Big Antlers start in the dirt (Episode 22 Transcript)

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ANNOUNCER: is brought to you by Reconyx, Barnes, Eagle Seed, Muddy Outdoors, Trophy Rock, Antler Dirt, Nikon, and Outer Armour.

WOODS: Depending on where you live in America, you probably drive by poultry houses and you may be thinking the source of Thanksgiving turkey, place to practice your turkey calls or eggs.  But, when I drive by poultry houses, I’m thinking antlers.  Because poultry houses are the beginning of Antler Dirt.  Now, Antler Dirt is what I use to fertilize there at The Proving Grounds.  And it’s simply composted and humified poultry litter.  So, join me today and among other things we’re gonna talk about is what Antler Dirt really is and the process of how it’s built and customized for my property or anybody that buys Antler Dirt to grow big antlers.

WOODS: Dwayne, would you tell me, now that I’ve been using this for five years and growing great deer and great crops, why am I growing great deer and great crops?  How do you develop Antler Dirt?

DWAYNE: Well, Grant, we start by putting a special bedding in the poultry houses and using that special bedding over several flocks so that we get plenty of the nutrients from the turkeys into that or the poultry.

WOODS: Okay.  So, stage one, is we clean out the houses, put it in piles that are manageable size and shape …

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: …and cover it to keep rain off and does that do anything with the heat?  Does that control heat or not control heat?

DWAYNE: It does keep the heat in so that we can have that processing and cooking and doing the things that we need it to do.

WOODS: So, right off the bat, when that’s cooking, that’s killing any bacteria that’s in there.

DWAYNE: We process at a temperature that will kill any Ecoli or Salmonella.  We do test for those things so that we are, have a safe organic product for you to use.  We have a special controlled process that we do and we have special equipment and we have special test instruments so that we can read the temperature in the center of that pile.  We know exactly what’s going on in that pile as we’re processing that pile.

WOODS: All right.  So, we’re holding it at, you know, 130, give or take, degrees for four weeks, cooking the bad bacteria; killing them, but some of the healthier bacteria that we like, actually have a higher point that they die.  So they’re just living through this, but then, later in the process, you add more good stuff to it.

DWAYNE: That’s correct.  Well, Grant, what we have here is all the ingredients that we will put together to make humus.  And what humus is, basically, is the home, the house for the microbe that gives it all that it needs to live and thrive.  And why those microbes are important is because that life that we’re putting in the soil is what puts the, the nutrients from the soil and the plant in the form that it wants.

WOODS: So, you’re gonna make humus.  Instead of taking 200 years of old growth forest, you’re gonna make humus.

DWAYNE: That’s correct.

WOODS: Can you show us how you make humus?

DWAYNE: You betcha.  We can show you the entire process.

WOODS: And, and then, you take that humus and you mix it with that litter that you’ve heated up to kill the bad bacteria, so you take good and put it with clean and come up with super.

DWAYNE: That’s exactly right.

WOODS: Man, that’s a, I knew there was antlers in this process somewhere. Okay.  So, well, let’s make some humus, then, can we do that?

DWAYNE: You betcha.  Let’s go.

WOODS: All right.  Let’s get on that tractor, then.

WOODS: That’s a neat machine and a neat process, but what are we getting ready to do now?

DWAYNE: We’re getting ready to take this life that’s in here, all these good microbes, and we’re gonna pour into that tank and as he goes through, you’ll see that that spray rig will simply inoculate every particle, actually every particle, as he goes through.  Through the twelve-week process that it takes to make humus, we’ll do this four times so that you have plenty of life in there to grow plenty of antlers when we’re done.

WOODS: Now, I can already see some heat rising off there.  Starting to cook and break and I understand tomorrow that will really start cooking a little bit more.

DWAYNE: Yeah, the process will really get going good tomorrow. It sure will.

WOODS: Okay.  Now, you do this all the time.  It’s not like you just, you know, it’s just like you do it and then you go home and go fishing for four weeks.  So, we’ve got a pile right over here that you’ve already done this, that we’re now twelve weeks out on.  Let’s go see what that looks like.

DWAYNE: Okay. Let’s go.

WOODS: I mean, that just doesn’t smell.

DWAYNE: Right.

WOODS: I mean, you’re thinking the process I saw, that pile over there had some odor to it.


WOODS: My kids could play on this.  What’s going on there?

DWAYNE: Well, when you, when you take and we, we just fully digest everything there and make it one product called humus.  It’s no longer those six different ingrediences that we mixed a while ago.  It’s now humus.

WOODS: Just like playing in forest dirt.  Okay.  So, we’ve been doing a lot of stuff.

DWAYNE: Yes, sir.

WOODS: We’ve got this covered up.  Tell me what we got.

DWAYNE: We have the processed litter here.  This, this stack here is what we’re going to add the humus and minerals to.

WOODS: So, it’s done cooking so to speak.

DWAYNE: Everything….

WOODS: The recipe’s ready.

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: And the finished humus we just saw…

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: …and the mineral is going to be stirred in here, put on a truck and taken to guys like me to grow antlers.

DWAYNE: That’s right.  That’s exactly right.

WOODS: And then, so this is the last stage of the process.

DWAYNE: It is the last stage of the process, right here.

WOODS: Well, let’s pull the tarp back and get some mixing going on.

DWAYNE: All right.  Next and very important thing is the mineral formulation.  Well, we formulate minerals to grow big antlers.  And that’s what separates us from any other type of fertilization out there is we mix to grow antlers when we put the minerals in it.

WOODS: So, so you take whatever knowledge is available about whitetail, which is somewhat limited.  We all know that.  Because they’re not studied like humans.  There’s millions of us and doctors poking and prodding every day.


WOODS: But the research that is available from deer growers in New Zealand and what-not, using the best we can.  We’re formulating minerals, you are, not me.  And you’re adding that in here.


WOODS: I think everyone sees there’s a lot into it.  So, everyone’s gonna ask the first question: “Grant what’s that cost?  How does that compare to, like commercial fertilizer?”

DWAYNE: It’s pretty close to commercial fertilizer in cost.

WOODS: So, it’s about the same.

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: So, if I’m gonna add whatever I need a commercial fertilizer to soil test.  You know, I got a good soil test.  I’m gonna bring it up to where I’m really trying to grow good,…


WOODS: …this would cost more or less the same, depending on where you are…

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: But, this has organic matter and lye bacteria.  This, you don’t have to add any lime.  This neutralizes pH automatically.

DWAYNE: It does.  Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: So, commercial fertilizer and lime, or just this one cost of this.

DWAYNE: That’s right.

WOODS: And this holds the moisture.  My soil is real rocky, so water; it rains at my place, a guy in China’s getting wet.  It just goes right through.  I, I swear that’s what happens.

DWAYNE: Right.

WOODS: But this holds more than its weight in water because it’s got that organic matter.

DWAYNE: Four times.

WOODS: Four times its weight in water.

DWAYNE: Hmm.  Hmm.

WOODS: A lot of benefits here, isn’t there.

DWAYNE: A lot of benefits.  One of the main benefits is: we’re not just feeding the crop.  We’re also building the soil at the same time.

WOODS: Typically, once a year application, based on a soil test.


WOODS: Thank you for your time.

DWAYNE: Thank you, Dr. Woods.

WOODS: I know you all were working today.  I interrupted making you do this, that.  But I got some of your cookies.  That’s all good.  You’re spreading at my place next week.  My testimony’s clear.  I’ve been using this for five years.  Uh, I’m real pleased with deer I’m growing and the crops I’m growing and I’m looking forward to it again, this year.  Dwayne, thanks again.

DWAYNE: Thank you, Dr. Woods.