Turkey Hunting and Spring Food Plots: Cover Crop Benefits (#492) @GrowingDeer.tv

Turkey Hunting and Spring Food Plots: Cover Crop Benefits  (#492) @GrowingDeer.tv


GRANT: Turkey season is in full swing throughout
most of the country. UNKNOWN: Gosh. That’s a big ole boy. GRANT: Here in the Ozark Mountains, it’s
been a tough turkey season. GRANT: The toms tend to get very quiet once
they hit the ground and are not responsive to calls. GRANT: Based on comments on our Instagram
and Facebook pages, other folks in different states are experiencing the same thing. DANIEL: It is dead silent out here this morning. Tyler and I are running this ridge trying
to get a turkey to open up, but we have not heard a single gobble. I hope everyone out there that’s out hunting
in the woods this morning hears a lot more turkeys than we’re hearing. GRANT: I believe I know the reason for what
we are experiencing and it’s due to a very low nest success during the past two springs. GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds each spring,
right during nesting season, we had very heavy rains. GRANT: Nest and poult survival was very low
so there’s not many two and three-year-old toms across the place. GRANT: Mature birds, they tend to stay in
a tree and gobble until the hens come to them or see a hen, get down, and be quiet. They don’t need to gobble much more once
they’re on the ground. GRANT: Hopefully, as the season progresses
and a majority of the hens have been bred and start nesting, those toms will be out
searching for hens and much more responsive to the call. GRANT: It’s also time to plant warm season
food plots. GRANT: During planting season when the seed
just gets put in the ground and starts to sprout, having adequate soil moisture is critical. GRANT: I’ve shared in the past that healthy
soil can hold more water, but I wanted to prove that for myself here at The Proving
Grounds. GRANT: Based on some of our past heavy rains,
I asked one of the GrowingDeer spring interns to find a test that we could use to replicate
what would happen if we had a two-inch rain. Ricky searched the internet, did a bunch of
reading, and found a test that was simple to apply that fit what I wanted to learn exactly. GRANT: Ricky Grimes has been one of our interns
this spring and he goes to Northern Iowa University. He’s a senior, so he’ll be graduating. And he needed some projects, along with learning
our field opportunities here — what we do in the field. So, I’ve given him various projects. GRANT: But, as his last project, we wanted
to share with y’all — and it’s really interesting from a food plotter’s perspective. So, Ricky, I challenged you with figuring
out how to do a rain infiltration test. Basically, how much water could go in the
soil or how long it would take if we got a big two-inch rain. GRANT: Tell us just a little bit about, you
know, you went online and other people have done this. You kind of modified techniques for our rocky
soil. Tell us what you did. RICKY: I did some research online, and I realized
that I needed to find something that holds water, and a stopwatch to measure how long
it took to soak in. GRANT: So, we just cut off the end of a coffee
can. It’s really rocky here, so a plastic bottle
wouldn’t do too good going in our soil. Ricky figured that out in some earlier trials. So, take a coffee can, work it down in the
ground. That way you won’t have the water going out
the edge. Is that right, Ricky? RICKY: Yup. GRANT: Get that water in there about yay deep. We’re gonna put two inches. Ricky’s done the math, so we know how much
water to pour in to equal two inches for this size. Start the stopwatch and see how long it would
take for a two-inch rain to sink into the soil. GRANT: All right, Ricky, man. You’ve done a lot of research, taught me
a few things. You’ve done the hard work. You’ve actually done some trials off-camera. Figured out what worked and what didn’t
work. So, I’m gonna back out of here. Let’s see what you can do. GRANT: You think about a really hard rain
and I don’t know. We’re just a few minutes into it. But, I’m watching the rings on the coffee
can and it’s not going down very quick. So, if it comes at a sure enough gully washer,
instead of going in and saving it for crops later on, it’s — there’s a little bit
of slope to this field. It’s running away and carrying soil and
nutrients with it. GRANT: Not storing much right now. It’s just sitting on top. Called ponding. ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by
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Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds. GRANT: 56 minutes. We’re now doing an infiltration test on
an area that’s had the Buffalo System for several years. Should be a little bit better soil. GRANT: We’re not talking a lot about it. We’re hustling because we may really test
infiltration here in a little bit. The sky’s getting dark and there’s a 90%
chance of thunderstorms tonight. So, we’re gonna get this done before the
soil has moisture in it and we’ll keep you posted on how it goes. RICKY: One, two, three. GRANT: All right. Here we go. Is that just me or are you all seeing it? Oh yeah. That’s going down. RICKY: Hmm. Hmm. GRANT: Holy mackerel. We’re not even a minute into it. GRANT: I’m gonna call it for you — you
all tell me when to call it. RICKY: Yeah. I’d say. GRANT: Now? RICKY: Yup. GRANT: 2:39. A two-inch rain. You’ve got dark clouds out here right now. Supposed to be thunderstorms tonight. A two-inch rain just went in the soil where
we’ve been using the Buffalo System for a longer period of time. Two inches of water in two and a half minutes. GRANT: That’s – you don’t ever get rains
at two and a half inches of water in two and a half minutes. We’re putting water in, no erosion, saving
that for a dry period. GRANT: It’s infiltrating in and you can
tell this crop planted almost the same time as the other place grew a whole lot more. No fertilizer and no lime at either one. But, so this was incredible. GRANT: And in this area I’ve just followed
the simple principles of soil health. Disturbance – minimal as possible. We no-till drill. No discing. No nothing like that. GRANT: Have a living root in the soil as many
days out of the year as possible. We plant green; we drill through the standing
crop with our next crop. We don’t terminate it. We haven’t added any synthetic fertilizer. That can kind of end up turning the ground
a little bit like concrete. GRANT: Just the principle of soil health – always
a mulch cover, always something protecting it so the sun can’t get to it. Nice work, Ricky. GRANT: You did good on your grade and I feel
really good about the soil. Nice work. Congratulations. RICKY: Thank you. GRANT: A bit over two minutes versus almost
an hour. More than 20 times faster, more than 20 times
faster the water soaked into the soil. No wonder there’s never any sign of erosion
in the plots that have had the Buffalo System for a few years. GRANT: We saw these same results last year,
but for a different reason and only above the ground. We had some Hot Zone fences up protecting
some forage soybeans. And there in the later part of the growing
season, it got dusty dry. GRANT: But the beans in the fence where the
deer weren’t browsing, gosh, they were chest tall on me. They didn’t even know a drought was occurring. GRANT: We started planting some Eagle Seed
Forage Soybeans April 10th. That may sound a bit early for planting soybeans
at this latitude, but I was comfortable with the soil temperatures. GRANT: We’re planting a spring food plot
today. We’re planting forage soybeans. And you may say, “Well, gosh. You need to get rid of those weeds first.” But, that’s not our program. GRANT: We’re doing what’s called “planting
green.” Planting green means you’re using a no-till
drill. We’re using a Genesis to plant directly
into the past standing crop. GRANT: This was a food plot crop. It was Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend. It’s also what’s called a cover crop. It kept the soil covered, protected and productive
all winter long. GRANT: Deciding when to plant is an important
part of having a successful crop. GRANT: When planting green there are a couple
of factors. GRANT: I want to plant two or three weeks
before the existing crop – the cover crop – matures. You can see the brassicas making flowers and
the rye is just starting to make seedheads. So, in about two weeks, this will mature. GRANT: In that two weeks our soybeans will
germinate. We’ll drive right back over it with the
Goliath crimper — what I call a steel buffalo — and that will terminate this without any
herbicide and the new beans come up through it. GRANT: I want to make sure the soil temperature
is warm enough. I can get away with more when planting green;
when I’m not using as much synthetic fertilizer or herbicides or other products, I’ll have
a lot of soil life — earthworms and bacteria. And they’re activity and respiration warms
up the soil. GRANT: So, using this technique, especially
after a year or two, and the soils are healing or getting better, we can plant earlier. Our temperatures will literally be a little
bit warmer. GRANT: And with this constant mulch, it doesn’t
get as hot during the day or as cold at night. It’s a more stable environment which is
perfect for rapid seed growth. GRANT: Having adequate soil moisture is a
big factor on deciding when to plant. I’ve got this tall cover crop or mulch on
the ground. The wind is having almost no impact on the
soil’s moisture. GRANT: And because it’s covered, protected
from the sun’s energy, it’s not evaporating out. GRANT: In fact, studies have shown that you
can reduce soil moisture evaporation by almost 80 or 90 percent by using this technique. That means I can get away with less rain and
still have a productive crop. GRANT: Part of Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend
is having some annual clovers. Annual clovers are, of course, legumes. They’re pumping nitrogen into the soil right
now, which is great for the follow-up crops. GRANT: I used to take some of my better plots
and try to maintain them as a pure stand of clover. They look pretty in the spring when it’s
moist and the temperatures are cool, but throughout the year, it takes a lot of resources to keep
‘em growing and to keep the weeds from out-competing the clover. GRANT: Rather than have a few clover plots,
when I use this blend, I’ve got great food throughout my property during the early fall,
mid-season, late season, late winter. And now coming into spring, pumping clover
out which deer and turkey love. GRANT: If I’ve got a little small plot,
then a monoculture of clover might be ideal for that little plot given I don’t have
a lot of other options. GRANT: By using this Buffalo System and drilling
into the standing crop with different plants at different times of the year, I’ve got
clover almost everywhere when it’s strongest during the spring season. GRANT: And in the summer when clover is not
doing too well, I’ve got beans which is the perfect summer crop for deer. GRANT: “Proof is always in the pudding”,
so they say. Or in this case – in the videos and pictures. During the last couple of weeks we’ve got
a lot of images of deer head down feeding on the clover. GRANT: Another measurement of this system
— we’ve got some bucks showing good antler growth already this spring. If we’d have tilled our plots and had bare
dirt, there wouldn’t be many groceries for the bucks right now. GRANT: I shared recently, while looking at
the results of our prescribed fire, how efficient plants are at capturing and using the sun’s
energy. Plant leaves are taking the sun’s energy
and pumping carbon and other good stuff into the soil through a process called photosynthesis. GRANT: In addition to carbon, it’s pumping
glucose, a very simple sugar into the soil. And very beneficial bacteria, single-celled
and multi-celled organisms are in the soil and they trade that glucose — they need that
energy- for good stuff for the plants, including mineral elements they’ve taken and converted
from a chemical form to a soluble form that plants can use — fertilizer. GRANT: So by using the sun’s energy and
not disrupting the soil, not discing or using a lot of synthetic inputs, those organisms
are benefiting the plant by feeding them and actually protecting them, making them healthier
and able to resist pests and diseases. GRANT: Soil health can be extremely complicated. But we can break it down really simply. We need to always keep the soil covered. Bare soil, naked soil, can be eroded. It can get too hot or too cold and it doesn’t
hold soil moisture. GRANT: I like a living root in the soil as
many days as possible. And that living root, again, is using the
top of the plant – photosynthesis – to pump very valuable foods and other items into the
soil for the soil biology. And in turn, the soil biology is making the
plant healthier. GRANT: I want, at least during a portion of
the year, a large variety of plants having different root sizes and depths and, really
important, different leaf sizes and different leaf heights. I want to capture all that sun before it hits
the ground. GRANT: That diversity of plants also has different
root structures. Some of ‘em will be very deep and strong
which will break up hard pans and allow moisture to move up and down through the soil as needed. GRANT: Following some simple principles in
your food plot can mean you’ll have way healthier soil, healthier plants, larger deer
and attract more deer in front of your stand. GRANT: It all starts with the simple soil
health principles. Now, can you do this with synthetic inputs? Yes, of course you can. But, there’s a cost to that. GRANT: Tillage always means erosion; synthetic
inputs usually end up in somebody’s water system somewhere. Following the natural system, I call the Buffalo
System, is the healthiest and, in the long run, the least expensive process. GRANT: One thing I like to do at the start
of planting season, right when I get it out and start calibrating, is put one bag in,
take a Sharpie and mark that level. I actually do it on each side of our 8’
drill. GRANT: Then I put another bag in; mark the
level – all the way up until I fill up the drill. That lets me know about how much seed I’m
using bag by bag as I go and I can compare the acres. Just another way to check the calibration. GRANT: When planting soybeans, I always add
inoculant. Inoculants are real fine powder that’s actually
a beneficial bacteria. It stays with the plant and helps it through
a beneficial relationship – between the bacteria and the plant – take nitrogen out of the air,
bring it into the plant and later put it in soil. GRANT: When applying inoculant, don’t put
several acres of seed in the drill and then put a little inoculant on top and try to stir
it up. You won’t get good coverage. GRANT: We put the appropriate amount of inoculant
in each time we add a bag of seed. That way, it’s much easier to stir it and
make sure we get good coverage. GRANT: Once we’ve finished inoculating the
seed, we’re ready to plant. GRANT: A big advantage of not disturbing the
soil is much less weed competition. Almost everywhere are weed seeds in the soil. And when you till the soil, some of ‘em
come to the surface and they will germinate after decades of laying there. GRANT: Because we don’t till the soil, and
our soil is always covered with living vegetation and the mulch from the previous crop, weed
pressure is minimal. GRANT: I will share with you that in our small
plots where there’s lots of browse pressure, sun gets to the soil, well, we don’t grow
enough mulch to cover the ground and we can still have some weed pressure. GRANT: By drilling into the standing crop
and then terminating that crop with the Goliath crimper, after our seeds have germinated,
weeds simply don’t have a chance to get started. GRANT: I’m out checking some of our food
plots today we planted April 10th — about the earliest I’ve ever planted at The Proving
Grounds. And then right after we planted, we had three
nights under 40 degrees and some cold rain. GRANT: So, I had a lot of faith in the Buffalo
System, but I was a bit anxious. Coming out here today and I’ve got soybeans
a half inch to an inch tall coming out of the ground. GRANT: I am thrilled with these results. One of the benefits of improving soil health
through the Buffalo System is you develop a lot of very beneficial critters in the soil. GRANT: The seeds survived fine. We’re off to a great start which means the
daytime temperatures aren’t as warm, so we’re not losing soil moisture due to evaporation. GRANT: Because we planted in our standing
crop, deer don’t necessarily like putting their head down in here and those young, tender
beans – well, they can get off to a great start without being browsed. GRANT: Getting my beans up early and protecting
them from browse, well, that’s a win in any food plotter’s book. GRANT: I’m confident if we had used conventional
techniques including discing the soil and leaving it bare, the beans wouldn’t be doing
quite as well right now after that cold front and I would have certainly lost some soil
due to erosion. GRANT: Daniel was driving by the Missouri
River recently and took some pictures where flood waters had backed into some ag fields. GRANT: Water is probably not going to infiltrate
into the soil enough to stop a massive flood. But imagine, if all the soil upstream was
managed like the Buffalo System, how much more water would have infiltrated versus coming
downstream and damage property and maybe take lives further down. GRANT: I’m sure you’ve driven by ag fields
that had a little low spot and water standing there like a pond. Well, that’s because water is not infiltrating
into the soil. GRANT: Healthy soil has a lot of pores in
the soil. Those pores are created by past plant roots,
earthworms and what have you. But when you till or disc that soil, you collapse
all those pores and you get a stack of dirt. GRANT: Creating healthy soil structure is
one of the many benefits of the Buffalo System. It’s not just a structure — it’s the
ability to retain water when it rains and save it in those pores for the droughts that
will come. GRANT: I learned about the Buffalo System
from other researchers and practicing farmers and what I’ve observed in healthy, natural
habitats that haven’t been disturbed for quite some time. GRANT: I’ve tweaked what I’ve learned
from the big ag guys to make it applicable to us food plot guys so we can have the benefits
of having healthy soil even on our little Proving Grounds. GRANT: Turkey season is still open here at The Proving Grounds and we’ve got more food plots to plant. If you like the information we’re sharing and would like to learn more, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer channel. and give us a thumbs up. GRANT: Taking some time to get outside and
study what works and what doesn’t work — that’s a great way to enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time every day
to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

14 thoughts on “Turkey Hunting and Spring Food Plots: Cover Crop Benefits (#492) @GrowingDeer.tv

  1. This is one of the best informative video to date. I wish all the habitat managers would learn this system and use it in the best way it would apply to their geographical area.

  2. Thanks Grant for this VERY informative video.
    I don't have the expensive fancy equipment, but it has me thinking about how to adapt the techniques with what equipment I do have.

  3. Hi Grant, thanks 4 sharing all this great knowledge on buffalo system, my question is I'm going 2 be planting new plots, clover chicory mix, can i add cover crop of some type? in at same time? I'm also planting gamekeeper beans, can I add a cover crop in at planting of beans if so what should i plant with them? My plots are tilled and don't have a cover crop from last fall so looking 2 start buffalo system in future season .

  4. Good job guys….ray archuleta and Gabe brown would be proud of u! Our genesis 3 is on its way to us in ny!! …gonna be food plotting soon!

  5. I have a question grant do you use insecticide or do you use treated soybean seed to prevent insects killing the crop?

  6. Grant, I'm interested to know if you can do this no till method without a seed drill? Ive had success with smaller seeds, but what about something like winter oats in terminated clover, or wheat? My theory is the "thatch" would cover the seed and hold enough moisture for germination. But I also worry the roots may not anchor in the soil enough. What is your thoughts on this method? Thanks in advance

  7. Will deer use oak savannas for winter bedding? If so, do they prefer it over a completely open, treeless, native grass bedding area?

  8. I am wanting to plant Eagle soybean or a eagle mix in with my field corn for a deer food plot I live in North Carolina can you tell me what would be the best to plant

  9. Grant – I absolutely love your proven, scientific approach to soil and conservation management. The information you share is invaluable. A million β€˜Thank yours!’.

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