvet bucks, but an added reward was watching a doe with a fairly new fawn.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Fawn. Fawn.
GRANT: This happened to be the same plot where we recently put in a Hot Zone electric fence and we could tell that with the amount of browse pressure we’re seeing now, that fence is gonna pay dividends come deer season.
GRANT: I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy a property this week whether you're watching deer or working on some projects. But even more importantly, slow down every day and find a quiet place and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
ADAM: We cut the stump – once we’ve cut the stump, we’re gonna treat it with three parts water, one part Glyphosate or the generic…
UNKNOWN: Also known as…
ADAM: Some people like to use a foliar- dad gum sweat bee get outta my face!