Ohio Farm Tours

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
I had a similar crop to yours above ... beans, sorghum, millet, clover. I had not considered terminating as I wanted some tal cover. As this is just an observation, it appeared the beans did not see the high browsing pressure they normally see. I just overseeded brassicas, clover, turnips, & hairy vetch into this.

Any benefit to terminating while green versus mowing after frost kills these plants?

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First off the beautiful plot. I also believe that due to the diversity, the beans have a heck of a lot better chance. We have a customer in WV (VERY HIGH DPSM), he has planted 40 acres of beans for years and got them wiped clean. He is so happy with our diverse mixes, he has shared us with all his neighbors due to the browse resistance of a diverse mix! I think it is so AWESOME!! Great job on yours!!

Second part - absolutely not. I have fields where I just can't get the tractor and drill into - I just broadcast those and let nature run its course. Some I sprayed off, some I just let the natural plant succession occur and the fall-winter annuals take their place, in time.

So many great ways to skin the cat, as long as the knife is sharp - just enjoy the process and journey!
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
Really proud of this, working hard to be able to give something back is really really really humbling. Thanks to all who have supported myself and company this year.

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Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
Soil Health Friday – Defining Soils?

In the past, I would often refer to soil as “poor” or “great”. However, as I have been reflecting on this more, I am not sure if that is fair to put that label on the medium in which we work to grow our crops, specifically with such a broad stroke with undefined parameters. My current feeling is it is far too qualitative of measurement and not nearly quantitated enough to allow us to determine our actual potential.

If our goal is to reduce inputs, as much as possible, without reducing output or yields, then we must prioritize our soils as a biological system, first and foremost. This is often a counter-intuitive approach, as we have been trained to focus on soil type (sandy, load, etc.) organic matter percentages, Ph, and possibly some techniques or fertilizer recommendations that “work for this type of soil”.

However, neither organic matter nor soil type are solely indicative of our soil's potential and surely are not uniquely correlated to our ability to cycle nutrients and/or increase our biological communication and activity in our soils.
When we continue to allow ourselves to use the term poor soil, we continue to alienate darn near everyone. Even if this a utopian soil type was common, it can also become easily degraded if the soil health principles are now followed.

This in and of itself is why the 6th soil health principles were created and are so valuable.
· Know Your Context.
· Cover the Soil.
· Minimize Soil Disturbance.
· Increase Diversity.
· Maintain Continuous Living Plants/Roots.
· Integrate Livestock.

By following these principles, we are not worrying about if our soil is poor or not, we are focusing on the efficiency and functionality of our soils. As I have stated in other blogs, we must be extremely cognizant of nutrient cycling if we want to truly reduce our input costs, and maximize biological efficiency. That is why at Vitalize Seed, I often say “we are not a seed company, we are a nutrient cycling company”, we put our effort into a Spring mix that preps ground for Fall and a Fall mix that preps ground for Spring, further driving symbiotic relationships with the microbiome’s communications.
To dive into this further, if you have low CEC soils and struggle to grow brassica, grains, and other higher N scavenging crops – it is not a surprise, you simply don’t have enough N in the system. This will be heavily apparent in year one. This is why when focusing on Spring plantings that feed the soil for a Fall planting, you can achieve far better results over time. This is the entire premise behind our 1-2 system. If you are using cover crops for your Farm to prep for a Spring planting, this is where understanding C: N cycles and nutrient cycling can help you to reduce input needs – what is available now, and what will be soon, what is needed to speed up residue breakdown, etc. – these are the questions we can help you answer.

Similarly, to the importance of biology, we also want to focus on soil structure. Those with very high CEC soils will often say “I have poor soil, that is why I must turn it” and those with low CEC soils say “I have poor soils, they are just too light to hold nutrients”.

Both of these are 100% a challenge, and biology will help (creation of glomalin from fungal network establishment, for example) but so will balancing our base saturations of CA, MG, and K.
In lighter soil we want a higher MG level to help hold the soil structure tighter. In heavier soils, we almost always see inadequate CA, and we need to add this to help our soil's porosity.

All in all, “great” soils can function poorly and “poor” soils can function greatly. We need to stick to a plan for a few years, implement the 6 soil health principles to the best of our ability, manage deer browse (in food plot situations), and focus on PH/base saturations. If you do this, and use good quality seed blends to feed each other, and the soil's microbiome, you will without a doubt find success be it a farm field to a food plot.

PS – For context, the world record bu/acre of corn is grown outside of the Midwest and is grown on sub-7 CEC soils. I suspect that gentleman doesn’t define his soil as poor.

Thank you for considering Vitalize Seed as your seed source.
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
For anyone who is interested, I have added all of our blogs to the website, so you can go back and find them easily.

 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
Soil Health Friday – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

When speaking about soils and sharing how they function, it is always amazing how the conversation will take one of two directions.

The first is full of optimism and excitement, wanting to learn more and more about nutrient cycling and soil development.

The second is typically more pessimistic, often followed by an attempt to dilute the importance and significance of understanding the science behind soil health.

Obviously, with the first bullet, I couldn’t enjoy those dialogs more. I have had many wonderful discussions with customers and non about how they can make a change on their property. Not only to offer higher quality food but also to reduce their input costs through sound soil management practices.

The latter in the list is more concerning. Not because it’s taking a shot at me or Vitalize Seed (that’s unavoidable) but more so the fact that we as hunters and outdoorsmen will dilute the importance of learning!

My opinion is that soil health is extremely important. Just as I think timber stand improvement is critical, whitetail anatomy, etc. I believe we as hunters and conservationists must continue to educate ourselves in all aspects of property management, and yes – some of this information will be different than what we once thought to be true. Now, I realize we can’t devote the same level of energy to every topic, but let’s use each other as a resource to continue to learn.

I am a firm believer in leaving my farm far better than I found it. From timber to earthworms, I want the soil and animals symbiotically working together.

When I am gone, no one will care about my rifles or bow except maybe my family and even that is for a finite period.

However, that soil and timber will live on. It will live on for generations. Someday many moons from now, someone will sink a shovel into that soil and wonder “what was here before for it to be so rich in color” only to then walk over and take a break under a majestic white oak in well-managed and harvested Appalachian Forest.

So, to me when people say - why does it matter? It matters because conservation matters. Learning matters. Leaving it better than we found it matters. Reducing our inputs and growing better quality food matters!

Whether you use Vitalize Seed or another company. I hope you consider why managing soil health matters on your farm.

Thank you for considering us as your seed source.

Sincerely -

Albert
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
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This planting method (drill and drive away) has been a great test this year. We have amazing Carbon Load fall crops coming up and we are still taking advantage of the N-fixing of Nitro Boost. The deer have tons of food here and cover!!
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
I know my soil health Friday posts get very long, and sometimes lose folks. Jared was nice enough to have me on to go over some of the tissue testing and what it means from a fertility management perspective. I hope you enjoy it!

 

MN Slick

5 year old buck +
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This planting method (drill and drive away) has been a great test this year. We have amazing Carbon Load fall crops coming up and we are still taking advantage of the N-fixing of Nitro Boost. The deer have tons of food here and cover!!

Nice! The warms season crops don't hamper germ and growth of the Carbon Load?
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
Nice! The warms season crops don't hamper germ and growth of the Carbon Load?

So I can't post videos here unless I upload them to youtube - maybe I can! However, when running the drill, you get a reasonably good kill-off - I have videos showing the thatch/cover and the sorghum stalks breaking down rapidly. This opens up the area/room for the carbon load to take off.

In the other field, I did a broadcast into nitro boost right before rain and it is doing FANTASTIC! There are some weeds but overall the plot looks great.

One thing to keep in mind is that once these cold nights start to hit - the warm season annuals will soon die off, allowing the cold season annuals to explode further.
 

Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
2021 buck is home!
5.5 year old with 2 years of history - absolutely a blessing! Can’t wait to hang him on the wall!

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Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
Final resting place!
2020 and 2021
 

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Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
We talk a lot about deer plots - but something we are also really passionate about is cover crop science.

Here is a cover crop I have between blueberries- now many would think this crop wouldn’t do well in low PH soils, yet because of the diversity and some timely rains, we have fantastic growth.

This cover crop will help feed soil, feed plants, increase water infiltration and cut back on inputs.
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Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
A few updates on a new farm we are working to make a super spot. This was first year planting it and it had a TON of carbon load on soil surface. Because of this we trickle applied liquid N to help cycle the carbon this first year. We also seeded twice and increased total seeding rate per acre by about 50%. As you can see the results are fantastic. 3 acres of food - all no till. This field will only continue to become better, over time.

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Buckhunter10

5 year old buck +
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No till carbon load into herbicide burned off nitro boost.

Although ultimately we want to eliminate our need for herbicide - this is a very successful planting method and maximizes food offering. Because we are no tilling, we continue to have thatch. We have our super diverse mix feeding the soil through root exudation and nutrient cycling. Lastly - we have some awesome food for bucks, does and fawns. Great nutrition and attraction!!
 
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