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>>GRANT: Daniel and I are in a small, hidey hole food plot here at The Proving Grounds and I’m really enjoying this one because I’ve got some great memories. On February 19th, there were several inches of snow on the ground. It was really cold. And that’s when we broadcast Early Start Release clover in this field.

>>GRANT: Early Start is a really cool blend I helped develop with Green Cover Food Plots. It’s got several varieties of annual clovers. It’s got a little bit of alfalfa and some chicory. So, it’s a very diverse blend.

>>GRANT: And it looks great. Man, there’s browse all over. The real magic is we got cold, walked through the snow, spread some seed and we haven’t done anything else.

>>GRANT: This is on top of a mountain, literally. It’s kind of steep getting here. You’re not going to get a fertilizer truck here or a tractor.

>>GRANT: What you’re seeing here is the results of hand tools and high-quality seed.

>>GRANT: You can tell that one of the varieties of clover is blooming. It may make viable seed. We’ve seen some bumblebees out here getting the pollen off this seed. You know, bumblebees are kind of, they’re in a little bit of trouble across the USA, but not here at The Proving Grounds. We’ve got plenty of pollinator species between our food plots and the native vegetation.

>>GRANT: When I get close and I look down, there’s some little-bitty, young clover just coming on. It’s been cold and wet here at The Proving Grounds. And I suspect soil is just really getting right for some varieties of clover to really start expressing their potential.

>>GRANT: The chicory leaves – what’s not already been consumed by deer – gosh, they look to be five, six inches long. Of course, chicory is really high in mineral content. It does a great job of extracting minerals out of the soil and providing it in a form that deer want to eat and it’s readily digestible.

>>GRANT: We wanted to make a blend that was very inexpensive and would thrive in less-than-optimal habitat. This is a rocky mountaintop, shallow soils. There’s browse all over. There’s sign where deer have been walking; trampling it down. It’s working perfect for my mission.

>>GRANT: You may wonder why we even mess with planting this little, small mountaintop, but, man, this is an ideal hunting location because it’s the highest point around.

>>GRANT: And the slightest breeze up here is going to be constant. It’s going in one direction. So, we can approach, get in our stand, and likely hunt without alerting any deer because the wind is not swirling. And swirling wind that’s the biggest enemy of a deer hunter wanting to get some venison.

>>GRANT: There’s really good coverage up here. I mean, the deer have been browsing a lot. But it’s a thick stand and it’s doing a great job of preparing this for when we come in, about mid to late August – once we see a rain in the forecast – and broadcast a fall blend into this.

>>GRANT: We’ll use the Fall Release blend, and it will do great. As a matter fact when I look behind me, I see a few oats and what-not still standing from the last time we broadcast during August.

>>GRANT: Oats mature much slower than wheat or cereal rye. So, you can still see the oats in here. And that’s okay. They’re not going to get away. Because once those oat seeds are a bit more mature, deer, turkey, and squirrels will wipe them out. I’m not worried about them volunteering in the plot.

>>GRANT: A lot of legumes in this blend; the annual clovers and the alfalfa and they’re really good at fixing or extracting nitrogen from the atmosphere, putting it in the plant and in the soil.

>>GRANT: I talk a lot about microbes – kind of a fancy name for bacteria. Plants can’t do that without a partnership of those microbes. And that’s why we inoculate clover.

>>GRANT: Now, in a stand like this where we’ve had really good clover for a while, you may not need to inoculate the clover when you’re planting new. But it’s very inexpensive relative to everything else we do. So, I always inoculate clover, or alfalfa, any legume before planting it.

>>GRANT: That not only helps this crop grow and be very palatable and high in protein. I mean, nitrogen is a big building block of proteins. But it’s not using all of that nitrogen, so it’s pumping some in the soil. And when these plants die and decompose, there’s more nitrogen going in the soil.

>>GRANT: You may be asking, “Well, where do they get it? I know a little bit of the air we breathe is nitrogen.” Well, not a little bit. Like over 70% of the air we breathe is nitrogen.

>>GRANT: It’s actually in a form we can’t use as humans. So, it goes in and out. But the plants with this relationship with the bacteria, or microbes, can utilize that for their own growth and for future crops.

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>>GRANT: You may wonder why I talk about nitrogen and free nitrogen so much. Well, it’s really simple. You know, above every acre on the planet is about 35 tons – or about 70,000 pounds – of nitrogen.

>>GRANT: I mean, right above this hilltop, over an acre, there’s 70,000 pounds of nitrogen. And I’m worried about going to the store which takes time and buying and hauling out fairly caustic nitrogen fertilizer and spreading it and breathing it an all that stuff when I can plant a crop that’s perfect. It’s part of the plan to pull that nitrogen out of the air, make it in a plant-usable form, and put it in the soil.

>>GRANT: When I talk about 70,000 pounds of nitrogen above each acre and all the principles of building or improving soil health, well, that’s The Release Process™, or simply what I call, in short, The Plan.

>>GRANT: You know, before the Europeans got here, it was extremely productive; lots, and millions and millions of Native Americans, high-quality soil, lots of critters – buffalo, elk, whatever, deer.

>>GRANT: Well, that’s part of the plan or what we call The Release Process™. We’re just going back and healing or allowing the earth to express its full potential.

>>GRANT: And this clover crop, yeah, it’s attracting deer. I’ve got a Reconyx right over here. It’s cool to see all the deer and turkey using the area. It works perfectly for that.

>>GRANT: But it’s also improving the soil’s health. When I scratch this back and look at the color of the soil; and knowing what it was when we cleared out the brush on top of this old Ozark Mountain and what we started with and where we are today, and how productive this is. I’m super excited about The Release Process™ and sharing the steps we use so you can improve where you hunt on your Proving Grounds.

>>GRANT: Man, I like talking about improving the soil health and The Release Process™, but that extends to the critters – releasing their potential.

>>GRANT: We just got some cool Reconyx of a fawn up here, and no doubt the mom is feeding in here and she’s feeding on really high-quality forage which allows her milk quality to be better. And that’s transferred into the fawn.

>>GRANT: And we get even deeper than that; talking about releasing the potential or The Release Process™. I think it was Mississippi State that did some great research on this where if you take deer – maybe in low-quality habitat – and you’re thinking, boy, it’s a genetics issue.

>>GRANT: And improve that habitat, improve their feed, and improve their protection from predators by having really high-quality cover, they will actually change how their genes are expressed.

>>GRANT: And in about three generations, if you’re doing really good work with the food plots and the cover of the habitat, you’re thinking, “Man, someone purchased some deer from the Delta and Mississippi and that study, or from Iowa, and released them here.”

>>GRANT: That’s never the case, folks. You could take the greatest genetics, the greatest deer out of Iowa or wherever your favorite place is, put them in low-quality habitat, and a couple of generations later, you’re going, “Ugh. I guess all those good genetics died out and I’m left with the local genetics.”

>>GRANT: No. You’re left with that local habitat quality.

>>GRANT: And that’s why here at The Proving Grounds, man, we harvest great deer. We see healthy fawns and healthy does, because we’ve got high-quality habitat.

>>GRANT: We’ve shared our soil test results with you. I just shared it with a guy last week from northern Missouri. He was like, “Man, I don’t even see this around here. I don’t see it in Iowa where I work with farmers.”

>>GRANT: You can have high-quality habitat no matter where you are. It may take longer in some places than others. But you can have high-quality habitat if you apply the techniques we share with you that we call The Release Process™.

>>GRANT: I can’t wait to come back in a few months because I know deer are patterned to coming here – looking at all the browse and trampling and my Reconyx camera – and see what shows up in bow season.

>>GRANT: You know, working with this is a great way to enjoy Creation. And even understanding the processes is a good way to learn more about the Creator. But most importantly, I want you to take time every day to be quiet and intentionally seek the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.