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>>GRANT: It’s May 6th, and I’m getting a lot of questions about food plots; pictures of people that have already planted; a lot of people, of course, disking the soil; worried because it’s still cold and they haven’t planted yet.

>>GRANT: So, I want to slow everyone down. I want to talk about The Release Process™, how beneficial it is to both wildlife and the soil, and why I’m not worried that I haven’t planted already.

>>GRANT: Many long-term viewers of GrowingDeer will remember many years ago that I started planting blends and doing different techniques, and as I learned more, I called that – or I coined the term – the Buffalo System. And that was really great. Well, I learned a lot and really improved the soils here at The Proving Grounds, but as I’ve learned even more and I’ve advanced in my techniques, I’ve moved on to what we call The Release Process™. I’m releasing the potential of the soil or releasing Creation’s potential.

>>GRANT: These techniques are not complicated, and they’re just following very simple soil health improvement principles. One of those principles is have the ground covered where there’s a heavy crop here. That also means covered with duff in the non-growing season.

>>GRANT: You know I’ve got something standing here and residue from the last crop during February – when there’s six inches of snow on the ground and snow’s blowing sideways.

>>GRANT: Another principle is a diversity of plants. And you can see all the different colored flowers coming on here. There’s clearly a diversity of plants. And I won’t get too deep here, but that’s important for one reason, because different plants or different genuses of plants interact with the soil and the soil microbes – the bacteria in the soil – differently.

>>GRANT: A monoculture, like just a solid patch of corn or cereal rye, doesn’t have near the benefits for soil as a polyculture or a blend of different species.

>>GRANT: Another important principle is to have animal interaction, or the ag guys say livestock. Of course, here we have deer in the area. Of course, we have deer in this plot every day, I’m sure. And they’re urinating, defecating, and salivating. They’re putting very beneficial bacteria – microbes – back into the soil. So, you think originally, you know elk, buffalo, whatever, they’re big ruminants, and they literally have more microbes than about a teaspoon of that green stuff none of us like than people on the planet – trillions and trillions of microbes in just a small amount. And when they’re salivating, they’re just putting microbes -they end up being very beneficial – right back into the soil.

>>GRANT: Putting these very simple principles in play like I have here in this food plot over a couple years, not just one season, is going to result in way more tons of high-quality forage produced. It may shock you, but a lot of the researchers are now saying that many of the human health issues are because our soil is worn out. And plants aren’t getting all the nutrients they used to get.

>>GRANT: A real common example that’s used is that spinach – many of us are old enough to remember Popeye. Spinach has 40 percent less iron in it on the average than it did with all the Popeye commercials.

>>GRANT: The same thing about spinach not having near the nutrients it used to have is pretty much true across all the plant material we humans consume – broccoli, potatoes, citrus, other forms of fruit. And it’s because of the way we’ve been using the soil. We’ve basically been mining the soil. We disk it, and water runs off and carries the nutrients away from the area.

>>GRANT: And we stress the soil by adding a lot of chemical additives, synthetic fertilizers or all the herbicides, pesticides, fungicides we’re using have really damaged the soil.

>>GRANT: And this place was really damaged – The Proving Grounds. This was just creek gravel when I got here and a few locust trees. And now it’s extremely productive soils by using what we call The Release Process™.

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>>GRANT: It may surprise you that in this exact food plot right here – I mean I’ve got clover growing in a gravel road knee-deep on me. I’ve got small grains taller than I am. I’m 6 feet tall. And this field has had no type of fertilizer going on the 8th year.

>>GRANT: There are many advantages to The Release Process™ in addition to making the soil more nutritious. There’s no chance of erosion here – wind or rain erosion. You see this moving up here, but there’s nothing moving down at ground level. There’s no chance of wind erosion or a raindrop falling from on high; it’s gonna hit a lot of vegetation and be slowed way down before it gets to the ground.

>>GRANT: When we get in here looking around even below the standing crop, there’s residue from last year’s crop, because I use a roller crimper, the Goliath crimper, and that’s covering the soil.

>>GRANT: We talk about erosion from water, and that’s water running rapidly over the surface of the field and carrying soil particles with it, and it’s not only soil particles it’s the nutrients also. We really want to keep the soil on site, not just to limit erosion but so future crops can have the benefit of that soil moisture.

>>GRANT: And we do that by protecting the soil. If I had disked this field, and it was bare soil, and the sun’s shining on it, some of that moisture would be evaporating, and the soil structure would probably be such that the rest of the moisture would just leech right through.

>>GRANT: In this plot – like every plot here at The Proving Grounds – the sun is not reaching the soil. It’s been caught by these extremely efficient solar chargers. These are solar panels – photosynthesis going on here. None of that sun is going to waste, and it’s not reaching the soil and causing evaporation.

>>GRANT: I’ve got all these different species with different leaf shapes and different heights. While capturing all the sun’s energy, I have maximum plant growth, maximum tons per acre, and no moisture loss.

>>GRANT: Those are just some simple principles of what we call The Release Process™ – a kind of more advanced form of the Buffalo System – simply because I’ve learned more. I continue learning. And when I look in here, I’m so excited about what I see. But it’s now time to plant. We’ll start planting next week. The soil temperature is warming up – that’s one reason to plant – and we will do what’s called planting green. We will just plant right through here using a no-till drill. It’s gonna go through here like combing hair, put seed the right depth in soil. Oh, it will knock some of this down but not all of it. And then we’ll come right behind the planter – or a day or two later – with a roller crimper – the Genesis roller crimper.

>>GRANT: And you can see this here – we’ll show you close up – is making pollen. These seeds are gonna start filling out. We’re just a day or two away. You see the same thing on this brassica and obviously on the clovers. And when you run a roller crimper over that, it’s just breaking the plant’s circulatory system about every eight inches.

>>GRANT: And the plant is really stressed out when the seeds are filling – what we call the dough stage. So, we’ll terminate this really easily without using any herbicide. That’s a savings. And I’m not stressing the ground by putting herbicide on here, and there are many more advantages. Of course, I’ll roll this over.

>>GRANT: And this crop – as thick as it is – will probably make about a four to six-inch mulch layer with just a little slit where the seed is in the soil. Now we’ll come up through here, and it’s like mulching your garden, but you’re doing it at the speed of a tractor. I’m adding all this mulch, and that’s keeping weeds from growing, and its conserving moisture, just like mulch in your garden. And that will break down slowly over time. The microbes in the soil will break that down releasing even more nutrients to that next crop.

>>GRANT: So, rather than mine the soil – like taking those off – if I cut those off, if I bale it for hay and took it off, that’s mining. I’m taking nutrients away. I’m just recycling the nutrients in this area, and the benefit is the soil and all the wildlife using this area.

>>GRANT: Now, there are many other benefits, and one, there are all kinds of bees and butterflies using this area. People talk about planting a pollinator crop, well, my food plots not only benefit deer and turkey and other species of wildlife – all the pollinator species. No wonder it’s so lush. I mean, you can’t see it but right here there’s just bees all over the place right here, and we’re improving the soil.

>>GRANT: But maybe you’re not starting here. Maybe you’ve just been using traditional agriculture. You’ve been turning the soil and planting a monoculture or single species, but you see the benefits of this. Not only from a soil health point of view, but we’ve got stuff coming on to feed deer at all different times from when we planted, and it germinated last fall all the way through to now and deer eating the younger clover in here. This has fed critters for months on end.

>>GRANT: And you say, “Man, I want some of that on my property, but, Grant, I’m starting from scratch.” Well, when we start planting next week, we’ll talk about that. And instead of planting green, planting through this, you’re gonna plant whatever condition your field is in. We’ll help you get kick-started – take a few years. We’ll be walking through this step by step and hopefully bring everyone along until they’ve got food plots just as productive as they are here at The Proving Grounds.

>>GRANT: In planting season, we tend to give updates daily on our social media and more detailed information on our GrowingDeer episodes.

>>GRANT: You can check out our social media and episodes all throughout planting season and learn exactly the techniques we use to produce high-quality food plots, and, therefore, lots of high-quality deer and lots of turkeys.

>>GRANT: Standing here and listening to all the bees around me, it’s really cool, and it’s just a reminder of how Creation works together.

>>GRANT: I hope you have a chance to get outside and really get into Creation – kind of slow down and let it kind of seep into you. And more importantly take time everyday to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.