In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Dan Kittredge (Bionutrient Food Association) discuss quality of the food, nutrient value, and health attributes of nutrient dense plants. Dan discusses what got him trying to improve his plants to repel going pest and disease pressure and how organic is not always the option. Dan explains how to create more yield and better production in our fields, food plots and forested land. Working with the bottom of the food chain to produce the best food on our land and in our forest. Dan discusses how to change our degraded ecosystem Principles of biological systems.
Chloroplast, photosynthesis, sugar, and oxygen are all factors in supporting our plant health. The significance of soil and the microbes. Discusses the essentials of plant life, and how our soils have degraded over the years and what we can do to repair our environments. Why Dan does not add nitrogen or other fertilizers.
New ways to amend your soil that most have not heard of before. Dan explains low-cost methods that will improve your land, improve mineral composition, and ultimately improve the food that is available to animals and build a healthier deer herd. Dan identifies how to remineralize your land and build higher complexed plants that attract more deer. Dan discusses the importance of inoculation, foliar sprays, seed quality and plant spacing.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant, outdoor content!
[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 whitetail deer, share their secrets to success.
And now the founder of Whitetail Landscape. Your host, John Teeter.
Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Just a reminder, if you can in this podcast, it's appreciated. If you go in and give a five star review on comment that puts you in for whitetail, landscape's, hat, and please connect with me. I've been getting emails from listeners and it's just nice to connect with people.
People wanna hear about various topics and information that's relevant to their circumstances, and that type of feedback is very [00:01:00] helpful. If you wanna hear of a specific topic and want, any of the. Are myself to dive into that. I will absolutely do that. So send me those.
Otherwise, on my docket, I've been working on land management plants and applying some new techniques and philosophies more about that. This summer, we'll get into some new kind of ideology related to agro forestry, moisture management, things to do with water management. Profiling the soil, understanding more of the intricacies of how our ecology kind of works and functions.
In uniformity and thinking more in depthly about, certain topics. I have an interesting guest on today and he's not a dear guy and it's important to think more, I think, worldly about these. I've been following a gentleman named Dan Kittrich for many years now. In fact, he was inspirational in some of the philosophies and ideology that I've employed with my clients, and I thought it'd be a good idea to bring him on.
He focuses on food health in essence, [00:02:00] his knowledge. Broad spectrum is really, I would say, instrumental in thinking more about land, ecology and management. He's a northeastern boy like myself, and I think that's a good thing. But he's traveled all over the world and he's got a very diverse perspective.
So let me just get 'em on the line. Hey Dan, how are you doing? I'm doing good, John. Thanks for having me. Great, man. I'm happy to have you here. I want you to talk a little bit about your business, what you do, and you know a little bit about yourself. I run a nonprofit, it's called the Binary Street Food Association, and we're founded in 2010.
And our mission is to increase quality of the food supply, which. We mean to talk about flavored aroma, nutritive value, health giving attribute. I grew up on an organic farm in central Massachusetts and have been basically, On the land most of my life. And I've got a farm here now as in central Mass as well.
I got into all this work trying to figure out how to make a living, farming and struggling with past pressure, disease pressure, sort of failure to thrive and,[00:03:00] took what I had been brought up with from the organic perspective and looked into other streams of thought, permaculture, agri, ecology, conventional, there's a biodynamics.
There's a whole bunch of other sort of ways of understanding how to work with land, and integrated a lot of those insights. Into my practice, which turned into much better yields, much lower cost of production and time off being able to play with my kids.
So that started me teaching workshops and courses to farmers and growers. It's really about working with the bottom of the food chain, doesn't I tell people I don't care what kind of plant you're producing, whether it's alfalfa or Apple or EIA, or. Cucumber, the principles are the same.
So I think that's why, I might have something to offer here because, plants have been growing for hundreds of millions of years without fertilizer. And if we understand how they do it and we can support them we can take our somewhat degraded. Ecosystems and really cause 'em to be functioning much more.
Very inexpensively and simply. It's it's really about, how does HR work and how can we find those little [00:04:00] leverage points to really address limiting factors. So let's talk a little bit about our landscapes. And I know that we don't wanna necessarily be so specific, but us based.
The deficiencies across the landscape because of, the weather, the misuse, the land use practices, the, there's a lot of things that, the pollution, there's a lot of things that we've created as, just beans on this planet that have degraded things in concert with that, you've come up with a system and that system to me is low cost intelligent.
It's thinking about, like you said, the lowest. The lowest hole in the barrel, essentially. Yeah. So I wanna walk through what you've seen across the landscape as deficiencies, just in general and just ways to remedy that. What is your process in thinking through each one of these? It could be from looking at the soil to the health of the plant, it's life cycle, et cetera.
I kind want you give some perspective on the way you look at things. Yeah. I've been teaching a course called Principles of Biological Systems for more than 10 [00:05:00] years now, and it's a two day intensive and there's, a few versions of it up for free on YouTube where people might be interested later.
But I always start off with this point about the fact that, most plants are green. And I say, the reason most plants are green is because they cover their bodies and chloroplasts. In which form synthesis occurs. They take carbon dioxide and sunlight and water and they make sugar and oxygen, and everybody knows that story and they know that the oxygen gets put out in the atmosphere and that's what we breathe.
But they don't know that nature, that sugar gets put down into the soil to feed the microbes because in nature there's no fertilizer, there's no chemicals, there's no, I like to say none of the first extinct, the got invent fertilizer. Plants have been doing this for a long time, and it's really about, the foundational dynamic of the function of the soil life is really what, connects to the ecosystem functioning well.
It doesn't matter where your plant is in the canopy layer. If the microbes and the soil are functioning well, it's gonna be functioning well. If they're struggling, it's gonna be struggling. So the real question for me is, what do the microbes need to function? And it's [00:06:00] really simple. They need air to breathe.
So when the soil's tight, they asphyxiate and they die. And so they can't feed the plant. They need water to drink. So when the soil's dry, they, die of thirst and they stop feeding the plant and the plant struggles. They need food to eat. So there should be, sugar coming down from the leaves.
There should be organic matter, on the soil that should multiple layers of canopy. Ideally. You only want that cycling. You don't want bare soil effectively. They need mic. They themselves must be there. The full spectrum of microbes must be there. And in many cases, our environments have been, here in New England, in Massachusetts, I think it used to be 98% cleared in 1830s.
And it was, there was no trees. What we've got coming back now is like third growth. They really wore the land out. They plowed on the hillsides. They eroded the land. A lot of the richness that was here when the white people first came, which is why the trees were, twice, three times as tall as they are now.
Is because there was, a deep soil there and that's not there now. So part of what [00:07:00] happened is, has happened is that a lot of those microbes that are needed to function for the system to function aren't present. So inoculations are key piece. And then finally I talk about minerals. They need minerals to build their bodies out of.
We need copper and zinc and calcium and potassium and cobalt and mold them for our bodies to function. The plants need them and the microbes need them. And sometimes there's these little things like cobalt that you might need a pound or two per acre, that if it's not present, 80% of the microbes can't exist.
And so minerals, microbes, air, water, and food, if you can manage your landscape so that you have those things present at all points in time to the best of your ability that in my experience is what causes things to grow well. So those are probably a short summation. No, I think that's good and I think that's actually to the point I think a lot of people may have missed, some of the basics and that, that to me is the fundamental piece of this.
Where I tied in you is thinking more about the deficiencies. And you [00:08:00] ended with that. And specifically across the spectrum, thinking more holistically we typically think nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, that those are the key ingredients in the equation. And we don't necessarily think about the forms that are applied and we wanna stay away.
One of the things we've talked about on this podcast is we wanna stay away from tillage. Yeah. And I think you have the philosophy that you don't want your ground bear more than two weeks out of. The year. A year and that's, yeah. That's pretty much a standard practice, at least that I employ as well.
In the case of a lot of these people that listen to this podcast, they're trying to do throw and grow. A lot of these are cover crops and they're specific for deer, usually easier species to grow, but the deficiencies. Sometimes produce unwanted plants and and that's another piece of this, and, can we leverage those weeds or can we use those plants as a basis to understand what the deficiencies are?
They're, yes, we can I don't think we need to get into some of the [00:09:00] specifics, but certain plant species give you an indicator, what may or may not be deficient. And particularly if you have compacted soil, what you brought up earlier is having very heis ground. Yeah. The piece I wanna get into is assessing your soil and taking a look at the dose de deficiencies, and what are the methods that you would employ to remedy, those specifically?
I can your philosophy, so I guess I'm hearing you talk about mineral deficiencies specifically. Yeah. Okay. But I would say, it's an air deficiency or a water deficiency or food deficiency. They're all deficiencies that need to be addressed, but mineral deficiencies specifically I generally recommend people take a basic soil test.
Don't suggest going to the university because usually they're operating more from that, N P K fertilizer paradigm. There's one that I recommend people go to, it's just called Logan Lab and it's an Ohio, and they do about 15 or 15 different elements and. Yeah, depending on how deep you want into it.
I talk about that in the course. Again, that's online for free, but you need to have a certain level of these critical elements [00:10:00] present for life to function well. So that's one way, if you wanna be more high tech about it, the sort of low tech way. And the way I would recommend those, calcium deficiency with limestone, potassium deficiency with basalt.
Rock phosphorus deficiency with rock phosphate copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate. So there's different rocks and things like that you can use. I'm not talking about fertilizers. We're looking to address these things systemically. That's the more expensive, specific technical way, which is totally good.
But depending on people's budgets, the low-tech way is to use rock dust and sea salt basically between sea salt's. Got 92 different elements in it. I generally recommend about 75 pounds per acre per year. I definitely do that on my property from Stonewall to Stonewall just because it's good for my land.
And depending on where you get your sea salt from, you can get it for, like three bucks a bag or four bucks a bag. It's basically rock salt. So 75 pounds to the acre is not much. Then basalt rock [00:11:00] dust you can usually get at a local quarry, depending on where you're at. You gotta, Understand what kind of rock they're quarrying.
But the granites and basalts are best. Anywhere There's a road basically, they make roads out of crush rock and tar. And tar comes from Alberta or Venezuela. And the crush rock comes from a hole in the ground pretty close, cuz it's not, doesn't make sense to haul rock around cuz the whole cotton's made out of it.
So there's a waste product called huscher dust or float that oftentimes these quarries have. And they'll give it to you for two bucks a ton, or five bucks a ton, or 10 bucks a ton. And so there's maybe 30 or 40 different elements in that and spreading that out across your land, two tons of the acre, five tons of the acre, can do more if you can do, it really helps to systemically address broad spectrum mineral efficiencies.
So you either go the targeted route with the specific minerals and the soil test or just, basalt and sea salt is generally good for anybody. At least east of the Mississippi. Yeah. Yep. I think some of the [00:12:00] Midwestern states, they may have an abundance of minerals in their soil, so taking a soil sample and addressing the de deficiencies individualistic might be.
Maybe more beneficial in the Northeast. I think your suggestion is more applicable at least from my experience with the clients that I've worked with. And I think Logan Labs, they have a full spectrum or at least a more in depth spectrum of, nutrients to evaluate, and in that there's mul multiple books out there that you can look at what the ideal levels of parts per million.
For we'll just say, sodium for example. Yeah. So you, you kinda get a get, get some, awareness and have comparables to see, what you, I guess where you stand against what the standard would be. And it's really soil specific, but they do they try to generalize it in some capacity.
So you're within a range of reasonable. And the other piece of this is you brought earlier the whole error piece of this and having, I guess depth right to your poor system, whether it's, yeah, through having, and one of the measurement techniques we've talked about on this is [00:13:00] just measuring your kind of soil earth worm, volume per square foot.
That's a consideration. And they're pumping out, hundreds. Thousands of, we'll just say elements of manure in various forms, and that could be the best way to replenish some of the nutrients that you're deficient in as they consume, the various things that, that they, they eat.
So it's just thinking more holistically in that respect and that porosity is huge because, we're trying to maintain, at least we've seen this over time where we have drought periods and how do you have, the right organic, volumes, humic material to store that, or maintain that moisture in the ground soil.
And the depth of that is critical to the plant life. And obviously, those root zones as they develop lower in the profile, you're likely to harness more mineral composition as Yeah. They exude. The various sugars, et cetera, and work with the microbes to acidify or, degrade, some of those pets of mineral content that's available to 'em.
And so the depth of your root system is [00:14:00] critical in this equation. So I figured, just add to this story. So salt and sea salt, and there's various options to get sea salt. You can go to the ocean, right? You can harvest it that way you can get a bag form application. And what about areas where they're higher sodium content, and maybe focusing on the mineral element of that, but what do you do to kinda remove the salt aspect of that?
What would be the strategy there? Is there any ways to handle that? Sure. Yeah. If you wanna put a little extra effort in, I recommend for people who want an excuse to go to the ocean that say I have to go harvest some seawater. It's a farm farm task. And so you just find a spot in the coast to camp and I'd say, get a 55 gallon drum and stick it with the high tide line and fill it up with sea water.
And then you need a. Some y and a stick and a pH paper, and you start stirring some Y in until the pH gets a 10.4. And then you'll let it sit for about 24 hours. So that's why you're going camping. And then you can basically [00:15:00] pour the top, 45 gallons off, siphon it out or whatever, back into the ocean.
That's where all the sodium chloride water is. And all the trace element concentrate will be at the bottom of the barrel. So there, that way you can get all the trace elements off of the, outta the seawater without the sodium. If you got too much, usually that's not an issue. On the East Coast.
Or oh, it's really if you get rain below 25, 20, 25 inches a year, then maybe you got inches to sodium. So out in the mountain west, that might be an issue. Or maybe California. But around here, sea salts you need way more. You could do a lot, you could do with a lot more sorting than you have probably because it rains so much, you're generally low.
Yep, yep. Those are good takeaways and easy way to amend that and. For those that want to go camping, that's a good option for you particularly. Yep. Costa Maine's real nice.
Love that Rocky coastline. Yeah. So I wanna, I'm wanna roll you down another road, and this is thinking more. Disease, pests, those type of Yeah. Issues. Yeah. So a lot of [00:16:00] people are painting corn, soybeans, so they're dealing with, worms and di different issues. And you talked about, deficiencies, but the benefit.
So once you amend, the soil and you're thinking more holistically about the plant life, In your experience, how has that repelled or changed the perspective on, plant status when you're talking about insects, disease, applying pesticides, insecticides, what have you and removing that and minimizing that.
What have you experienced, at least when you've started to make these changes? Yeah pretty much across the board when a plant is actually healthy, it is indigestible to insect disease. And I tell a little story about a cow and I say, if we're a bunch of us here in this room sitting down together, and when you walked in, maybe there was a.
A be of, hey, you could chosen to next to some of the chairs. You might have chosen to sit on it, but you probably not have chosen to eat it. And people say, yeah. And I say, if we walked a cow in, she might have considered eating it, but probably would not have considered sitting on it. People say, yeah. I say so why would the cow eat it?[00:17:00]
And you wouldn't. People say cows can have four stomachs and we don't, and they can digest complex celluloses and we can't. And I say, yep. Right then there you just showed that different organisms can digest different things. Actually larvae don't have a liver and they can't digest protein.
So when you're, soybean is. Is building, complete proteins out of amino acids because it's got all the necessary nutrients. It becomes indigestible to the larvae or the corn or whatever. So there's different families of compounds and different families of, and types of pests.
But functionally, the the healthier the plant is, the less digestible it is to insect disease and the more attractive it is to animals. And so if your objective is to attract. Animals to your property, having healthy, high quality plants growing there is like the best way to do it. So I would say, a good way to test in general what the overall level of vitality the plants is with a refractometer, a real simple instrument.
You [00:18:00] know that no battery costs 30, 40 bucks on online and you can use it 10,000 times until you drop it in the cement and break it. And you want a bricks reading of 12 in the leaf of your plants. And that'll tell you if they, if it's at that level, then they're healthy doing well, and you're gonna have animal pressure coming to eat 'em.
And don't be embarrassed if your bricks are more like three or four or five, because that's where most peoples are. Just because the plant's green doesn't mean it's healthy. This is a key piece of the puzzle. People don't necessarily understand. And you get those, high levels of bricks and flavor and aroma and attractiveness to the animals when you have the microbes functioning, digesting the minerals, feeding 'em to the plant, helping those plant build those higher order compounds.
Yeah it's actually very exciting what happens. I tell, I, I tell people on my farm, there's a couple rules. They'll sh not kill an insect. They'll sh not kill a disease. They'll sh not add nitrogen's, another one. But I figure if I've got insects or diseases [00:19:00] attacking my plants, that's nature telling me that's the fit type of organism to eat it.
If I got rabbits and raccoons and deer micros, that's. Nature telling me I'm growing animal food. There you go. Yeah. Then there you go. Yeah. I So you brought up one little topic there about nitrogen. Yeah. What is your theory on that? Because I think that's a misnomer at least with a lot of people that are planting, cover crops, what have you, they're adding nitrogen in abundance.
What are you, what's your theory there? Like I said, none of the first six days of gotten invent fertilizer plants have been doing just fine. And most of most plants in the forest aren't legumes, but they seem to get nitrogen. There's, two-thirds of every was it seven?
Oh, 78% of every breath of air breathe is nitrogen, right? Yeah. 70% of the atmo. There's plenty of atmosphere of nitrogen in the atmosphere, in the environment, and nature knows how to access it. Back to the minerals piece. There's this one mineral called meibum that you need at about a one pound per acre.
That's the center of what's called an Niro enzyme. And that's the thing that nature uses [00:20:00] to, through the microbes, to pull nitrogen out of the ear and convert it into a form that's healthy and appropriate for plants. And if you don't have enough beinum in your soil, then the microbes can't make the nease enzyme and harvest nitrogen from the atmosphere.
And then, so you gotta go buy nitrogen. But if you have that one pound per acre in your soil, and you got the microbes present, Then Naro will do the job for you in a much more balanced way. So you brought up Yeah. And you brought up less likely to get insect pressure because you're gonna get the nitrogen, the balance levels.
Yep. Are you put fertilizer down, things grow fast, they grow weak. Then the insects attack. Yeah, so you brought up a concept of, the introduction of, where things get weak is not having the correct en enzymatic relationships. And I wanna break up another topic. And I heard this recently in a separate podcast.
I didn't endless away all the way through it, but they were talking about the importance of adding humic acid assets. Have you added humic acids in your spectrum application or not? I would always say that if you're gonna be adding a trace element, [00:21:00] add it buffered with a carbon source. So copper, zinc, boron, meum, cobalt manganese, any of those.
If you're gonna be adding them, you absolutely wanna be adding them with a a carbon source if you're doing the seawater. Anything that's a salt you wanna buffer cuz it's otherwise it's more likely to leach. Humic materials are great. That's what good earth is full of. That's what, the darker the color of the soil, the more humic materials are there.
They should be built in your soil by the well-functioning micro ecosystem is part of the soil life. But it's a totally powerful material. Yeah. And if you're gonna be adding fertilizer, Any kinda ion fertilizer or things like that absolutely buffer it with the human material.
That'll, and you can use a lot less and get a much better effect. So let's talk about another topic inoculation. And for those that don't understand inoculation, I want you to give your perspective on what it is and how do inoculate the plants. And then I wanna talk a little bit about plant spacing after that.
So why don't we go [00:22:00] through your philosophy on the importance of inoculation and what inoculation does to our plants. Yeah. I usually say we all know that it's not, we can't digest our food, right? It's the people in our gut that digest our food for us, that 90, 90 plus percentage of the cells in your body are not human cells.
They're. They're microbes, your bacteria, they're fungi. They're your gut flora. We have this symbiotic relationship with microbes that allows us to digest our food. When a baby's born, there's no microbes between, its mouth and its rear end. The whole elementary canal's got nobody in it.
There's this thing called colostrum, which comes outta the mother's breast before milk after birth. That's basically a prebiotic probiotic. It's designed to establish gut flora, so you have the people in your gut necessary to digest food for you. And if you don't get that well established or you have antibiotics, you're a colicky baby, right?
You cry and you can't you puke and you don't grow. It's critical at birth to have a well-established gut flora, because that's how we [00:23:00] evolved to, that's how we evolved, was they're the ones who digest our food for us, and it's basically exactly the same for plants. If plants don't have a well-established gut flora, if they don't have a broad spectrum of microbes present, in the soil around them, on their leaves, et cetera, they're not gonna function well.
People have heard about the microbiome. So yeah, in the same way you want a baby, whether it's a cow or a human, or a kitten to get colossal when it's born, you want seeds. To be covered with and not with the with inoculant, with these spores of different bacteria and fungi. So when they germinate, when they're born, they have that gut flora there to set up their healthy relationships with.
I, yeah, I always strongly recommend, I say if you're gonna take home one thing from this two day course, it's gonna cost you five bucks and take five minutes. And be the biggest bang for your buck. Its inoculate your seeds. Ensure that when your seed goes into the ground, you've got a a broad spectrum of different species, of spores, of bacteria and fungi, in [00:24:00] contact.
Which is really simple. You open a bag of seed. You take a pinch of inoculate put it in the bag, you close the bag up, shake it up. Those, it's basically these powdered spores that you can buy 'em, or you can make your own innoculants, you can harvest innoculants from the local ecosystem.
There's all kinds of ways of doing it. But and if you're planting seed that's treated right, the pink seed or the orange seed or whatever, what is treated with is the antimicrobial the fungicide. Don't, just don't, it's like giving your baby antibiotics when they're born. Like you're not gonna get good.
You're not gonna have, you're gonna have a colicky baby if you give 'em antibiotics when they're, when they're born. Yeah. Yeah. Critically important. Critically important. So Dan, one topic you just brought up there is natural ways to inoculate and maybe give.
People a way to do it biologically where you could maybe harvest soil Yeah. Or, plant life from your resident areas and maybe go through that a little bit. Exactly. Yeah. Real easy. Again, you think I'm taking a walk, I'm actually doing farm work. So the idea here is basically [00:25:00] you go for a walk and you take a bucket or a shopping bag or whatever.
And you wanna look for you wanna hit as many different micro clearance as possible. Swamp field edge, meadow, forest stream, whatever it is. And you're looking for plants that have shiny leaves. Basically, a shiny leaf on a plant is like a shiny coat on a cow or on a deer.
Or on a kid dull, a dull coat means they aren't doing so well. A shiny coat means they are. And the same way with a zini plant, if it's got a shiny green leaf, you know it's doing well. If it's got a little bit beat up, yellow looking leaf, it's not. And what that shiny is on a leaf.
In a plant is the same thing. It is in us. It's fat. It's called the lipid layer, the wax cuticle. And basically what that means is when a plant's got a nice fat layer, that means it's well fed. It's got more food than it eat, than it needs. And a stockpiling, its extra food in the form of fat.
And if you're a plant in nature where nobody's adding fertilizer and you're well [00:26:00] fed, that means you got a well-functioning gut flora. If that all follows. So basically what you wanna do is you wanna, on your walk, hit different market climates, look at different species, find things that look good, and just bend down and pick up a handful of soil from under each of those plants.
Stick it in your bag or your bucket. And when you get home, you can take that bucket, fill a full of water, let the soil settle down, and then pour the water off, and you basically pulled out a bunch of microbes from that soil and you've got a water that's like full of all those different broads back to microbes.
That you can then, spray under your seed or apply it however you want. But yeah, and you can do that same thing with leaves if you wanna look for an inoculate for the leaf surface, because plants not only have their roots covered with microbes, they have their leaves covered with microbes too.
And yeah, you just take the shiny leaves and you put 'em a bucket and you cover water, you full of water and you. Pull the water off and put it in the sprayer and you can use it as a foliar or not. You want Yeah, that, that's, so that's [00:27:00] probably the most inexpensive way you could go there.
Yeah. And all you have to do is go for a walk. Yeah. Yeah. I gives you a chance in exactly. So I wanna take you down one other road and seed selection of seed choice, understanding what the processes. A lot of us are susceptible to the environments. We get caught up in the marketing piece of it too.
I've got the best seed. And from this resource, et cetera, what is the definition of good seed? Obviously, the, the squeeze is essentially what does it look like, feel like eventually as it develops? What's gotta develop in the right environment, which we've talked about.
But how do we get the point of kind of assessing seed quality? What's your philosophy? For starters is really important. The health of the mother affects the health of the baby. And so if you get a plant that you know was fed fertilizer and sprayed with chemicals so it could live long enough to make seed but otherwise would've died from some kind of disease, it's probably not gonna have a healthy baby.
The seed, the vigor, the vital acid is [00:28:00] gonna be low. So what you're really looking for is. Mother plants that had bricks readings above 12 when they were growing, and maybe grandmother plants too. If you can get a couple generations back from healthy plants. You're gonna have the best quality seed, which in many cases is hard, if not impossible to find on the open market.
And so engaging in seed saving is a really exciting thing to be doing if that's in your capacity. I generally say to focus on the seed size or weight when if you're buying seed. So basically, if the variety's the same, the. Seed that is bigger, so there's fewer seeds per pound or heavier or whatever is is gonna be the, have the best vigor.
So in many cases, if you're talking about vegetable producers and looking at. Carrots or furniture, things like that, they really get pretty close into the detail for seeds, I'm not sure about, about cover crops and corn and soy. I don't have a lot of experience buying that.
But I'm guessing it's probably the same. Yep. [00:29:00] If you get three different, three different suppliers that are all providing the same variety and they've got seed counts test weights, you wanna basically get the. The biggest heaviest seed or the fewest seeds per pound. And also very important is you wanna make sure your plants have enough space.
In many cases, people put plants in tight. And what they do really is they read the environment to see how big they can get. And when they're, if they're in tight against other plants, they're not gonna be able to realize their full potential. So again, I'm not sure exactly what people that are.
Working to a tractor, deer are putting out in the forest. But when I'm planting tomatoes, I don't put 'em close to four feet, and that's one row per bed. It's not two rows because the tomato wants to be a big plant and I wanna give it space to be a big plant and I'm actually gonna get more fruit. Per square foot from one plant every four feet that I'm gonna get off of four plants in four feet.
Yeah. Really interesting stuff. Yeah. And it is interesting. I think a lot of people miss that. And the seed [00:30:00] spacing and planning philosophies that we have at least to maximize yield, maybe a little bit incorrect. Like for example, the corn spacing and planting is so tight, number of ears and quality.
Could be maybe better produced if you were thinking more appropriately about what that space and that plant needs specifically. Yeah. The other thing is, in those mono crops, in corn, this is a good example. There's limitations, right? There's no necessarily as many synergies when you have these multi-species blends.
So we're like buffet style. A lot of people that listen to this are thinking more, appropriate on what are the variety of plants that we can provide. Like a buffet style kind of food source. And then adding in, the mineral composition and quality, et cetera in age, a lot of magnified plants aren't easily digestible by deer You're thinking about timing a part of this.
Yep. So plant maturity. Yep. And sequencing is another piece of this. So I, I think that's a cri critical element. So I wanted to end on one particular topic with you and you brought up a refractometer, which I think is good. We, I [00:31:00] talked about, This in a prior podcast you talk a lot about different techniques, simple techniques, observational techniques.
What I think is really important if people watch your YouTube and prescribe that, cuz I think that's very informational. And again, a lot of this relates to some of my strategies. Your business, and I wanna talk a little bit about your business down with this is I've I've taken light of the fact that one of the examples you give is a spinach leaf, right?
Could be equivalent at least from this grower to 20 spinach leafs from that grower. And having the knowledge, at least the awareness that there are differences. Now, I think it's hard to assess some of the rationale behind that. Obviously deficiencies is one of those elements, but what do you think in, with your business, I know you're trying to, you've developed a tool a spectral tool that, that looks at essentially it's a light measuring device essentially the way I perceive it.
Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about the tool that you've developed, where you're at in production and where you're going? [00:32:00] Yeah. Like I said our organization's mission is to increase quality of the food supply. And we understand that, average nutrient levels in food right now is relatively quite low.
We understand that it's been decreasing over time. And we understand that there's, any carrot you pull off the shelf is not gonna be an average carrot. It's gonna be somewhere in a continuum of carrots. And so our thought is if we can help people choose the food that's of best ca quality, if you got three, three carrot choices on the shelf and you flash a light at one and it says 20 out of a hundred, you flash out the next one's 40, the next one's 80, all the things be equal, you're probably gonna pull the 80 off the shelf.
Or maybe even if it costs a little bit more, if you know it's. You know that good from an nutritional standpoint, it's that much more flavorful. Your kids are more likely to eat it. You're actually gonna get healthier from it. Our thought is if people can do that and the eighties leave the shelf in 20, stay on the shelf, then there's gonna be a a economic signal to the growers and the supply chain.
Start focusing on nutrition as opposed to volume. [00:33:00] And we understand that, by the way to grow healthy plants is to have a well-functioning soil. You're building soil. You've got, you're minimizing or reducing entirely all the chemicals that are being applied.
You can, create an environment that's much more healthy. You have humans that are healthier. So it's a, a grand vision about how we can use Ag agricul to really achieve some systemic benefits broadly. But the technology really is, it's called spectroscopy and it's a yeah, I mean it's how we know what stars are made up of.
We can read what something 50 million light years Wednesday, not both with a flash of light. We can read it something. A millimeter way is made up of the flash of light. And so we've engineered a the first generation's fairly rudimentary, but it's proof of concept handheld consumer priced.
Little size of a basically TV remote and you flash it into the carrot or you flash it at cucumber or you flash it at lettuce and it'll spit out a reading about, where that sits in the continuum of quality. Yeah, it's there's a couple pieces of the project. [00:34:00] One is, showing that variation is significant.
We've done that. We've been running labs for the past five or six years across a couple continents, thousands of samples. Dozens of different types of crops. We've shown that you treatment variations are, this carrot may have as much calcium in it as those three carrots. This spinach leaf may have as much iron in it as those 15 spinach leafs, but it may have 50 times as much polyphenols as that spinach leaf.
So depending on which nutrient you're looking at which crop you're looking at, it's two x five x, 10 x and more is the nutrient variation in food right now. It's not small. It's not small. And so we've, begun defining that across multiple crops. We've built a basic meter.
We've been working with farmers to help them document what the practices are they used to get these results and which seed and things like that. So we can dial in on. In an open source fashion so you don't have to listen to salespeople like, what results are people getting by doing what? And yeah, I think, it's a big project.
And [00:35:00] we're a nonprofit, so that means we're running on donations, not on, we don't actually sell stuff. It's a, for the greater good of the world kind of a project. Yep. But Yeah, it's proceeding forward very nicely, and yeah, we think we could really systemically revolutionize agriculture and perhaps human health and a few other things who can just help people.
Choose what's better for themselves and their families. Yeah. And I think that's the story and that's the reason I've been so attracted to you, your message and what you're trying to do across the landscape. And I know this is a Deer hunting podcast, and we're talking about habitat management, but there's a piece of this, a human health and then obviously animal health.
And I think you brought up a bunch of different topics today. We didn't get in depth of all those, but I think you hit the highlights. And I think one thing I take away from this is, we've got the essential elements of the world that we're focused on, at least people that listen to this, right?
It's kind of food, water cover. And in that, what matters the most is the food quality. No different from what Dan's talking about. [00:36:00] And without that, that changes the elements that impact the size of our herd, the quality of the deer that we're eating. Those type of things are meaningful in the scheme of things.
So beyond just the harvest aspect of it, think more holistically. And try to apply some of these examples. Dan gave some real world biological, so solutions, seas, salt, et cetera, rock dust, those things are certainly applicable in your state and your area. So take a finer eye and think about these things more at that, that environmental level.
And Dan, I think your business and you know what you're trying to promote your tools. Like you said, the donation, obviously go check out Bionutrient Food Association. Online, Instagram, et cetera. Take a look at what, Dan's team's offering and opportunities to be a part of that. Cuz I think that's a great, organization and I'm behind you for that.
But I think there's some application to, the food that we eat, the natural world as well. And you obviously brought up vegetables, CSAs, all those things that. Go hand in kind [00:37:00] of the small farmer, so to speak. And we've lost that. We've lost that mentality. These farms have gotten boughten up.
There's a trend I see in another direction. But capitalism, convenience, all those things play in a light to that. And I think, we need to think more holistically about. I don't want to just say, the plant life, but thinking about, where everything originates from and how they're handled, managed, the food that you're eating, the quality of food, and I think that's really important. At least, that's what I've gotten out of this listening to you over the years and I'm certainly a fan and support you any way I can. So I just wanna end with that. So anything you wanna end with thank you for that affirmation.
Really appreciate that. Yeah I would, what just came to my mind was, as a farmer, but also be doing these workshops and courses where people around the region and around the country and other countries, one of the biggest problems that I warn people about is you're gonna draw animals from miles around.
To your farm, the more you do this, you're gonna find pest and disease, insect and disease pressure drop off, but you're [00:38:00] gonna find your animal pest pressure dramatically increase. So yeah, if your objective is to attract wildlife, that's why I like you, man. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's it really it's, you let it go out into a field and it runs across the field that finds a spot and wants to eat, and like, how why'd you go over there, and. Animals. They're discerning. They're discerning. There's a guy what's his name out in called Nourishment Fred Provenza. You read his book? Yes. Fred Nourishment Za. Yes. Yep. If you haven't had that he might provide some valuable perspective for these guys about, about, how animals teach their young, what to eat and what tastes good and where to find it.
You can absolutely build reputation in your bio region amongst the animals for the best. For the best place to eat. Yeah. And that con, that concept is an introduced concept that thank you for bringing that up. And, you're not being, you're not being a deer hunter. That is exactly the mantra here is thinking about that lineage and that legacy of building these high quality properties, applying Yeah.
Some of these concepts. And I think that piece of it, you create this [00:39:00] legacy and interest and obviously respectively, your hunting's gonna get better should you employ the right tactics beyond, just the. What we talked about today. I appreciate that perspective.
All right, Dan thanks for being on the podcast and I appreciate your input and insight and certainly I think you're you're changing things around the country and, I think everyone please follow Dan and his organization and like I said, they have opportunities for, to donate and contribute.
You can buy your spectrometers right. As well. So there's other options there as well. And I, you refractometer you can get your refractometer Oh yeah. There Yeah. And those are, yeah. And we got minerals in our mineral depot too. If you're a member, it's 50, it's five bucks a month.
Yep. You can be a member and then you can access the mineral depot if you're looking for some of the raw materials Yeah. As well. And watch out. Cuz Dan and I at some point we talked to him and I personally about maybe doing something, at least in my area for people that. That wanna have a depot, a resource I've got clients kinda all over the country, but, think more holistically about this.
And you can start your own depot. You can associate with hundred organizations local chapters around the country that do have their own depots. Exactly. A hundred percent. Yeah. That's great. [00:40:00] All right, ma'am. Thanks for your time. We'll talk again soon. I'm talking. All right. Yeah. See you, Dan.
Bye-Bye. Bye. Maximize your hunt is a production of Whitetail landscape. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail landscapes.com.