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GRANT: It’s still hunting season in several states throughout the whitetails range. But I want to take a break and talk about food plots because I’m getting a lot of emails already about, “How should I plant? What should I plant? How should I manage my food plots next year?”

GRANT: We were impacted by the storms that recently went through much of the Midwest and caused horrible damage and even loss of life. And I’m very saddened by that. As a matter of fact, I got out in the storms — I’m kind of a storm watcher — took my phone and I was just amazed at how much the lightning was going off.

GRANT: And man, the wind out — right there was blowing sideways and rain just pounding. And there’s zero erosion. There is no dirt on the gravel at the bottom of the creek. There’s zero erosion and that’s because for 20 plus years all we’ve used here is a no-till drill. There’s been no disking and I’m on a hillside food plot. It gets really steep over here. Zero erosion. So, that’s start one.

GRANT: If you’re developing new food plots, you’ve got to clean out trees and what not, understand — as soon as you can get to the stage where you’re using a no-till drill or you’re broadcasting into a standing crop, you want to get away from using a disk, for erosion and many other reasons.

GRANT: One of the primary reasons — it seems so simple. And I talk about it a lot. And I — I think maybe people don’t get it. But I’ll just bend down here, but one of the primary reasons is building soil.

GRANT: You cannot disk. It’s impossible to disk without harming soil. And the opposite of that is if you follow the natural plan; if you follow how soil was taken care of for, you know, however long, before we invented the disk, the soil was awesome. And we can return to that.

GRANT: Look, this little bit I put up, there’s an earthworm right here; just this little bit. That earthworm was created to do just this. To build soil and to perfectly aerate the soil. There’s no disk, no implement built known to man that does as good a job of creating perfect soil conditions for plants to grow and be productive, as an earthworm and the other soil life. They create the perfect growing condition seed bed, and we destroy all that when we’re disking.

GRANT: They also provide the lime and fertilizer.

GRANT: Now this year, boy, fertilizer costs are really high. Maybe that’s why I’m getting so many emails about, how I should do my food plots. Because this field, now it looks a little trashy. Look at this. This is sun hemp from the summer blend. We just drilled right through here. That’s why some stuff’s standing, some’s laying down.

GRANT: The deer consumed all of the leaves, stripped all the leaves off here and sun hemp, in the northern hemisphere, will not make viable seed. You won’t get any volunteers coming up in this. And the reason sun hemp was in here, it’s a tremendous legume.

GRANT: And on a full crop — this is just part of a blend — but on a full crop, NRCS and other groups have shown that it will produce about 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

GRANT: Remember, that the air we breath is more than 70 percent nitrogen. There’s 30 tons of nitrogen in the air above every acre. Why would you ever pay to put it on the soil, when you can put some legumes in your blend and add the nitrogen for your next crop.

GRANT: People ask me, “What should we planting this spring?” Well, I had a legume in there and then I just bend down again. I can bend down anywhere but I’ve got a couple different species of clover in my fall crop and, man, it’s lush, it’s green, it’s super nutritious. Deer are eating it right now. And it’s also adding nitrogen. So, if you’ve got some legumes, not 100 percent legumes, but you’ve got some legumes in your fall blend and your summer blend, really quickly, within a year or two of following what we call, the release process, you will be out of ever paying for nitrogen again.

GRANT: That’s not the only thing. The cost savings of buying it, but then you’ve got to spread it. Nitrogen, all fertilizers, all synthetic fertilizers, are very acidic. They kill the living organisms in the soil, and they mean you have to add more lime.

GRANT: Remember, forever the buffalo ran across the great prairie, no one was adding fertilizer. No one was adding lime. And it was super productive. We’re just mimicking those results. Mimicking what happened in the release process to grow these wonderful crops.

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GRANT: We’re in December and I remember several years ago, my youngest daughter Rae was either late junior high or early in high school and she didn’t kill a buck during the Missouri’s firearm season. We have a late muzzle season right around Christmas. Man, it was cold that year and she would hunt in this field because several bucks were coming out in this field.

GRANT: Every afternoon she got here, I mean, it was cold. Like, 15 or her hair would freeze. Rae has long hair. You know, she’d take a shower to go hunting and it would freeze out here. And at that end of the field, I had patterned a bunch of bucks coming in. And Rae ended up tagging a really good buck out of here. But when I look back at that footage the forage is lip high.

GRANT: And as I’ve continued and improved this soil, without adding any lime or fertilizer, just really good blends — good blends of crops and using a no-till drill, here we are in December. Man, it’s lush. There’s more food out here than deer can eat and it’s growing. Now, I just showed you an earthworm. The soil, with all this life in it, stays warmer than it used to. So, the plants will grow even when it gets cold.

GRANT: We’ve been down cold but plants are still green and growing, and the worms are still active, adding fertilizer every single day, 365 days out of the year.

GRANT: The magic of blends are that, you know, the sun hemp and the milo — you can see the results of — were great during the warm season. We just drilled right through here and now we’ve got small grains. Cereal rye, wheat and oats, couple of species of clovers, brassicas.

GRANT: You want to have several families in whatever you’re planting. So, brassicas would be a family. Sun hemp is a legume. Clover’s a legume. Alfalfa’s a legume. Turnips, radishes; in the summer collards or brassicas, milo’s a grass. You want different families because those different families feed different microbes or organisms in the soil. And when you have them all working, that’s the ideal situation.

GRANT: We talked a lot so far about what’s going on below the soil. But when you have all those different plants there’s something that attracts and feeds deer throughout the year.

GRANT: So, you know, it’s kind of a nice day. My coat’s not too heavy today. Deer are probably loving these greens and eating the clover. High protein — these living proteins, you know, high quality stuff, are much better than anyone can grow, dry, harvest, put in a bag. Somebody else buys it, processes it, puts a fancy picture on there and then retails it.

GRANT: That’s not bad but it’s not as good as what’s growing. You just can’t do better than what’s out here. And deer are what’s called, diet balancers. They’re not going to just eat one thing. They’re going to balance what their body needs. Like, I could sit down with a pan of fudge right after Christmas dinner and eat only fudge all afternoon. That’s not balancing my diet.

GRANT: Deer are much smarter than humans when it comes to that. And they eat a bunch of clover, which is super high in protein, but they need some grains in the winter. They’re eating these milo heads I see browsed on. They’re going to select what they need to get the perfect diet, if it’s available.

GRANT: If you planted a monocultural. All clover, all winter wheats, something like that. There’s not chance, that plot any way, is going to allow deer to balance their diet.

GRANT: Using bends and not disturbing the soil, allows you to take care of the critters below the ground, what a lot of people call the underground herd, which is super important. If you have a healthy underground herd, you have a really healthy aboveground herd.

GRANT: If you’d like to see this, you want to touch it, feel it and really go in deep, we’re going to host a field event during late March. I don’t know all the details yet. But, you know, kind of be thinking that last Friday and Saturday in March. We limit these. Like, 75 maybe 100 people. So, everyone can hear what we’re saying.

GRANT: We’ll be out here, going through all the plants, digging. Keith Burn from Green Cover Seed, whose super knowledgeable about all this, will be here. I’m sure we’ll have the Genesis drilling through here, just as an example of how we plant what we’re doing. If you’re really into improving your food plots and saving money and not using herbicide or synthetic fertilizer, come visit us during late March.

GRANT: I’ve got to tell you, one of the ways I really enjoy Creation is learning more about soil health and these very simple principles that improve it. I’m on a rocky ridge and when I look at the dirt it’s black and it look likes Iowa dirt here in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri.

GRANT: Learning more about creation, always points back to the Creator. And I hope you take time to be quiet, every day, and be intentional about seeking the Creator’s will for your life.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.