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>>GRANT: The past couple of episodes we’ve shared with you the results of some of the food plots we established with hand tools. And today, I want to switch over and show you a plot we planted with the Genesis no-till drill.

>>GRANT: The plot is looking good now. Looks like it’s been a field forever. But this plot was trees just like behind me four years ago – 2017, my friend, David Easley helped me remove these trees and prepare this plot.

>>GRANT: We’ve been planting blends on here, not a monoculture – never a single species – but blends to improve the soil. And one time, years ago, we applied chicken litter. Other than that, there’s been no additives here except plants working their magic on the soil.

>>GRANT: You wouldn’t believe it looking at it today, but we named this plot Prickly Pear because of some small openings in the timber here, there were prickly pear cactus growing. That’s how dry this ridge was.

>>GRANT: By applying the principles of soil health, one being never disturb the soil – no tillage; and you can see all the duff on here. It hasn’t been tilled. Allowing organic matter to build has really improved the soil.

>>GRANT: A lot of people see the duff from the past crops on top of the soil and they believe that’s the source of all the organic matter, but it’s kind of like an iceberg. We’re just seeing the tip.

>>GRANT: The way we build up organic matter rapidly is having many species planted together year-round – something growing as many days out of the year as we can. And those roots working their magic in the soil and then never disturbing those roots. And that’s what really builds up organic matter.

>>GRANT: There’s a lot to The Release Process™ and I typically go over the principles of soil health. But today, I want to dive a little bit deeper into just one aspect of what makes it so successful.

>>GRANT: I look around and I see these big, tall – boy, if I stood ‘em up, you know, they were five, six feet tall, whatever – stems of cereal rye. And cereal rye, of course, is really high in carbon. It’s not going to break down quickly, and you can see this is covering the land really well. That’s what’s suppressing weeds and holding in that soil moisture – not allowing it to evaporate out – keeping the soil a bit cooler.

>>GRANT: And cereal rye also has allelopathic qualities. What that means is it actually puts out some chemicals that try to keep other seeds from germinating. Now, it obviously wasn’t enough to keep sunflower or peas or collards or milo from germinating. But again, those real small seeds like weed seeds – they’re almost flower size – it does a great job of suppressing them.

>>GRANT: And also, it breaks down much slower. That’s the really slow-release fertilizer and building organic matter. And then I find some really fine stems like this. This was a clover. You can see the head here. And when you look around, it’s all through here.

>>GRANT: Well, clover is much higher in nitrogen. Nitrogen, of course, is related to protein. And you would think that clover was much higher in protein as the deer feed than a stem, especially a mature stem of cereal rye. Deer don’t even touch it.

>>GRANT: Well, because this is so high in nitrogen, it breaks down much quicker and puts that into the crop. And you want a combination. Ideally, we’d have the carbon to nitrogen ratio about 20:1, or 30:1 – 30 parts carbon, 1 part nitrogen – and that scale kind of slides, depending on your objectives.

>>GRANT: If you just need just intense weed control then you don’t want your cover crop or your last crop breaking down quickly, you want a lot of big, coarse stems, like the small grains.

>>GRANT: But if you’ve got pretty good weed control from the past years and you want to feed this crop rapidly, then you want to plant a blend, you know, before this crop, with quite a bit of legumes or high in nitrogen crops in here, like the clover.

>>GRANT: So, when I look at this now, I’ve got milo right here. It’s kind of equivalent of like the cereal rye or wheat or oats. It’s not going to break down quickly. Those stems aren’t corn stem. But bean or pea or brassica residue, it breaks down quickly.

>>GRANT: Those plants that are really high-quality forage for deer, they break down quickly, and the milo – it’s not in here – deer are not going to browse on this unless they are starving. And it’s going to make a seedhead. I’ve used a really early maturing type of milo.

>>GRANT: So, it’s going to have seedheads available before the oaks make acorns. It’s the only grain in the neighborhood, and you can bet deer will be pouring in here eating those milo seedheads.

>>GRANT: So, I’ve got several things going on because I designed the Summer Release blend. I’m the guy that put these different species together. I’ve got plants that are attracting deer right now. I see some browse pressure.

>>GRANT: I’ve got plants that deer won’t eat until the middle part of summer; the late part of summer. And I’ve also thought about the soil health aspect. So, I’ve got high carbon plants and high nitrogen plants. And I’ll be all set up for my fall crop to feed them fertilizer – slow-release fertilizer – and to suppress weeds for that fall crop.

>>GRANT: When I look in this field, I’m not even seeing a single weed right here. I’m sure there are some out here but I’m not seeing any. And that’s because of this mulch layer.

>>GRANT: Let me explain how that works a little bit. I think there’s a lot of confusion. So, weed seeds, pigweed, you know, marestail, ragweed – which isn’t a really bad weed, deer like to eat on the young ragweed – but all these weed seeds are really small. You never pick up a pigweed or a marestail weed seed. These seeds are really small. These plants may make like a half a million seeds per plant. They’re – they’re like flour. They’re so fine they blow in the wind.

>>GRANT: And when you’ve got this heavy layer of mulch on here, due to The Release Process™, those seeds get warm and moist, and they germinate. They don’t have enough energy – what I call onboard energy, or energy in the seed – to put a root down, reach through all of this mulch, get leaves up, and photosynthesize to get more energy.

>>GRANT: So, there may be weed seeds in here; I’m sure there is. And they germinate but they starve to death before they can get above this mulch and photosynthesize to make more energy.

>>GRANT: It’s really interesting to me in the middle of this road is a nasty, nasty weed called marestail. And this thing will get, you know, three, four feet tall and just produce literally a half million, million seeds per plant. Drought hearty. Nothing eats it; very, very invasive weed.

>>GRANT: And it’s Roundup resistant so to kill it, not many herbicides will kill it at all once it’s taller than this. And Roundup won’t even touch this. It just goes, “Uh, got a little water today,” and goes on, so.

>>GRANT: But look at the leaf structure and the actual veins. And they’re kind of hairy and what-not. And look out in here; we’re three, four feet away. Now marestail seed, it blows through the air like flour.

>>GRANT: Billions and billions of seeds and here, where we had this heavy cover crop and I talked earlier about these little seeds, they just can’t get enough energy. I’m sure they germinated out here, but they can’t make it through that thick mulch.

>>GRANT: I just thought this was interesting. We’ve got a whole string that, quite candidly, the intern is going to come pull. But a whole string of marestail. Herbicide is not going to do it and I don’t like using herbicide unless I have to. It’s just a tool, like getting a root canal. You’ve got to do it every now and then.

>>GRANT: We’ll pull these out, let them die. Zero – I’ve seen zero marestail in this plot. That’s a huge advantage of using The Release Process™.

>>GRANT: You know, I love seeing deer and turkey come in here. Not only do I know I’m benefiting these wildlife populations by providing high-quality forage, I’m providing high-quality protein to my family.

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>>GRANT: It’s going to be hot all week long. I mean, the sun is just bearing down. But when we were setting up, I dug under this mulch. It’s muddy down there. It’s moist.

>>GRANT: Now, the temperature has been in the high 90s recently, or in the 90s anyway. The sun is just bearing down and that causes evaporation. It’s evaporating out of the ground. But we’ve covered it.

>>GRANT: So, I brought my heat gun today. This is – this takes temperature through infrared. It’s about 9:00 so, the heat of the day is not on. But I bet even at this time in the morning, there will be a pretty big temperature difference between on top and then below under the mulch – and that’s saving moisture.

>>GRANT: And we know that it’s much easier to save or conserve moisture than to sit here looking at a blue sky and hope it rains some time.

>>GRANT: All right. We’re just going to stop here. Obviously, these plants are doing well. So, that sunflower right there is, that’s right about 70, 68 to 70 depending on which point of the leaf – that’s super cool. So, at 68, 70 degrees, that plant can use 100% of the moisture. It’s not losing any to evaporation.

>>GRANT: Out of a plant, that’s called trans evaporation. It’s, you know, transporting out soil, what-not and then evaporating out of the plant. And none of that is happening there. So, no wonder these plants look so healthy.

>>GRANT: Even though it’s hot out here. Let’s just go on top of some mulch here. Oh, my goodness. So, 111, 110, 111 – so, plant surface, high 60s, low 70s. On top of the mulch, 110 plus and it’s 9:00 a.m.

>>GRANT: That heat can get so intense, especially on plowed, dark ground where it’s really absorbing heat. This light surface is reflecting the heat. You’ve got a plowed, brown or, hopefully, black soil. I’ve seen it well over 130. And that amount of heat is killing the microbes in the soil, killing some of the insects. And 100% of the moisture is evaporating. It’s going to dry out really quickly. Plants are super stressed.

>>GRANT: So, we know what it is. It’s about 110, 111 on top. I’m going to rake it back and I’ll have to measure pretty soon because it will warm up quickly. So, I’m right here. I’ll rake this back.

>>GRANT: There – ooh, look at that. In the 70s. You can see the red dot is down there on the ground. In the 70s; starting to warm up already. Look at that. It’s starting to warm up a little bit.

>>GRANT: So, I’ll cover that back up. Here’s an amazing thing. Look at this, folks. We’ve had no rain in like a week or more now. It’s been hot – sunny and hot. It’s muddy underneath there. It’s not just – look at my fingers. It’s muddy under there.

>>GRANT: That’s a huge, a huge advantage of The Release Process™ – conserving soil moisture. We’re not going to irrigate. There’s no well within – I don’t know – a mile of where we’re standing or something like that.

>>GRANT: And so, we went from – easy math – 110 to 70 degrees. We’re 111, a little bit over 70. We’re 38 or 40 degrees cooler in the soil versus right on top of the mulch. A 40-degree difference at 9:15 a.m. That’s why this field looks so great; these plants look so healthy. No fertilizer, no insecticide, herbicide, all that stuff.

>>GRANT: If you’re not a believer in The Release Process™, get you a way to take the temperature. It will make you a believer quickly. I – I got to tell you I’m excited – I’m kind of in shock. I didn’t think at 9:00 a.m. we’d find a 40-degree difference and that much moisture under this mulch knowing how hot and dry it’s been. I’m super excited about this.

>>GRANT: So, obviously, you know, from soil temperature to the quality of the forage to the look of the dirt, this food plot is cooking on all eight cylinders. And I hear a lot of people say, “Well, man, you’ve been doing that decades.” I want to remind everyone that this food plot was the exact same as the timber right behind me – low-quality hardwoods – just four years ago. Dozers were in here, a track hoe, taking out trees, piling and burning. It was like – like the road right behind us. It was like concrete.

>>GRANT: And four years of applying the principles of The Release Process™ has converted this to a super high-quality food plot that attracts deer; a great hunting location and significantly improving the soil’s health.

>>GRANT: Never too late to start. Maybe this summer is the time you want to give it a try.

>>GRANT: If I can get 10 or 20 more days of growth out of the moisture I’ve already received, that can be all the difference between a food plot success and a food plot failure.

>>GRANT: Just think – if farmers use this system and many do. I think about five or ten percent of U.S. farmers use this system. But if more used it, significant decreases in the need to irrigate. And think about the savings for all of us – our grocery prices; not using all that energy to pump the water, not displacing all that groundwater and have it run off into our streams and our wells carrying insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, fertilizer, nitrates into the water sources.

>>GRANT: There’s just no doubt about it – using what the ag people call as regenerative ag, or what I call The Release Process™, because it needs to be tweaked a little bit for smaller fields. This food plot system where you’ve got constant deer pressure out here browsing, you know, if I planted soybeans in this small plot. They used to work great until our habitat got good and the deer herd built up and then they’d wipe them out.

>>GRANT: Well, most food plot farmers face this same thing. And by planting a blend of species – some that’s not palatable like this milo coming on now and some other species that’s not palatable early on like guar, which is like a soybean, but it’s high in tannic acid like a red oak acorn until it gets closer to maturing.

>>GRANT: By planting a blend of species, I have that time-released food plot coming on. Stuff deer are browsing on early and stuff they won’t browse on until much later in the summer.

>>GRANT: So, you put your techniques in place – The Release Process™ – and then you put in, using a high-quality plant blend, you come up with really successful food plots that attract deer, provide more nutrition than other food plot techniques and blends, and improve the soil, all while reducing your costs.

>>GRANT: I believe this blend – it’s the Summer Release blend – costs less than 50 bucks an acre. Compare that to some of the high dollar crops out there and you’ll see a huge savings, not only in money but improving soil quality and the local environment.

>>GRANT: Learning what we generically call the plan or how this planet was created to express its full potential and the principles we need to apply to restore the planet so it can be extremely productive is a great way to enjoy Creation.

>>GRANT: But more importantly, I hope you find time every day to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.