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GRANT: September 4th. The antlers are finished growing but the food plots are coming on strong, ready for deer season here at The Proving Grounds.
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GRANT: Ms. Tracy and I recently had an opportunity to tour where Trophy Rocks are mined out of Redmond, Utah. The mine goes down about 300 feet deep and winds around through a pure mineral deposit. The walls are mineral. The ceilings are mineral. It’s not a vein like you might picture a gold vein going through a mountain. It’s a big, huge amount of an old deposit from a sea where the minerals stayed intact. And it’s the only one like it known on the North American continent.
GRANT: I knew about the 60+ different minerals in Trophy Rock and a little bit. But I really didn’t understand just how natural it was until Tracy and I toured the mine.
GRANT: Once we came out of the mine and left the mountains, we checked our cell phones and noticed that Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Although Tracy and I were really enjoying our short tour out West, I knew Adam and Brian would have to be really hustling to get all the seed in the ground before Isaac brought the rain.
ADAM: Hurricane Isaac is supposed to hit Friday; hit here in Missouri Friday and Saturday where it’s supposed to dump 2” to 4” of rain on us, so we’re all hands on deck trying to get all seed in the ground and just watch it rain.
GRANT: At 1:30 AM Friday morning, I received a text from Adam saying he had just got off the tractor and it was starting to rain. Those extremely long days by Adam and Brian will no doubt pay huge dividends this fall because we got the seed in the ground right before the rain, helping us ensure we’ve got quality forage to attract deer and provide quality nutrition throughout the winter.
GRANT: When Tracy and I returned home, I couldn’t wait to tour the food plots at The Proving Grounds, and I was thrilled to see a green fuzz coming up in every plot. Our wheat looks perfect because Adam and Brian hustled so hard to get all the seed in the ground before the rain.
GRANT: I want to monitor the growth to see how productive this variety of wheat is and the impact of deer browsing on it. I want to know how tall the wheat gets without deer browsing on it, so I can estimate how many tons per acre were produced and if I have more deer than food or if I have more food than deer. A really simple and inexpensive way to do that is utilization cages. A utilization cage is simply a three or four foot wire basket that protects the vegetation on the inside from being browsed while deer have access to all the forage outside the cage.
GRANT: If you’ve ever thrown a ball hat, you know it doesn’t fly straight. So I simply take my hat and just pitch it behind my back and wherever it lands is where I put my cage. (Laughter)
GRANT: So while Adam and Brian are laughing at my bald head, I’m gonna go back here and put this cage right where my hat landed and we’ll follow it through the winter and see how this field does.
GRANT: I often put a little flagging on here just to make sure the deer see it and don’t run into it somehow, but more importantly, make sure the tractor driver sees it next spring when we’re coming in to re-do this plot.
GRANT: You may recall back in June when we put a HotZone Electric Fence around one of our small hidey hole food plots we call Last Lick. It’s been the driest summer in 119 years of record keeping. Year after year, I’m continually amazed at how durable the Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans are and the beans are now waist tall inside that HotZone fence. After a long, extended drought, last week Hurricane Isaac brought 3” of rain here to The Proving Grounds. Over a period of days, all of it was slow and gentle. 3” of rain, no water in the creek, all soaked in nice and slow and is now showing in these monster Eagle Seed beans.
GRANT: There’s a huge difference between soybeans bred to provide forage and pods and just regular production beans. You may notice the top of some of these beans have a lime green color. And that’s where the beans are growing so rapidly, they haven’t flushed with nutrients yet. They’ve been setting here in this drought surviving all summer, where other forage crops died here at The Proving Grounds, the Eagle Seed beans held on and actually are flushing with new forage, even in September. These beans have been bred to make pods at the bottom while still putting on flowers and new forage on top. That’s what keeps them attractive all the way through to hunting season – where conventional beans turn yellow and we notice deer abandon those fields and move on to other food sources right about hunting season. Next year I’ll place another wire about 6” off the ground to keep the groundhogs out and this plot will be even better.
GRANT: Got the beans protected by the fence. Muddy treestands right behind me. In a few days, we’ll see how well this project works.
GRANT: I hope you have time to get out and put a little hidey hole food plot in or inspect the food plots you planted this summer, and either way, take a moment to think about the Creator and enjoy Creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.