Soil Health and Food Plot Options

Show Notes

In this part two discussion, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Albert Tomechko (Vitalize Seed) discuss the importance of soil health and food plot options for the spring and fall. Albert discusses the one-two system that is referred to as Nitro Boost and Carbon Load. Each offers a variety of plants that will benefit both deer and soil.

Jon explains the various testing methods that can be in the field for your soil. Al discusses the differences in soils and the related seed options to consider. Al identifies the diversity seed blends that lend themselves to being more productive. Jon and Al discuss sandy and clay soils and how best to handle them, technique of planting and what varieties of seed to consider. Al explains his strategy on reducing tillage, and the importance of fungal networks. Al discusses the importance of foliar spray and how to increase biomass. Jon details his spring seed food plot mix that will be implemented this year.

Al explains why Nitro Boost provides a better means to feeding soil biology and how a heavier legume crop in the spring and summer is better for those upcoming fall plantings. Al and Jon discuss plant maturity and spacing and how to make the fall crops thrive without use of fertilizers. Al breaks down his fall crop options and how his seed can be distributed as a throw and grow, rather than through tilling.  why their seed strategy requires less inputs. Jon and Al discuss simple seed mixes you can do yourself that will get you ahead of your neighbors.

Show Transcript

[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. Your host, John Teeter.

Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Little Housekeeping. Anybody who's listening to this podcast, I'd appreciate if you go in and give it a review. That keeps me motivated and keeps keeps us up on the food chain. This podcast has been very helpful and I'm so appreciative of all the guests we've had on.

I've had a good opportunity to meet a lot of people on this is, and also good opportunity for [00:01:00] everyone on this podcast to learn. So it's been really a sweet thing and I'm really happy to be doing this. I've got a repeat guest on Al. Are you there? I'm here, buddy. I'm here. Thanks for having me back.

All right. Let's see. Hopefully everybody remembers you. We had a long discussion on soil health, so why don't you just quickly introduce yourself just in case people don't know who you are. We'll talk a little bit about your business and then we'll get into the topic. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, John.

Yeah. Albert Teko. I am the co-founder and co-owner of a vitalized seed company. And yeah, I was on your podcast just a few weeks ago and I'm happy to be back. Good. So this is part two and we wanted to get a little more in depth. We want to talk about, many different topics related to food plots, specifically seed selection choices, your specific strategy, how you built your blends and why, and give people maybe some options, some things to consider when they're creating.

Maybe blends on their landscape and considering, the [00:02:00] options that you have available, from vitalized seed I think that's great that we're sharing, this kind of one two punch option. And I think it would be very beneficial to people to think maybe more in-depthly about seed varieties and being a little bit different too, thinking outside the box.

I wanted to start. I wanna talk about some basics and I wanna talk about looking at the soil. We talked a little bit about that last go around. And one of the things I really focus in on is, what is my soil like? And we talked about a soil test and how to smell and feel, and we gave you some measurement techniques.

I talked about EC meters and soil testing and slack testing and all sorts of different things. But this next piece of it is thinking more about what your soil does or doesn't provide in some capacity. Figuring out what's gonna do well in that soil. And a lot of times we're using cover crops.

They go really well. They do good on the landscape. I gave my example of just throwing seed out in the air. But Al I wanna get [00:03:00] your take on maybe this piece of it is looking at your soil type and you talked about c e C and talked about a bunch of different complicated topics, but what you look at and why you select certain seed types that correspond with soil.

So I wanna get your take on that. Yeah. So when you're looking. In general, in my experiences with planting highly diverse bloods, right? Whether it's the current ones that I'm offering or something that I've made on my own over the last decade or so What you benefit from there is that you're you reduce your margin for error, right?

So what I've found a lot of times is maybe if in a, I'll just, let's use a fall blend for talking purposes. So maybe in a fall blend you have greens and you have bras, and you have clovers, and you maybe you have some hairy vetch and things like that. And what you sometimes might notice is, on, on one soil the grains tend to do a little bit better, right?

They you'll notice they're just a little bit greener, right? Just [00:04:00] those observational things we talked about last time, John, like maybe they're a little bit greener. Maybe they're, they look a little bit more lush and and maybe on the field it's a hundred yards away. Very similar soil types.

You, you'll see that maybe the clovers in Nebraska's have a little bit more vibrant green, right? And it can just be very small differences. I know when something you brought up last time was the focus on trace minerals, right? Or trace elements or micronutrients in the soil profile. And, it could be even things that we're not even testing for on a soil test, but it's making that slight difference in that soil.

And I've also noticed that with these blends, and we've had a lot of feedback on this as well, because of all the synergistic relationships that are happening from a fungal species and all of this stuff that's below ground the browse ability and attractiveness. People go, man, I, the deer never hit Nebraska, is when I planted them.

In a monoculture, right? And then they plant 'em in these blends and they go, man the deer just, they loved him. And I've never seen that happen. I've never seen Nebraska's eight before. It was,[00:05:00] February and we had a foot of snow on the ground. And I think sometimes that occurs because you're just, you're putting out enough diversity to cover all your basises and.

The things that are gonna succeed, everything's gonna grow a little bit, but the things that are gonna dominate the growth are gonna be based on what's, currently available in that soil profile, especially in year one. As we read the soil tests and as we work a system and as we, Amend the soil to make sure that our calcium and our magnesium and our micros and things are in the, in a good place, right?

We have that good foundation and then we really can start to optimize biology. So everything flourishes, but in the very first beginning, I think that's what really the whole benefit of, a lot of times these diverse blends are, you mitigate that risk. You know what, in some of the areas of Michigan and New York and states throughout the US you're dealing with sandy soils.

And one of the strategies and this would be really for all soil types, but soil soils that are dominated by sand or dominated by clay. One of the [00:06:00] goals is to build as much root matter as possible for either expansion, ripe porosity. Or alternatively to create organic material. In both cases, decomposing material over time kind of builds these pets or foundations and that becomes the, I guess we'll say the food for our microbes.

And we've talked about that previously. So having very large root matter, that's decomposing in large quantities. Of course, once it hits the soil profile and it starts to degrade it, it becomes available now, it'll take time. To become available, but we're thinking about root profiles as much as we're thinking about the stem or the leaf that are digestible.

The other piece of this is thinking about plants is how much of the fibers, elements of that, leaf stem are digestible. And the quality of that fiber and how it facilitates room health. And things like crude fiber, total fiber, thinking more about nutri [00:07:00] neutral detergent, fiber acid detergent, fiber, the qualities of those fibers and the balancing of those, to promote, in this case digestibility and thinking more specifically about how the animal breaks down, those particular.

And the benefits per se. And we talked a little bit about, broad leafs and things of that nature and how they're digestible or not. You can do some research on this kind of stuff, but there's attributes of these plants that, that create attraction. So I guess I'll ask a. Maybe more specific question for you, al sandy soils and were plagued by sandy soils.

How do you attack those? I want to know, maybe what a good tactic would be for somebody just from a plant selection standpoint. Yeah. I think, so Sandy soils are one we see a lot of, and my first recommendation is typically you pull a soil sample on sandy soils and you start there.

You. Okay, you're low. C, E C. So we know it's Sandy. The next thing I look at is my base saturation percentages. And I [00:08:00] typically see that magnesium is really low relative to that c, e, C. So then I'm gonna say, okay, we're probably gonna wanna lime this. And people go whoa. I thought that you guys wanted to reduce inputs over time.

Yeah, I do. I wanna reduce inputs, but we have to build a foundation. I'm not somebody who thinks. You never have to ever put a, any type of input down. So I'd like to always clarify this. We need to build this chemical structure foundation of the soil profile, and that's where understanding base saturations comes in.

So my first step there is always to look at, my pH, my c e, c. So we've determined. It is a sandy soil. And then of course I'm gonna say, all right, I want to use, in that case, Dometic limestone to increase that magnesium, which is gonna give you a little bit of a tighter soil structure which is good for sandy soils, right?

We want the inverse of that on heavy clay soils. From there, I think it's very critical to follow the six Soil health principles, right? So diversity, reducing tillage selecting plant species and making sure that your blends are gonna be, if you're in Michigan or New York, for example, you [00:09:00] want blends that are gonna be as winter hardy as possible.

You want to optimize photosynthetic capture, right? Or sunlight capture. That's something that I really try to highlight to people because if these are photosynthesizing, good things are. And we're feeding those microbes when photosynthesis stops, for or the plants all die off because they're not winter hardy.

We're not optimizing our microbial activity in the soil profile. The next thing is this kind of goes without saying, but I still like to mention it, is, one of the, so six soil hall principles is reducing tillage. Why is that so critical in, in sandy soils? Because what happens is when we have highly diverse mixes that are all working together synergistically and they're doing all of these great things for a root mass structure, and they're photosynthesizing and their roots are exuding carbonic acids and sugars, and it's cr, it's creating this fungal dominated network over time.

What we have [00:10:00] happen is there's actually what's called glom, or people might have heard Ray Archie, let call it Biotic Glues. And what that is it's literally a structure that's excreted from fungal networks in the soil that helps for soil aggregation. So now we have this. We started with talking about magnesium from a chemical structure that's gonna help with aggregation, right?

From think of that as like the chemical side of the building blocks. Now we have this biological aggregation happening because of our fungal networks that are being established within the soil profile. How is that happening? It's happening through diversity. In your seed blends making sure that you're picking things or that are, again, winter hardy that are gonna, in the spring, are they gonna photosynthesize quickly?

Are they gonna grow quickly? Are they gonna feed my microbial life? Or what are we getting out of these plants that we're picking? But what you don't wanna do is go in there and till a lot of times your microbiology your bacteria, if you will, in the soil profile. I forget who it was, if it was Dr.

Christine Jones or they explained it with, [00:11:00] you can till, and a lot of your bacteria, a little oxidation does occur. They kind ride the wave. What can't ride the wave, John is that fungal network. And that is, it's critical in all soils, right? It helps from breaking down higher ligament filled crops.

We can cycle nutrients faster as systems lend themselves to more fungal dominated over time. There's a whole trickle impact of that. But for sake of time in this discussion it really helps from a soil structure perspective, which is so hypercritical. To those sandy soils because we're s we have such a high propensity to leach nutrients to not be able to really absorb water and have water infiltration be there.

So as we can do those things and have better root channels and better chemical structure and better biological structure of the soil through those channels, that's really gonna help us in the long run. Yeah, that's a good point. I'm gonna be controversial. A lot of times I like starting off with the sandy soil routines of getting in annual [00:12:00] plants and doing the no-till method.

Sandy soils are, they're, they're, they've got a large percentage of oxygen as compared to, clay soils. So tilling, vertical tillage, or any type of tillage whatsoever. Air rating the soil is a bad thing, right? We're trying to work towards building, I guess a root matter.

And so having plants, perennial options are great. I'm trying to think of biomass. Annuals have a tendency to provide more biomass. In some cases, you can irrigate areas of our clients where we. They're soils, that's a great option. There's alternatives where you can do some irrigation with just rainwater, right?

So it's thinking about, how to elevate water in the landscape in ponds, and then using those as distribution channels into assuming you can create ponds in those areas, or you can use that as a water source to your food plots. Alternatively thinking about, the types, Ultimately I start thinking of chicory, deep plant, rooted plant.

I'm thinking alfalfa, depending, on the location type of, you said earlier, c e, [00:13:00] c, very sandy soil is very hard to grow. Anything ryegrass, something that people downgrade big time would be a consideration. And again that's a controversial topic that anybody listens to, people in different forms.

And I, I plant ry grass in, in a lot of area. Regardless of what people think, it's available and it's digestible. It's not highly preferred, but it's utilized. So those are things that just come off my mind. I don't have any notes on this topic. John, can I add one thing as well that I would recommend?

Yeah. So one other thing too, again, especially as somebody starting let's assume low organic matter and this is their first time food plant and they found this mix that they want to use in the sandy soil. And one of the things I like to tell guys is Don't be afraid to fully apply nutrient.

To these sandy soils, right? Because it's not the same where, let's say it's real low in potassium, which is pretty typical, right? You're just, even if your saturation is a decent percentage it's relative to no such a low c that you're not gonna hold much potassium in that particular [00:14:00] soil.

So I've learned this from, I, I think I might have mentioned last time we spoke, but a mentor of mine who is a big time row crop ag farmer, and they're growing in one, literally it's like Daytona beach sand. And they're growing great corn in South Georgia in these conditions. And I'm like, how are you doing it?

Of course they have infer oil planting. You know us as, a lot of times food powders don't have that option. But then he's man we're trickle feeding. These crops throughout the growing season, now they have it down to a science for their peanuts or their corn or what have you.

But as flip platters, we can just do it observationally. You go out there and you go, oh man these plants are collect, they're struggling a little bit. I pulled my soil test. I already know that. I'm likely knowing these. Go ahead and add a micronutrient fully your, and not every micronutrient is gonna be great as a foliar, but for what we're trying to achieve here and to get that biomass, You likely are gonna see a positive response.

And maybe that's the way you get that root mass and above ground biomass created in the first year or two. And then as you start to cycle things, maybe you [00:15:00] can wean off some of those things. But trying to throw a ton of fertilizer down on a really sandy soil can often be a waste of money.

Another option is if you do want to go the kind of traditional fertilizer. No problem cuz we're trying to get that biomass created right in the first run of things. What about breaking it up? What about you putting 25% down at planting, let's just say, and then 25% down two weeks later, and then, and just breaking it up so you're trickle applying so you're not losing things to, you get a big rain after you plant it in a sandy soil and all of a sudden you're nitrogen per test and or in the Ohio River, I think those are some other options.

Another thing that I think is cool and a lot of people are coming out with varying things and can be helpful in sandy soils is, there's a lot of fungal innoculants and things out there now that you can put right on seed treatments. And I don't have a ton of experience with those on food pots.

I've done quite a bit of 'em with with garden crops, which have been really cool doing root dips and stuff. And you see how quickly that helps the root [00:16:00] structure. And guys are putting those on seeds and planting 'em that way, which is also. Obviously beneficial, specifically in a sandy soil to help with that biological structure we talked about.

So I just wanted to add a couple things that I forgot to mention in the beginning. No, that's great. And if you wanna learn more about, foliar sprays or inoculation there's a guy, and I follow him, I've been following for a few years. He's an Amish character. His name is John Kemp. If you've ever heard of John Kemp, he's a region ag guy.

He's pretty tied in the community. He's got a company called a e a, he's got a lot of these fuller and inoculates. They're quite expensive, but they're highly productive and I've had a chance to use some of those on client properties on my own. So I'd recommend looking up some of his stuff.

There's other podcasts out there where they talk more specifically about regenerative agriculture. That's more palatable maybe to those trying to take this next level. The other piece of this is, thinking variety is key. And I was talking earlier about biomass, I'm trying not to have the [00:17:00] ground bear at all in those sandy situations.

The same thing would apply, to, to most soil types, preferring to have something growing or living all the time. And that's almost impractical if you're killing a crop or, spraying herbicide for that matter. Roller crimping is an example. Having a perennial, obviously we talked about that in concert with an annual right, splitting the baby on one side versus the other side, or however you arrange.

I was working on arrangement last night of food pots for a client. And I was putting the staple food source near the box blind. That was very consistent. And then the annuals, on either side of that, and this is a boomerang shape but thinking more about layout and then thinking about the sunlight availability.

Your soil's gonna vary over that particular profile. So thinking more about that on the landscape, that's where I use my EC meters and I stick 'em to the ground. I'm taking measurements, right? I'm doing some onsite analysis, so to speak. That's a little more, calibrated and alright, I was throwing out some seed types and, varieties, et cetera. Let's get into your [00:18:00] one two punch, cuz I really wanted to talk about your seed mix and blends and, how you developed them and what are the seed varieties involved And, we can't get in specifics of, Percentages of numbers, what did you select and why?

And explain that because it's a broad spectrum, I think. So I kinda wanna hear your opinion. Yeah, no, thanks for the opportunity to share a little bit on that. So I guess I should start real brief, backstory as I was food plotting and doing a lot of things in traditional ways.

And over, over time, John, I was. Expanding more food and adding more food. And we were fortunate to add more property and I got permission on other properties. And going through that transition. Of managing more and more properties and of course loving planning food plots.

And I found out right away that, holy cow, if I'm gonna keep doing it this way, I'm gonna have I'm, I don't know if at the time my girlfriend, which ended up being my wife now, and is gonna stay with me cuz I'm spending every money, all the money I have on food plots. Yeah. And And I specifically remember one year I was doing like five or six acres that spring and the [00:19:00] bill was gonna be over $2,000 in just potassium and phosphorus.

And I thought, oh my gosh, there's gotta be another way. So I started making my own mixes and. Was really focused heavily in the fall. I was up to 16 different varieties, which is essentially what we call our carbon load. But then I really started to get more and more interested in, okay, on these large, my larger fields especially what can I do to further optimize?

You know what I call, nutrient cycling. I reference that a lot with, but basically as my fall crops breaking down the next spring, it's dying. The rye and the trica and such. What's gonna be the best things I can plant into that's going to help that to further break down, further feed deer further, feed, pollinators, add, cover, right?

Feed the soil biology but also keep the nutrient. From leeching out and I tried a bunch of different things on my own before ever starting the [00:20:00] company, and then obviously as we started the company, We've just tweaked things over the last year. So this year I'll just run through what we have in our, what we call our nitro boost, which is our spring planting.

We have spring barley, we have forge peas, we have a egg soybean, we have Eagle forge soybeans. Obviously for deer brows ability. We have cow peas, we have sun hemp, and. We added lab American joint vets, sunflowers hybrid sorghum, crimson clover, and then a forage rape. So as you can see, or as you can hear, in that there's a lot of legumes and that's intentional.

Because we have a play for people who I'm sure John, you caught onto it, but for people who are listening, as we spoke in the last podcast, carbon and Nitrogen Ratios that's a play on words for us with Nitro boost and Carbon Load, we're having a play on words of that focus of carbon to nitrogen.

Obviously Nitro Boost being heavily focused in, in n to help break down. Previous carbon load from the fall. So [00:21:00] the nitro boosto people are if it's, you want nitrogen, right? You have all these legumes, they're gonna fix nitrogen. Nitrogen, excuse me, they're gonna be lower carbon to nitrogen crops.

Why? Why didn't you come up? Why didn't you just plant, monoculture soybeans? The reason is because of what we just talked about. You mentioned having the ground covered. If I just planted soybeans and then ran the drill through there in the fall with rye and oats and my turnips and my radishes and such that soybean straw or thatch, if you will, would break down far too rapidly.

And I would have bare ground, and then I'd have little rows, from the drill at seven and a half inches of new crop. But there would be no, no thatch cover. So you have to have this balance. That's why we have sorghum in there. We have spring barley, right? So there's this balance.

We also have sun hampers a legume, but it tends to actually have a higher carbon than nitrogen ratio than with sunflowers. I share that because there, there is a method to the madness. Another thing [00:22:00] is when you terminate, be it a roller crimper, be it herbicide, be it mowing your fall carbon load, all of that is starting to break down.

Now you've got your nitro boost growing up as that carbon load that is slowly breaking down, right? Slow release fertilizer. But you have all these legumes that are growing and they don't need an exorbitant amount of. But all that sorg gum, or excuse me, all that rye grain and Turnups and all these other carbon, heavier carbon-based products use the ton of the nitrogen that was in your soil profile to grow.

Those plants work their tails off, and now they're breaking down. The next spring as the nitro boost is growing and it's wouldn't it be a shame for that nitrogen to just go away? Nitrogen's gonna go through the cycle. We wanna capture that. That's why you have your sunflowers and you have your hybrid sorghums and you have your forage [00:23:00] rpe and you have your spring barley, right?

I use nitrogen just cuz I think it's the easiest to talk about, but I call it I like to often refer to it as keeping nitrogen in the. So now we're basically recycling that through a variety of methods as we're pulling more nitrogen out of the air. We have sunflower, deep tap roots. Of course, forge rape, good tap roots, your high hybrid.

So sorghum. Excuse me, has great roots. You have your buck wheat that is known to help solubility of phosphorus, et cetera. So you have all of these plants working in synergy that are of course going to help to solubilize other nutrients within the profile. And then going right into your fall mix that as these breakdown and because there are a lot of legum that are gonna break down faster and they fixed nitrogen from atmospheric nitrogen all summer long.

For us, you're gonna have a ton of. P and K ready to rock and roll for your fall crop. Quite important for a lot of guys who like to chase those whitetailed deer that we like to talk about, right? Because [00:24:00] that's the, that's the quote unquote money crop for hunters is that fall crop.

And we're using this mix to help keep nitrogen in the cycle, fix a whole bunch of nitrogen and solubilize other nutrients to help produce your need for. Synthetic inputs in that fall or quote unquote money crop for us hunters. Does that make sense? It does. El the nitro boost, the spring load, I'll just call it nitro boost.

Yep. That particular maturity period based upon the volume of plants, which is a consideration be by your next sequencing, cuz we're talking about sequencings or cycles. What is the typical, based upon the volume what is your typical. Based on your plant allocation, your peak. Yeah. What would be your maturity period for that particular crop?

So what they know what their cycling is. On another podcast I talked about double cropping, which is another term, but it's a term I use for, you've gotta cycle this spring crop twice, or summer crop twice essentially, in order to make it to that fall period. So you can plant timely. What is the typical maturity period?

Yeah. [00:25:00] 99% of the mix is gonna be mature at around 80 days. A couple things a slight, slightly before that, but right around 80 days. The 1% of the mix that isn't would be the sunflowers. Sunflowers just. Inherently, or longer growers they're probably closer to ninth days. Yeah, a hundred days to a hundred days.

But again, you'll have sunflowers produced, if the deer don't eat you outta the house and home you'll have sunflowers. And I always tell people we're not. Looking to run a combine through there to harvest sunflowers. You're gonna get plenty of good root mass growth and above above ground growth from those sunflowers in that 80 day window.

So for me, I like the plant. You can let it grow further longer, of course, but I mean that, that's really when things are gonna start to slow down is right after that, that 80 ish day window. Have you talked. I guess maybe just thinking about production, have you taken measurements just drive as measurements just based upon, the [00:26:00] crop that we're just talking about to get the tonnage per acre, roughly.

Just to just on your soils, have you done any measurements like that? I did. I did and last year I took a couple tissue analysis actually of our Nitro Boost and. We were really excited about the results because we took 'em not we took 'em at random in two different fields.

And what we were excited about is that neither one of these fields had fertilizer ever, at least in, in the 15 years that I've owned the farm. And they averaged pounds per acre in a, and this is just above ground biomass that was assimilated was 49 pounds of nitrogen 20 pounds of phosphorus and 80 pounds of potassium.

And then of course there's a bunch of micros and calcium, magnesium, et cetera. But that was just in a three by three square. So we followed Ward labs cover crop. And then sent that in for they dry it out and then send you back the results. But we did two, two fields that way. [00:27:00] And both of those results were like within a pound of each other.

And what we have told people is like, That was just the above ground biomass. And like you mentioned John, it's gosh, right now I wanna know what was the root structure like, what was that like under, under our feet? What about the microbial biomass? As though that, that alone is super interesting to me.

And then, from a nitrogen perspective, that doesn't take into account any of the nitrogen that's affixed to the roots. This is just nitrogen that was in the plant that of course is getting terminated through roller crimping or herbicide or mowing depending on the grower, but is getting put right back into the soil.

So we were really, we thought that was a really cool test and I plan to do quite a bit more of that. Yeah, I think it's important to think about, the plant classifications, the variety that you're talking about. You're talking about, nutrient uptake and then what's available in the plants, the production biomass.

I'm putting my spring mix together right now just so everyone knows, probably wanna know what [00:28:00] I plant, I'm gonna do cowpeas. And let's see, oats and lab. Lab. I'll do a white mustard and I will do a sunflower. That'll be my combination. And that's gonna be about, oh, I'll say probably a 65 to 75 day crop when I'll terminate it.

So I'm thinking about the cycling of that, and I'm getting back into my annual, so every five years. I cycle. So I aerate the soil, I till the soil, I'm bad, and I recycle. And that's when I apply natural amendments. These are, less soluble amendments, and so everyone has their own process.

The thing I'm most interested in is you really figured out something that has taken me a long time to figure out is that lagoon component and having that as a staple in those spring summer crops. I did not figure that out for a long. And even [00:29:00] m perennials, not annuals in those mixes. Or biannuals, what have you, if you're gonna plant red clover as an example.

Yeah. And thinking more in depthly about these as options and again, maintaining that substance for the deer contextually, I think it provides a benefit. And again, minimizing that bear soil time and what, and any capacity and like you talked about, the breakdown, reducing the, that at a rate that compliments the plant growth that's coming up next sequential.

There's quite a bit to think about here and it's just, this is not a simple minded kind of conversation. I'm interested in talking about your carbon load next. You've alluded to what's in there, but I want you to explain what's in there and the benefit to Deere. Yeah, and you honestly hit on one of my biggest.

Pet peeves is and I think one of the biggest detriments to, you started the conversation off with sandy soils, and I think one of the biggest detriments to why people give up on the no-till process is understanding. And this is not no blame to the [00:30:00] grower, but just it's us as an industry.

Maybe we've gotten to this point where we'll throw out really large amounts of things because it greens up quickly. For example, rye grain, right? With no understood understanding of how nutrient. Cycle thereafter. So that what happens is somebody says I just plant 200 pounds of rye every, every fall.

And then after five years, they go, man, I just had this mat of rye. I didn't know what to do with it. It's like, all of course, and I can't tell you, John, how many times I've seen that and to the point where sometimes people, I've had the phone call where somebody's nervous about, oh, I noticed that you have you call it carbon load.

I, I don't, really don't want to till too much, but every time I've planted something like this and I'm like, okay, let's stop right there. What ratios are being used? What have you been planting that's causing this concern? And a common example I use for people is like, There's a reason most farm, not all, but most farmers don't go corn on corn on [00:31:00] right there.

There's a reason for that because eventually they would just have so many corn stalks. They wouldn't have anything to do or they do that they have to use. Pretty deep tillage and things like that to reset that and help to break down sometimes fall nitrogen applications things of that nature.

So what we wanted to do is we wanted to simplify these things and give you all of the things that are attractive to deer, but still optimizing that nutrient cycling so that you're not just, building up thatch is good. We want that to be covering the soil, but we also want that, that should be breaking down to feed the next.

As we're still adding a new fresh layer of fetch. So in our fall crop we have trica wheat we have winter peas, winter rye oats. We do have a little bit of buckwheat in there. Not a lot because buckwheat's not overly it's very frost sensitive. Sorry, just my brain locked up there for a second.

It's really sensitive to frost and but the reason honestly, I put Bo weed in there is more so just for my love of other things other than [00:32:00] just deer and one it grows quickly and it can get browsed first while it gives you other plants. Yep. And opportunity. The other thing, Any type of little flower that it can produce is really good for pollinators late in the year.

And I don't know anything really about that, but I talked to this person who was really big in honeybees and they're like, oh yeah, fall planted buckwheat's actually really great cuz they're starting to lose a lot of the things that they need and for pollinator sources and that can really help pollinators.

So I'm like, you know what? It's a great crop. Let's throw it in there too. And that's a neat thing. Harry Vetch Harry Vetch, I just love for, mostly for the next year, I think it does well. Crimson Clover, medium Red clover radish forage, turnips. Wind, Fred Forge, Nebraska's, which of course is not much of a ball producer, but it's more just a forge Nebraska fixation, lanza clover.

We also used purple top turnips bark nat turnips and frosty besim clover. That's the ballpark. That's last year. Making a couple changes. To it, we will be having chicory in it this [00:33:00] fall. I'd used that in the past and I don't know why I had not had it in there last year. So there's gonna be a couple little changes to it this year.

But in general, that's the mix. We really keep our grains, relative to everything else in the mix. We don't overdo the grains and we don't over, we don't recommend just continually overeating with grains after it's planted either. The only time we do recommend that John is. If the, I have one field, I did a video on it last year, but it's like a 10th of an acre.

It's just this little itty bitty field and it's on this ridgetop, and then it actually drops down into a larger field. But because of access and things that you can get on off the road it's quite a good little hunting field with the right wind, and I love planting it. But it's a 10th of an acre.

So like the deer, I run the, because I have the drill on the tractor. Anyways I drill through there and it's great. But normally I go back three weeks later and that field's eight down pretty good. So I will oversea a little bit on that [00:34:00] particular field, on my larger fields if I get there and I see all the varieties going and I look inside the exclusion fence, and of course I can tell there's some browse pressure, but not enough for me to be concern.

I don't go in, I trust the process and I trust the plants to do what they're gonna do. I let 'em, I let 'em grow. I think that's one of the keys is we don't have to just keep throwing Ry, Ry to it for example, or oats or whatever. Just to fill in the gap, let the plants do their thing and let those breasts cuz have that room that they're gonna need, and so hopefully we take the guesswork out of that for the grower. I have two questions for Al. The first question, please, is in the grain side of things, based on that blend, would you say is your per percentage of grain would be based on the seed blend there? Approximate? Yeah. Yeah. You're gonna only be between probably 50 to 55%.

Okay. I don't want to go higher than that. Okay. And we're keeping it by the way that we recommend on that at 45 pounds to the acre. Obviously if you're broadcasting, you can go a little bit. You can get up there to [00:35:00] 60. But we don't go higher than that. Which I think is really important because it would be really easy for me to make my blend 70% oats or 80% oats, or 85% oats, and a little bit of, peas or something else that's a relatively inexpensive crop.

And then just have, 1% of everything else or whatever is left. I just, I wouldn't plant that on my own farm, so I'm not gonna sell that. So I, I think that's what's really important to me is like that balance. And I'm very proud of saying that we're, right around 50, 55% grains compared to some of the other stuff that's on the market.

No, I think that's great. And actually thinks that's probably more valued by your customer base. They'll see the value in that because those other seeds are likely more expensive for that matter. So the other thing you brought, Quick concept of just plant architecture and think about the profile of the plant.

And you talked about, volume of seed, per acre and thinking about, seeds per acre and trying to figure out the approximation of that. When you're coming up with your own blends, obviously [00:36:00] this is already established. And thinking about those plants specifically like. I just think of generally you think about upright plants that, I don't know, like a RT grass, which we just made fun of or I'm controversial on that topic, but we'll just say like a wheat as a good example.

An annual producer that. That basically has a profile, right? It's upright. What's the spacing? It needs to be productive. And you've got something like tree foil, which is another example, that may spread a little bit, right? It has a tendency to spread, that they say it prostates, and then you got, your upright spreading plants kinda like your brassicas or your cows, and you're just thinking.

Above ground, what space that plant takes up as it photosynthesizes and grows and that's critical kind of to your development of how you select these plants and think about how they either synergize work against each other. The space allocation, the seed blend that you came up with is that like a throne grow?

Can I throw it into the, the plants that were beforehand [00:37:00] and either, like you said, FLA mower or rotary mower or crimp or whatever, or herbicide. Is it, does it work in that manner? It sure does. I would say the hardest plant, and I, you could have guessed this, but I'll say it just for talking purposes is the piece, excuse me, obvi, just because of side size, if you have any type of turkeys or crows or anything like that any significant population, you, you do risk predation.

But if you can mow over it or roll or crimp over it Risk is highly mitigated on those peas. I had one field last year. It was an absolute mess, but I it was end of my free time, right? Had to get home to the wife and baby and I, it's was rain, pouring rain. I'm like don't have time to get the bush hog out.

Obviously herbicide's not an option. It's pouring grade out. What do I have to do? Last field. I had left the plant that day and and my buddy was actually drilling in another field, which we just planned to drill [00:38:00] and drive off. We weren't even mowing or anything. We just drilled right through the Nitro Boost and.

Went home. So he's on the tractor, so I'm like, what am I gonna, I got one acre left or something like that to do Travis. I just took a bag spreader and probably went like a 20% increase on the rate of the carbon load. Yep. And I just broadcast right into the standing Nitro boost. Now at that time there were still soybeans in there and things.

It was a mess of food, but I'll tell you what I mean, I had, I got a picture tonight on my cell camera that's there cause I run 'em all year cause I'm a nut. But I had three or four deer in there eating. Now the migraines still growing in there. And it grew phenomenally. It was a mess.

He had sorghum stocks dead and stuff growing all over, but he grew absolutely phenomenally. It does work very well. And obviously as you can mow or crimp or if you wanna spray whatever the grower wants to do, those are all gonna help your odds to further get that established if you are gonna just do the broadcast method.

[00:39:00] Yeah, really cool and nice story there. It's interesting the timing of rain and thinking about, the moisture levels on your soil. Before you just, spread seed on the ground, that's another consideration. Maybe you're looking at soil temperature as much as you are the moisture, get a probe out.

So think about these things a little more involved, Lee. All right I think that was a quite a bit of information and good examples Al. And I think we've been on this a bit. I want to ask you a final question. So you've got clients obviously purchasing your seed and they can contact, your business and send it out.

But if you were Joe Blow and you were gonna go to this store, your local ag store, and you're gonna build a seed blend for the spring, and you weren't interested in buying seed from Soel, you're trying to figure this out. What would be the most simple strategy? You're you're, again, we talked about diagnosing the soil and all the strategy, along those lines, but what would be a seed blend that you would think would be productive for most folks out [00:40:00] there?

Because people want a simple answer. Wow, that's a great question. I would say try to include, Multiple different plant groups, right? So get a legum, get a grass species or a grain species. Be it a high a sorghum or a, an oat, a spring oat or spring barley or something, try to get one of those.

I'm somebody who still likes, like we use rape in our mix. I think it's okay to use Nebraska. A lot of people might say it's gonna bolt in the spring. You're still gonna get benefits from the root structure and oh, and then a broad leaf, right? That would be where I would start.

The next thing is, as you're looking at these things and considering whether you're making it on your own or using a mix like ours, I tell people I'd rather have you in the first year go a lot lighter on your. Because it's tough, right? Like you don't, it's your first time, maybe your first time using a bag spur, maybe first time on this particular field.

In 90% of situations, you're [00:41:00] better to go lighter on seed than it is to go too heavy. Because if you go too heavy, then you start to go I noticed these plants look purple. Or I noticed these plants don't look healthy. And then you're questioning, is it a soil? Is it a, is it an EBIT node issue?

Is it a you know what, or is it simply just plant density issue? So I think it's much better to go lighter. So I'd say if you go to your co-op or your local seed dealer, don't put down an acre awry in an acre of turnips and an acre and a radish all on that, that one field, right?

You have to understand, okay, what do you want to dominate? As far as, your mix goes and then try to calculate thereafter, okay, how many pounds do I need? And a lot of places aren't gonna sell you a small quantity, so you're gonna have to buy a larger quantity which is okay, in some cases.

But then you have to keep in mind like storage and stuff of that. Don't let it just sit on the cold floor of your garage or maybe water and stuff gets in there try to store it in a cool, dry [00:42:00] place. So those are things that I would keep in mind, but definitely. Try to in, I guess the last thing I'd say, cuz I could ramble on this one for a while, and I don't want to, but is try to align on your goals too.

If you're doing something in the spring what are your goals? Do you wanna feed deer? Do you wanna feed, do you just want something to grow there for your next crop? Are you just, what are your grows goals there? Is it sole. Soil focused. And then of course that can help you pick some of your species as well.

But I think if you try to get at least one plant species from each group that we talked about there, and then don't overdo the seeding rates and, play around with some different mixes, it's gonna take you a few years. You're gonna wanna play around with different rates and things until you kind of fine tune it for yourself.

But it absolutely can be done. And. And yeah, just like I, a quick analogy I'll give you, I talked to somebody today and I said there's a good chance I could figure out how to make a good birthday cake, but then every time it's somebody's birthday, it's probably gonna take a L [00:43:00] taste a little bit different, and I'm gonna be trying to fine tune it.

And after a while it's just, it's more convenient for me to just go to a local grocery store and buy a birthday cake for dad's birthday, because it's consistent and it's the same thing every time. It's the same idea with a lot of times when you're buying seed, if you wanna buy it, if you're gonna do it yourself, be okay with it.

It's just like cooking. There's gonna be slight variations or variability every time you make that favorite dish of yours, it's gonna be the same idea. So be okay with that little bit of variability. Yeah, I think that's good to end on that because I think the style that we talked about your example earlier with the rain, thinking about these varieties, they're gonna look different on an annual basis.

We're feeding the VI biology right. These plants that are living and dying are feeding the biology. That's the most critical part of it. That's the, it ends up being the food source for a lot of the invertebrae and vertebraes and invertebrae for that matter. So considering that, and thinking about the benefit, these bi biotic aspects that we're developing.

Are really [00:44:00] important on the landscape. I'm gonna throw out my 60 day mix. I've done this on multiple podcasts. This is what I typically plant or recommend to a lot of clients. It's really simple. It's got a grass spring, oats love, spring oats, you think about the maturity rate of that plant Legum Forge, p and you get a combination of op combo.

I like to kind of balance and use, a certain variety and a certain. And then a broad leaf like a buckwheat, and thinking about those kind of in a blend. Typically, if I'm just broadcasting and I'm using herbicide to burn down, I'm gonna do about 30 pounds of oats, 15 pounds of forged peas, and about 25 pounds of buckwheat.

So that kind of gives you a rough example of. What I do, write that down. You could add some red clover into there. Cuz we've talked about the importance of clover in a example like that. I like those forged peas and I gave you an example what I'm doing this season, on my soil and I'm getting back into those annual cycles.

I talked about my five year term, how I rotate, how I add [00:45:00] amendments. So it gives you some examples there and things to consider, play around with the varieties. Think about the ADF aspect of it, the NDF aspect I talked about earlier. And then think more specifically about your goals, like Al had commented on and think about what we're trying to feed.

If we're gonna try to create cover, there's another reason how we're gonna create spacing on the Turkey habitat. One that we did recently, we talked about brooding cover and thinking about having some maybe naturalized areas, across the landscape where you do have some, Polk Wheated as an example.

You're thinking about, golden Rod. You're thinking about some of those plants that create a form of cover in food, right? Areas fa, Cecilia, flax, we're thinking about, some of those plants that are staples that could be, highly valued even in these food plot settings.

And they could be perennials as well. That example I gave earlier, where I learned, oh goodness, I need to have perennials in my annual food plot. And again, that was a new eureka movement for me. All right, Al, I gave my last little point to everybody summarize anything else from your end?

Only thing I will say [00:46:00] is one, again, thanks for having me on. Two is I almost don't like the talk on podcast too much about my own seed company cuz I, I just like helping people and I always tell guys, even if you're, if you wanna do something on your own or you just wanna a, you have a question about a soil test and stuff.

I started this company not because I needed to start a seed company because I'm passionate about it and I like working with people, and I like talking to growers. Be it a somebody who's growing a flower, growing cover crops for a flower farm, or a guy who's trying to shoot the biggest buck of his life or whatever it, everything in between.

So you're a question, whether you're a customer now or you might be in the future, or you're not, shoot me an email, you have a question on soil test. I'm happy to look over it with you. Happy to give you my 2 cent. Because I just really enjoy doing that and I appreciate your time, John, and everybody who listened.

Yeah, no, thank you. I appreciate that. And I'm happy to promote your product. I think it's a great thing and and I think that people should think differently and that's the whole intention behind this. So I appreciate you al, appreciate your [00:47:00] product and go follow Vitalize seed on Facebook.

Buy their product, give it a shot, see what you think, and start thinking differently about your food plots. All right, man, we'll talk soon. Thanks. Thanks John. See ya. Maximize your hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail