Better Corn, Soybeans and Alfalfa for Deer

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Mitchell Shirk (Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast) discuss deficiencies and symptoms of the most popular food plot crops. Mitchell explains corn deficiencies this summer. Mitchell explains the largest deficiencies he experiences in his area and the related connection to soil types.  Mitchell explains the necessity of evaluating nitrogen and potassium needs and concerns with corn. Mitchell and Jon discuss companion cropping, interspersing crops, and multi-species blend, including a new tactic to establish corn with cover or existing crops.

Mitchell explains the importance of soybeans and the impact of dry weather. A suggested foliar spray to boost Soybeans growth is explained.   Mitchell explains general deficiencies and the importance of evaluating soils for crop health.

Mitchell details the benefits and concerns with Alfalfa, and how the crop can be difficult and finicky for food plotters and farmers.  Mitchell explains general deficiencies of Alfalfa and concerns of sulfur that are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Jon provides an explanation of options to support better growth to include using wheat. Mitchell explains weed management, biomass production and nutrient loss after harvest.  

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant, outdoor content!

Social Links

Mitchell Shirk (@pennsylvaniawoodsmanpodcast) • Instagram photos and videos

Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast (

Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast | Facebook

Show Transcript

Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe Whitetailed Deer, share their secrets to success.

And now the founder of Whitetail Landscape. Your host, John Teeter.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Teeter with Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back everybody. I am happy to be home. I've been traveling and I'm back. I've got my kids in the other room, so I hope they don't yell and scream. Today. We're probably gonna go swimming soon. It's warm out. From the north.

We've had a lot of these wildfires creep in our area. There's a lot of haze. There was haze through the Midwest when I was driving back home. So just pay attention to [00:01:00] that. Be safe. The other piece of it is I wanna thank a client. One of my clients has really been involved recently in a lot of work that I've been doing and supporting me.

I don't wanna mention his name specifically, but he knows who he is and I wanted to thank you know his support. I also had a listener come out to my property recently. And helped me. That was really nice. I've been busy and to have that help all day. I really appreciate him as well. I won't mention his name, but I want to thank him and all the feedback.

I've been getting a lot of inquiries lately. I have done some virtual reviews for people. I do enjoy doing that, but it's not the full content and management volume I'd like to give you all. But I have been doing more of those, and I may continue to do those to help people. There's people in foreign places that I can't get to necessarily.

So I wanna support people in every respect that I can. The third thing is, please keep giving that feedback. Positive remarks are huge. And I will give somebody a hat this month. So I appreciate, all the support and it's been great. It's been great to get the feedback [00:02:00] and like I said, a lot of inquiries and I appreciate that.

We're nearing hunting season. I'm still in the swing of clients and focusing on helping people get to the end game and. Get situated this season. I've got a bunch of turnkey properties. I'll talk a little bit about those in the next coming months. I think I have three turnkey properties that I'll be working on here over the next few months, cutting timber and doing layout, et cetera.

So I can talk a little bit more about that to you folks and let you know the services I provide and my strategy. All right? Enough with that stuff I got Mitchell's shirt back and. Mitch and I have talked quite a bit recently and we've also talked a little bit previously on this podcast about food plots and management.

He's way more into the weeds on this stuff than I am, so I'm excited to have him back. Give me a second. Let me get him on Mitchell. What's going on brother? How you doing? I am doing well, John. Thanks. And how are you doing? Good. I'm back. I'm happy we connected. I've gotta get this podcast out or I'm gonna get in trouble.

I'm happy that you and I have some time. You're [00:03:00] on the road right now and you were working all day, so hopefully your mind's in a good place.

Mitchell Shirk: It's on food plots and cropping and things like that. So you caught me at

Jon Teater: the perfect time. Okay. So I wanna frame this topic and I wanna frame it in a way where people start to kinda understand the significance of this.

For a lot of you, food plotters or croppers or whatever you wanna call farmers we always run into the issue of deficiencies. It could be deficiencies based on lack of water. It could be deficiencies based on, we'll say, I don't know, mineral content, macro micronutrients, things of that nature. So we're gonna talk about some of the, I think, key crops that people have planted recently.

Corn being one of those. And we're gonna talk about the issues. And Mitchell's kind of one of those people that works in the field all day. And he's got a good, handle on this type of stuff. And I think he's probably one of our best opportunities to ask some detailed questions.

Mitch, let me ask [00:04:00] you a few questions. We've had some far away big drought recently, and obviously that's slowed the growth but corn. Explicitly, and I want to talk about looking at the, the leaf, depending on the stage of the plant and starting to di diagnose some of the deficiencies that, people may be experiencing and maybe what they can do about it.

Application side of things. What can we do to fix the problem?

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, that's a great thing. I had done a post not too long ago on Instagram that was talking about a field of corn I was in that had symptoms that were showing magnesium and potassium deficiency in that corn.

And I made a note saying, It's not because we don't have magnesium and potassium in the soil. The problem that we were running into with that specific field is we didn't have any water to allow water soluble nutrient in, into that plant. We literally the area that I work in, [00:05:00] we went.

Almost five weeks without a single measurable rain event. And, those plants are gonna be doing, they're annual plants. They're trying to do everything they possibly can to stay alive so they can produce grain and then they die. They got one shot and where what you end up seeing then to keep alive.

Plants, especially corn. Corn is a great example of this. The lower leaves of those plants, they're like nutrient storage units. And when we start to lose water soluble nutrients from the soil and the roots cannot take them in, you start to see the plants translocate nutrients into the world of the plant, that center portion of the plant.

Corn's growing from the in, inwards out. And it's trying to keep that energy and growing so it can produce grain. I was explaining in this situation, how do you diagnose something like that and how do you know what the right thing to do is, [00:06:00] preseason. I always preface this by saying, it's important guys, get your soil samples. Get all the sampling, the information you need to make the best decisions. But at the end of the day, the best thing, the best test there is in the field to indicate what's going on, is let the plants tell you.

What is wrong, what is deficient? And that was what was going on here. And I was seeing specific symptoms and specific nutrients that weren't being taken in now to address it. My prescription in that case was, Pray for rain and sunshine, and it will alleviate that pressure because the soil test, we have ample ample p and we have ample K and all the things we need there to allow that crop to grow proficiently.

We just

Jon Teater: need water. Yeah. And praying for rain is something I think a lot of us, probably will have to do in some capacity over the next several years because of the, deception that, that. We all try not to pay attention to, but the reality of it [00:07:00] is we get these, intense changes in climate, whether it's, weather conditions that are extreme, extreme drought, extreme rain, and vice versa.

And, I recognize at least one thing is looking at the plant specifically and looking at its symptoms. A lot of times with magnesium deficiencies, you may see, I think lighter colored greens or darker colored greens get exposed in that leaf. Now I don't know the specifics here with the corn plant that you were dealing with, today on my way home, I saw pivot systems going out and providing water and nutrients in those systems.

I've talked a little bit about how to create drought, tolerant food plots or. Food plots that can handle, more drought in some instances. Obviously cover crops are helpful in those circumstances as well. Alternatively we talked about moisturizing or wetting, the landscape utilizing catchment ponds, spillman areas, things like that.

I talked about the [00:08:00] introduction of, sprinkler systems, so it's leveraging some of those. I'll say, natural opportunities and being a little innovative, and I think that's important for us and corn specifically. I have sprayed, I. Let's see, foliar is on, on corn.

That would include copper and zinc. That's, sometimes there'll be deficiencies in those areas. Now I typically see a lot, on sandy soils, I'll deal with, may, maybe some iron deficiencies with you clo clovers and things of that nature. Beans, I've seen that happen as well.

So I have some experience with this, but I'm not nearly as experienced as you, Mitch and I want to talk a little bit more about. Other symptoms in corn specifically as the plant starts to develop. Cuz I know a lot of people, at least this is what I've seen with local clients and people that I work with, is they wait for a certain stage, they hope for a heavy rain, and they then they throw nitrogen on the plant.

And I, I think, that could be a good thing or bad thing. And I want to know what your take is on that from a [00:09:00] supplemental side of things, is it a necessity? And I think maybe you gotta walk back the history of that ground use before you make that determination. What was done in preparation, et cetera.

Mitchell Shirk: That's a great point, John. There, there's so many factors that come into play as to why you may have a deficiency in one location for another. You were talking about or you were talking about zinc, I think in, and it's very in, it's very interesting how one soil type versus another soil type.

Can have a greater or lesser impact on that. Great example of this, I was talking with Alco from Vitalized Seed and I told him how the biggest deficiency that we see in our crops in central Pennsylvania is magnesium deficiency. That was mind boggling, Tim. Cause he has the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Magnesium is, over the top. There, there's definitely something to be said with the soil type. And and knowing some of the backstory, to answer, your main question that you asked about nitrogen and understanding, [00:10:00] how to address these. So first of all, corn.

Corn does not take a lot of nitrogen from a seedling until it gets about up to your knee. When we're talking in an agronomy standpoint, we're trying to maximize corn yields. Corn will take up a couple pounds per acre. In the first few weeks of planting. But when you get to about knee highs and the growth stage, be about V five, you take up an exponential amount of.

From that from the soil as much as seven to eight pounds of nitrogen per acre, per day. So you can have a very specific uptick in what you need. Looking at nitrogen deficiency, what does that look like? Nitrogen deficiency will. Ultimately look like a pale plant. It won't have that deep, dark green color that you have.

But another good way of seeing it, and I was talking about earlier about that lower leaf stress on the plant, you'll see those symptoms on a corn [00:11:00] plant. The lower leaves, if they're very nitrogen stress, are gonna have an inverted V and it's almost gonna look like an arrowhead. The tip of the plant is gonna be all yellow, and it's going to.

Back towards the stalk of the plant going towards the rib. So like the mid rib of that corn leaf, it's gonna get narrow and narrow. It's gonna make a yellow point facing back towards, and that's a telltale sign that we have nitrogen deficiency. I talked about potassium earlier. Potassium is usually the outside edges of the leaves.

If they're bright yellow on the outside edges of those lower leaves, that's a common potassium deficiency. That's kinda what they look like. Do you want me to talk a little bit about how I typically

Jon Teater: address some of those? Yeah, I would, I'd like you to dig into that as well. Yeah.

Mitchell Shirk: We talked about corn taking a lot of nitrogen in at a young plant. That doesn't mean I don't wanna put any nitrogen on. At planting in our row crop system, wanna make [00:12:00] sure that we never clean the table, so to speak. Think about food plots. We we try to keep something growing and at most plateau, that's why I don't talk, I don't like, Tilling because you till it, you clean the table and then you gotta restart.

Think about the same thing with nutrients to a corn plant. I don't ever want there to be a a deficiency in available nitrogen. I want it to level off at most and then take it up as it needs it. So a lot of the time we'll, Start corn with a little bit of nitrogen just to get it going, to give it a little bit of seedling bigger, and hopefully that nitrogen, depending on the forms in which we apply, it will stay around long enough until you get to that stage where it's gonna take a lot up.

Then you have an opportunity and we're talking conventional systems with commercial type fertilizers. Then when you get into that knee high stage and you wanna, give it a shot of nitrogen, whether that's a broadcast or a liquid or something like that, that's a great opportunity to split apply that [00:13:00] nitrogen.

And that's John, that's, we're talking specifically about commercial fertilizer alone, and that is a very volatile and mobile. Form of nitrogen there there's many other forms of nitrogen that we can deliver to a corn plant. More biological means of doing that in a food plot system.

I'm just talking mostly from the agronomic standpoint, how we do things in most of the row crops

Jon Teater: around here. Yeah. Can I pull on that thread a little bit? So let's talk a little bit about a food plot system and, those not necessarily focused, I wanna say completely on yield. There could be a plant health component to this. We're looking maybe at, ear sizes and not necessarily volume per se. And the interspersion of corn and beans, we've talked about that previously in the podcast. But how would the combination of plant synergies or what other options do we have in that capacity?

Because I got some things that I do a little bit with corn that might be a little bit unique, so I may mention that, but I wanna hear your perspective. [00:14:00]

Mitchell Shirk: Man, that's a moving target with corn. Corn can be a little bit finicky when you're talking about it from an agricultural sense, just because the applications with our equipment and making things efficient become very hard.

But I will say, monocultures are, they're on their own. And that's why they get spoon fed. But when we have multi-species or companion crops within that they communicate within that mycorrhizal fungi. And relay sensors of what each plant needs. And the perfect example I can give you is I have a grower I work with who's trying to do everything he can to grow corn as organically as possible and not use tillage.

And one of the things he shared with me, and it makes a lot of sense, is he puts a companion crop of buckwheat in with that corn. And buckwheat does such a good job of shading out wheat. Pressures and it also does a good job of not competing with that corn when it's planted in between. Now there's, buckwheat's one species, [00:15:00] there's a ton of other species, and it's all a matter of fine tuning ratios of plants that were not too heavy on a grass, too heavy on a legume, that we're competing with our corn.

It's that, it's finding the ratios that mix and allow nutrients to. Still move into the plant and not outcompete with those companion crops. And that's a tricky one. And I don't know that anybody has their ha has the, that pin down and figured out completely. It's always a moving target.

But I will say Low seeding rates of a companion crop in corn and food plot typically is a really good thing to do.

Jon Teater: Yeah, that inner cropping concept is interesting. There's also, the alternative is just thinking about your sequencing of plants. I've had some clients that have planted into alfalfa.

I've personally planted into clover, terminated in strips, so terminated the clover in strips after planting the corn per se. There are some techniques that are a little unique. And in those instances, you've gotta be careful if you have grasses in there. So [00:16:00] competing plants, a grass with a grass, particularly with corn.

Corn doesn't do well with competition. And the other piece that I've noticed is in sandy soils where I've worked in a couple areas, a lot of zinc deficiencies for some reason. Some of these micros tend to leach and we're talking about different issues. So having covers in some sandy soils can be really beneficial.

Hard to do, hard to plan and hard to deal with. I think weed pressure in some instances, but certainly something to think about. And I also wanted to comment, I think. The example of just trying to try new things and new concepts that, may or may not be new to people listening to this podcast, but, some of these more prevalent crops like corn, there is, I guess they call it a nutrient raper that's the non-political term for that particular crop.

And they do take up Correct. It's a dense stock. That consumes a fair amount of nutrients. So if you're a small food plotter and you have, small areas to work with, [00:17:00] it's not necessarily bad to push aside some of these crops like corn one, maybe the consumptive value isn't as great as some other particular plant.

It's got limited seasonal use, although, I find deer if it's complexing plant I find them actually nibbling on it all season long in my food plots. I've had examples of that. And again, I just think that it's different in every application. It's a great screening option, obviously for people.

I like to put it on the opposite side of my access point. I see some people use it for, access screening, I would recommend against that. So just a few other, I guess non-essential tidbits, but things that I think about with corn specifically. All right, Mitchell, I wanna pop over. I wanna talk about soybeans because I think soybeans are the next on the list.

Very popular crop, something that people, love planting. Whether it's just, a straight grain bean or it's a combination of a forged grain or just forged bean, what deficiencies or symptoms are you seeing right now in the field? I think I've seen some [00:18:00] deficiencies, particularly with the drought and it's been on grain beans and I'm not sure the specifics there.

I didn't get outta the car and take a look, but I wanna see what you're maybe diagnosing the field with with beans at this point. I

Mitchell Shirk: had some interesting conversations this week, John, with some of my clients, and we had fields that were planted one month difference, and the fields that were planted a month later, I think are almost to a point where they're gonna catch up in growth with the beans aren't planted a month before.

And I keep getting a getting asked the same question, why are these beans not growing? Why are these beans not growing? And back to that dry weather, when you have those dry conditions, soybeans take atmospheric nitrogen and they fix it with those nodule nodules on the roots, and then it produces nitrogen for that plant.

And you start pulling out soybeans that have sat in dry ground for a quite a long time. There's no reason for that soybean to establish a. A connection with the fungi in that [00:19:00] soil and produce nodules. There's no moisture. Moisture is required in order for that to happen. So what I'm finding in a lot of soybeans is they don't have any vigor cause they're not taking in nitrogen, they're actually nitrogen and sulfur deficient in that case.

And what's the solution to that? Again, Sunshine and rain will do wonders for soybeans, but if we wanna give them a little bit of a boost, believe it or not, some of our production soybeans, we'll go on with a foliar package of some sort and a lot of the things that we're addressing, the norm is gonna have.

Potassium and boron in that mix because those are commonly deficient at this time. But we're actually gonna be pushing a little bit higher nitrogen and sulfur in that application just to try to stimulate that roots, get them to catch up, and hopefully that they do exactly that. They'll catch up, they'll start to elongate, they'll start to throw flowers on and produce their own nitrogen and just give them that boost that they need.

Jon Teater: Yeah, and I think people [00:20:00] don't recognize the importance of sulfur. And I've applied sulfur in, in a foliar spray, so I'm quite familiar with that. And I can't say anything different than you recommended. Again, I don't work in your field per se, but I echo everything you're suggesting right now.

At this stage, at least with beans, you may see some yellowing and that's specifically, some I'll say veiny beans, and you'll, you may see some potassium deficiencies as, as well. And. It's hard to, fully address from a car ride, looking out in the field.

But, I can see yellowing plants in different areas and may, maybe even some pale browns, when you have a sulfur deficiency, I. At least from my experience, Mitch, so let's dig a little bit more. So as these plants recover, we've prayed for rain, God has granted us a great opportunity whether, we're collecting rain water in the systems that I've talked about, or we just get a lush of rainfall for an extended period and the plant starts growing.

Are there any additives or things that we [00:21:00] should probably consider with beans themselves to promote. You know this growth, potential maximizing yield, et cetera. What are some thoughts there? Yeah,

Mitchell Shirk: so when I pull plant samples in ag fields, the two most common deficiencies in my region, and I think this is very specific to my region and my soil types, what we find is boron is always at the cusp of low and sufficient, as is.

There. There's a couple reasons for that. In Ag Field, the reason that magnesium is a problem is we've got so much history in our location with using high calcium limestone for decades. In addition, we've got lots of dairy manure that has added calcium to it. In addition, we've got lots of layer of anor that has added calcium to it, so we've got an imbalance of calcium to magnesium.

That's what causes that magnesium deficiency. Boron on the other hand, a thick, let's just throw some numbers in [00:22:00] production, agriculture, out 60 bushel crop per acre, soybeans, they're gonna pull out a significant amount of boron. You're probably looking, a, a handful of pounds, you're probably looking 10 pounds, something like that.

And we keep driving yield up continuously trying to push that extra yield. And I think we're demanding. More from the system. And boron, I think is the first thing on the list that I see depleted in my area. So for me, in my location, if we're gonna start to really push that envelope, we're gonna put foliar on there.

Some of the big ones for me are commonly boron, potassium, and sulfur because we'll talk about sulfur here in a little bit if we talk about alfalfa, but sulfur deficiency is a growing problem in the eastern part here where I'm at.

Jon Teater: Yeah. And great point. Actually very similar to my area.

So I echo, one thing, Bo boron is you know just everyone's words. It's an anion. Let's just be clear about that. So it has a tendency to leach and your point, or with a high levels of calcium. [00:23:00] Okay? And some areas. My particular area where I live, that is the case. It reduces, the borons availability to the plant.

In foliar sprays and I'm not always using foliar sprays, but in, in that example, I think it's an excellent, depending on the plant stage, et cetera, it's an excellent opportunity to replenish it, also, it's important to recognize. There's a relationship to boron and potassium uptake.

I think that's critical. Absolutely. And potassium. Absolutely. And potassium's really important. And for a lot of things, particularly, fruiting plants. I think that's some things we forget about. And I always think about, and in my particular area, I'm low in phosphorus.

There's also an example in my area where, you know we've gotta address each individualistic issue and plant uptake in needs. So it's almost individualizing the plant. Looking at what its expected demands are looking at the status of the environment, recognizing that not everything is being, cycled correctly because of, in some cases with mono crops, to your point earlier, lack of [00:24:00] synergy.

You're talking to about plant plant sensing or I think I would think of another term for that. Plants talk to one another. Kinda like synergistic. Yeah. And thinking about those relationships is quorum sensing? Quorum sensing is the terminology I was looking for.

And thinking a little bit more individualistic about the plants and the relationships. Alright, let's jump ahead. We want to get to the end of this and talk about alfalfa. A lot of fans of alfalfa there, I think that's a plant that people don't utilize. Enough on the landscape. I'm working with a lot of clients that love alfalfa, so I wanted to address that topic and issue.

So we have an established alfalfa, maybe it's a newly established alfalfa field. What are you seeing? What are the issues? What's your opinion? Yeah, I

Mitchell Shirk: tell you what, alfalfa is a great food plot. I am not discrediting it, but of all the food plots it's a little bit of a pain in the neck for me for a couple of reasons.

Number one Clover alfalfa's, a perennial. They're finicky to establish. Once again, I'm. Are fine. I think alfalfa's even a [00:25:00] little bit more finicky than Clover. And then when you grow alfalfa, I've had this happen for guys where they'll grow alfalfa and have this beautiful looking crop for the first part of spring.

Then you get about to right now, the time of year we are, and they're like, my alfalfa's dying, or it's got some kind of nutrient deficiency what's going on in my alfalfa? And I look at it. And the big common thing that we have is we have a lot of potato leaf hopper and it causes yellowing in those leaves.

It they have a piercing suckling mouthpiece and they like basically drain the leaf structure and it makes it yellow and makes it look nasty. We end up having to spray insecticides, which I don't like to do when you've got a monocrop of. Of anything. I don't like to spray insecticide period.

But when you're talking about managing for maximum mono, monocrop, biomass that's one of the things to do in order to keep alfalfa really going. Another thing that, we touched on with corn and beans, and I've seen a lot of in alfalfa lately. Sulfur [00:26:00] deficiency. Sulfur is one of those things.

When I started doing the work I'm doing we were told by many people that we will probably not see sulfur deficiency for years and years to come for the sole purpose that we used to have so much acid vein that drifted into this part of the country and supplied to our crops with ample amounts of sulfur.

Clean Air Act and the things that has done has improved that we don't have acid rain and we're not getting sulfur for free anymore. And where I'm seeing that the most this year is in alfalfa, I'm noticing a lot of knobs and pockets of the field where it's patchy, it's very yellow, and you scratch your head and think is it potassium?

Is it this, is it that? And I started pulling plant samples and sure enough, it's sulfur deficiency and it's for alfalfa. It's a little bit hard to. To know. It's that unless A, you've got experience or b you confirm it because it, it can mirror some other plant deficiencies, but [00:27:00] it's basically a pale, stunted plant.

And that, that's another

Jon Teater: really common one. Yeah, no, and that's quite interesting. And the potato leaf oppers, another example and I won't get into specifics, but I've worked recently with somebody and then a company that has recommended some foliar sprays instead of insecticide to help alleviate that.

Not a topic for here that's specific to that company and what they recommend and that. Particular instance, but there are some options instead of using insecticide. So I would caution people when that's their first choice. It's not always, the first choice. Now, I guess in large cropping areas, that may be the most, efficient means to re removing those.

Let's talk a little bit more and I've got some alfalfa growing in one of my food plots in a small area, and it's done pretty well, but I've had a cover crop in there Although the soils themselves are not as deep as I prefer, those plants have done as well as they can be a little more spotty.

So when you have shallow soils, [00:28:00] you limit yourself and, the plant really needs to expand right from the root zone. So it needs that opportunity. But again, a saving grace has been intercropping or having other plants, a part of, those those strategies. And I actually, I.

If you were to plant wheat as an example with alfalfa and then cut it down at some point or leave it standing depending on, its density, that, that's been a helpful means to kinda, support, moisture levels in the soil. And sometimes, like we talked earlier, without certain levels of moisture, some of these deficiencies are gonna creep up on you and they're gonna become more apparent as the.

As the plant has a hard time transferring energy, throughout its body essentially. All right. Let's talk a little bit more about alfalfa management. I think that's one thing I think people struggle with. I appreciate your key notes to this particular plant, but what are things that people can do to manage alfalfa throughout the season?

I guess to increase, we'll say volume. I know mowing is something that a lot of people will need to do. Obviously it's [00:29:00] a source of food. So you do, you, you do treat it as a forage plant and obviously a lot of it's ingested throughout the summer months by, our favorite critter of the deer.

But what are some things we can do to maintain and support, better growth of that particular plant.

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. First and foremost weed management's very important because the minute you start getting some grasses and maybe you get some curly dock or something along those lines, it starts to choke it out, starts to thin that stand out.

And, we've talked about herbicides in the past, and that's probably a little bit of another discussion, but. Weed management's very important from a nutrient aspect. Just to throw some numbers out there, so production alfalfa, when we're trying to maximize tonnage of alfalfa and, we're getting four or five cuttings in a growing year.

You might be talking about four or five tons per acre in a cutting that is a lot of biomass that is pulling out of the soil. So in an extreme situation like that, we're probably talking about removing somewhere between four and 500 [00:30:00] pounds of potassium out of the soil and removed in that crop.

Now that's extreme. That's not anything that we're gonna really see in a food plot world, but the concept is still the same. If we plant a food plot, we get alfalfa that grows vigorously. What's harvesting it? Deer. They're browsing it. And all the wobbles, they're brow they're browsing it.

And they don't always I know sometimes they, I know animals don't know the difference between the dining room table and the bathroom. But at, for the most part, they, they'll. Leave the field and there goes your nutrients. So you know, we are gonna start to see in a monocrop. Alfalfa system.

I do see potassium get depleted a little bit quicker. And and with that calcium's another one. Calcium is another important nutrient. Again, I told you I have calcium rich environments where I'm at, but there are times in extreme management trying to maximize tonnage and quality. We'll put soil amendments on that, that [00:31:00] allow incorporate calcium in.

To to really help with the quality of that forge and stuff. Those are the big ones for me. Nitrogen's usually not a concern. If your phosphorus levels in your soils are, or within an optimum range, that's typically not a problem. But I will say that the biggest deficiencies I see in alfalfa recently are gonna be that potassium.

It's gonna be that sulfur and then boron. A again I swear everything in my area is deficient in boron.

Jon Teater: Yeah, and join the club. I'm in the same boat as you. A couple things dealt with this over the years is deficient calcium levels or low calcium levels. It's impacted the. The ability of that plant to be more erect.

I don't know if you've noticed that I've got areas in my area that's one example. The other thing I noticed, and I don't know if this is exactly correct, so I'm just gonna say what I think, and I don't know if this is proven or not. I have seen when you do take a crop off and you have limited water resources, that potassium [00:32:00] deficiency amplifies per se.

Trying to think about, the water retention on the landscape or the water availability, the recent rains is very important because it makes that potassium available to that plant per se. And then if you have a deficiency ever so present, water will help at least support that if you're, lacking water in the landscape.

Small tidbit, I don't even know if I'm right at that point, but I'm saying what I feel and this is, it's, I would say that's

Mitchell Shirk: spot on, John. I think that Okay. That, that, that look is something very accurate because we see that a lot in row crops. Okay.

Jon Teater: All right. So I'm not crazy.

That's good. I appreciate the time you took outta your day. You're driving home. I. And we've, I've gotta get this podcast out today, but I appreciate a lot of information here, folks, and I think, Mitchell's an expert in this field. This is what he does professionally, right?

You can always, Mitchell, they can reach out to you, they can communicate with you communicate and obviously you have your podcasts as well. So why don't you pitch your podcast and let people know how they can get a ahold of you if they have any questions. [00:33:00]

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, certainly. I'm the host of the Pennsylvania Woodsman on Sportsman's Empire Network.

The same place you'll find John's, John's. Podcast here. I, I do Instagram. I'm not really big on Facebook. I, anything I post on Instagram goes over to Facebook automatically, but I'm not real active on that. So Instagram, Pennsylvania, woodsman podcast. I also, you can email me. Pa woodsman podcast

You can always email me. One thing I wanna leave you guys with, we talked about foliar feeding a little bit, and I am, I'm pro foliar feeding, and one of the things I've learned from ag is one of the best. Weighs to fo your feeder. The most bang for your buck is foliar feeding when you do it in the early morning hours or late in the evening.

And the reason for that is you're doing it in a cooler part of the day and the stomata of the plant leaf are open. You actually get better nutrient use de efficiency when you foli your feet. So don't go out at two o'clock in the afternoon in the hottest part of the day. And expect to have [00:34:00] really great results in, in that sense.

That was one tidbit I wanted to add with these nutrients, but I'm done with my talking. John, thank you so much for having me.

Jon Teater: No, great point here at the end. We've said that before and I appreciate you echoing that. And Mitchell, we appreciate everyone listening to his podcast as well. Ton of good information.

You've had some stuff recently on elk the local elk herd, and I think you had, was it rattlesnakes? Did you have something about rattlesnakes recently or did I, am I losing my mind? I did. I did.

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. At heart, I'm all about bow hunting, whitetails and I enjoy black bear hunting. Greatly in Pennsylvania, my show is the Pennsylvania Woodsman showcasing outdoors.

I've been going down some different avenues and learning some cool things. So yeah, we did have a rattlesnake hunting episode and that

Jon Teater: was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. Yeah. And I think it's peop important to people to think about different things. So appreciate your support on my show and please tune into his show.

And that's it from us. Talk to again soon. Yep. Likewise. See you. See you, man. Bye.

Mitchell Shirk: Maximize your hunt is a production of [00:35:00] whitetail landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail