Food Plots: Planting Then Scouting (Episode 79 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here. 

GRANT: Testing. One, two, three, four. One, two, three.

BRAD: Okay.

GRANT: It’s May 23rd here at The Proving Grounds and there’s a big storm moving in. You may hear some thunder in the background, so hang on and let’s bring you up to speed on what’s going on at The Proving Grounds this week.

ANNOUNCER: is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Gallagher, Muddy Outdoors, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester Ammunition, Redneck Hunting Blinds, Derby City Turkey Calls, Ansmann, and Antler Dirt.

GRANT: Brad and Hunter did a lot of work last week planting, and it’s not just planting and driving a tractor but we actually take time to figure out what we want to plant where.

GRANT: Of course, we use Eagle Seed forage soybeans but that’s kind of a generic term. There’s different variety of Eagle Seed beans and some varieties are more drought resistant. We want to put those maybe on a ridgetops. Some varieties of Eagle Seed beans produce a little bit more of the pods for late winter. We know where deer are gonna be in the late winter. Some are just a little bit more forage production. You can go to their website, and learn very simply which variety fits your application.

BRAD: All right. So, today I want to finish up our soybeans. It’s important to remember that every year is a little bit different. Sometimes you have just a few planting days. Sometimes you have two or three weeks of planting. It seems like this year we’re gonna have a shorter window. So, we’re in a hurry to get it in the soil.

BRAD: The conditions are finally right. Unlike last year, we got it planted in April. It’s already the middle of May and we’re trying to finish up our soybeans, but that’s okay. Every year there’s gonna be a variation between planting dates because we want to plant when conditions are right – not necessarily when we have the tractor and planter hooked up.

BRAD: Every year there’s a variation in our planting times, because the conditions are not always right during the same time each year. That’s why it’s important not just to look at a map or some timeframe that says when you need to plant your crop. It’s important to go out in your field. Is the soil moisture right? Is that soil temperature right to really get your soybeans coming out of the ground quickly?

BRAD: By hustling now, we can really enjoy the rewards that we can get later on in the fall while we’re hunting.

GRANT: I’m excited this morning. I’m not over the top, but I’m gaining confidence because we have corn visible in a row. Now, long-term watchers of will know that for two years in a row, wireworm, a little segmented worm, has consumed our corn kernels before it came out of the ground.

GRANT: So, we’re two weeks now from planting date to now and we’re averaging three, four inches and making a couple of leaves, so we’ve got corn coming out. But, victory is not here yet, even though we can see rows. It’s just like finding good deer sign, but you haven’t actually punched your tag yet. We’re only halfway there and I’ll show you why.

GRANT: Just a few feet from where I was sounding so victorious, we have a corn seedling that’s been clipped off right at the ground level and that’s typical of different species of cutworm. Called cutworm because it cuts the corn off at this seedling stage.

GRANT: So, it’s not time to dance victory yet. It’s time to be out right before it rains – it’s gonna rain – scouting our fields to see if this is just a rare event or it’s more frequent and we have to apply a different insecticide to preserve our corn crop.

GRANT: Yeah, as Nathan pointed out, several of the leaves are just clipped off.

GRANT: You know, after all the planting, it’s just as important to scout. And I’m not talking about scouting where we put our deer stands. It’s scouting to see how your stand is coming up. Did we use the right insecticide? Or we got our beans too close? How many germinated? Do we need to up the rate? Or not up the rate? Scouting for your food plots success within the first week gives you time to recover if – forbid –  you need to replant, use an insecticide on top of it, or what’s going on. Scouting for your food plots is just as important as scouting for your deer stands.

NATHAN: That sure is a pick-me-up, isn’t it?

GRANT: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

GRANT: So, what happens is if you plant corn on a property multiple years in a row – not even in the same field, but different fields you’re rotating – but you’ll build up insect populations that eat on corn and you’ll have to go to different corn traits or a different type of insecticide to protect that crop. A lot of people don’t know that, but that’s how America farmers feed the world is by using different strains of corn or different insecticides. If we were all based simply on no insecticide, we’d all be hungry.

GRANT: Literally just a few feet across, of course, an interior road, we planted soybeans – Eagle Seed beans – about five, six days later – or after the corn is planted. They’ve already germinated and no problem seeing the rows. They’re just – you almost feel ‘em growing the energy here. Now, a couple of secrets to that is – of course, the Eagle Seed beans have literally been hand pollinated, hand selected for 40 years by the family that owns that company for drought resistance, and vigorous growth, and production, and browse tolerance. They’re the perfect deer forage because of that selection that’s occurred. And all we do to prepare these plots is mow down the last crop  – that happened to be soybeans, you can see the stems here – that adds great organic matter. We apply the compost which has humus bacteria – and humus bacteria breaks all this down to usable dirt that the plants get the nutrients out of. Spray to kill any weeds coming on and drill. So, real simple process and look at this stand. Unless we get a catastrophic drought or something, there will be plenty of great forage for the deer to consume; make milk for those babies; grow big antlers; and that turns into meat for our table and great recreational hunts. So, the beans are doing great. Judgment is still waiting on the corn field. Let’s go check something else.

GRANT: You know, no food plot is good unless you really protect the dirt.

GRANT: Between here and the valley below me drops 400 feet, very steep topography. When you’re driving a tractor right here, you’re, you’re kind of thinking about it. It’s very steep. But you see no sign of erosion and that’s because we have all this organic matter and we never disc it. So, here’s a corn stalk – a partial corn stalk – from a couple years ago and there’s all this wheat and we’ve just drilled right through it. It holds moisture; it keeps the dirt from washing down the hill, literally. And as this rots and falls over and these new beans come up in here, it just keeps everything in place and this builds more soil. If you’re a serious food plotter, I want you to really consider either renting – most counties have ‘em for rent – or getting a no till drill. Take care of your dirt because taking care of your dirt is what takes care of your fawns, your does, and antler development.

GRANT: I think my turkey hunting buddies thought I was hunting a little too much, I had a little bit too much success during 2011 because almost behind my back, they devised this contest. We’re going to give away all four of the Derby City turkey calls I selected and used for myself this year. Man, they’re personalized with “Growing Deer” and “Grant Woods” on the back, so my buddies can’t say, “Oh, that’s my call, Grant,” and stick it in their turkey vest. All four of them are going to be given to one lucky person that enters our contest. Check out the contest rules and we’ll send you all four of my Derby City turkey calls.