Bruce: Hey, folks, welcome back to Whitetail Rendezvous, the special edition with Rackology. We’re heading up to Eric and Jason’s shop up there in Loup City, Nebraska and this is the final segment of food plots. And we’re going to talk about planting 365, and that kind of encompasses everything we talked about with these guys this week. And, you know, we started off with the land management and looking at the land, getting hard eyes on it, you know, fresh set of glasses, however you want to call it, and then figuring out where we’re going to do things. And then we talked about the food plots and seed, what they are, what they’re not, and what they can’t do now. You know, we’re going to wrap it all up into a 365-day planting and growing session, if you will.
So, guys, let’s bring forth some knowledge and share. And in the break we just had we just talked about does are stressed. And I threw in my two cents. You know, the doe is bred in November, November 10th, she goes through December, January, February, March. Then she’s, you know, sometime in the springtime she’s going to, you know, have the fawn. And the better you can help them carry that fawn, the better deer herd you have. And that’s what this is all about, is helping deer become healthy deer, liking your place to live on, and living there 365.
So, guys, take it away.
Eric: Right. Well, you hit it right on the head. I mean the first key in planting a year-round program, whether it be feeding or food plots, when we talked about the land management, we kind of go year over year. We don’t just do this year and we’re done and we’ll see you next year and we’ll just start a new game plan. Knowing the life cycle of what you’re hunting or what you want out there is very important.
I mean Jason has taught me so much being, I mean, with his knowledge of not only biology but and specific with deer herd development and deer herd health. I’ve learned, I mean, by just soaking in like a sponge next to him hearing him talk to people and just asking questions. And knowing…of anybody, knowing…and he knows really well that life cycle of a doe, the life cycle of a buck, and where you’re going to be able to take the stress off of those animals. And like we were talking before, if there’s more of a visual key to understand and see, you know, the stresses that these wild animals go through on a given year. Because every year is not the same, on a dry year versus a wet year versus a cold winter year where you’ve got 20 snowfalls and 40 inches of snow. Those deer are out there, they don’t get to go inside and relax and refresh and regroup for the next day like we do.
But knowing that life cycle of the animal is huge when it comes to planting 365 year-round stuff. And, you know, a lot of people will see deer out there and not know how much stress that they’ve got on them and they might just say, “Oh, they’re eating out there, look at all of them out there. They’re just walking around and enjoying themselves and they’re fine. You know, I don’t need to do anything.” Well, looking at trail camera pictures from closer than 50 to 100 yards you’re going to start picking up, like Jason just showed me, some things to key in on on, “Okay, is that doe, you know, is she”… I mean she’s got…
You know, what we don’t know about the deer, I mean there’s a lot of times they have twins and triplets and that’s a lot of stress and vitamin and mineral and protein that that doe has got to do to get to that fawn, whether it be a fawn that’s a doe or a fawn that’s a buck. And if you want them bucks to develop and to be their genetic potential, they need to hit the ground running and they need to be efficient.
So a lot of times with food plots, the ones you have on your land and water, areas that they could go in and drink on a daily basis. And then also the feed side of it, that’s important, to know what’s out there naturally and what you could supplement them with. So I guess that’s a key, a huge part of…
And I guess…and going into planning, like my grandpa always said, like everybody’s grandpa said, I think, you know, “Measure twice and cut once,” or, you know, “You need to have a good młotek and ołówek and a good ‘garachky.'” And so when I ask them I said, “Well, what’s a młotek?,” “Well, that’s a hammer.” “What’s an ołówek?,” “Well, that’s a pencil.”
Eric: Polish, it’s Polish for that. And I said, “Well, what’s a ‘garachky’?” He goes, “Well, that’s what you open the garage with.” And I said, “Oh, okay, now I know.” But the planting is…you know, you got one time do it. Just like I tell the farmers around here, they want to plant too earlier, they want to plant corn too earlier, they’re looking at a calendar. When it comes to planting, I wish…you know, when it comes to planting seeds in the ground, that we could throw the calendar away. We need to know where our soil temperatures are and… Because you only have one time to do it. And if you do it a second time, it gets more expensive and less productive. You do it a third time and it’s probably not going to be productive at all and it’s going to be a lot more expensive.
So you have one time to make this food plot shine, so do your homework or call us and say, you know, “When should I plant this?” “Okay, where’s your soil temperature?” “Well, I don’t know.” Well, you can go get a thermometer at Walmart for a dollar, just a ground thermometer, you could stick it in the ground at, where you’re going to plant that, so an inch to two inches and know exactly. Give it five minutes, read it. They make digital ones. You know, so it’s something real simple that will really help you. If you till the ground, measure your soil temperature after you till it and don’t do it before you till it because it’s going to warm it up when the sunlight hits it.
So there’s a lot of things that go into planting and…
Jason: What soil temperature are we looking at?
Eric: Soil temperature, what you want for food plots normally, unless you’re frost seeding or doing something that there’s some species that you could plant in the middle of winter and they’re fine, they’re viable until the temperature reaches like 50 degrees, and then they start growing. Not all plants can do that. Normally you want, you know, 55-degree temperature on your ground. You know, 50, 55, with a good 10-day forecast. You don’t want to sit there and go into soil, “Oh, it’s 50 degrees,” and then you plant and you look at the 10-day forecast and they’re calling for snow or calling for cold, wet rain. You’re going drive that soil temperature right back down pretty quickly. It takes a lot less time to cool the soil off than it does to raise the temperature. You usually want that about 55 degrees and a good 10-day forecast to start planting.
Then, like I said, a lot of people just pick a date on the calendar like, “Well, I’m just going to go and plant my food plot April 15th.” April 15th I’ve seen snow that’s a foot and half on the ground. So every year is different and I’ve seen Aprils where it’s been 80 degrees the 15th and perfect condition. So you just want to really time it right and don’t feel like you’re going to get rushed in, “Well, I only got this weekend to do it.” You know, it might be worth it to try to really bust your butt and try to…if it’s going to be the following weekend that’s going to be the better scenario to go into, do it that following weekend. You know, do what you can to do that.
Jason: You know, for me, kind of getting back to, you know, what you kind of started talking about with the does, you know, and the bucks, is you’re trying to grow really healthy deer. You really can’t think about, “What am I going to feed them in this small time frame?” I mean it does, it goes into not only planting 365, but planning 365. And that boils down to, you know, let’s say the rut, for example. I’ve seen this just in the last however…you know, how many years game camera pictures of watching the deer, you know, that have been using our Rackology products. And one thing I can say is if the deer are getting the proper nutrition, so if the bucks and does are really heathy when they’re breeding, you know, so the sperm and the egg is at its prime, you know, it’s the best nutrients that they can get.
You know, if the sperm and the egg are the healthiest possible when conception takes place, that fawn is going to be much better off, genetics are going to be maximized that much more. Versus the fawn that maybe Mom and Dad didn’t have a really good start, they didn’t have the proper nutrition. So we have the same sperm and egg, but, you know, in a weaker capacity because of the lack of nutrition. We could birth those at the same date, you know, theoretically if we could do this. You know, this fawn that was conceived with proper nutrition is going to be so much better off, obviously, than the fawn that wasn’t.
I mean we see this in humans. I mean as a teacher I see this with the different students when we talk about students that have got learning disabilities, students that are, you know, all gamuts. And sadly enough a lot of times it goes down to what did their parents do, you know, what were their parents doing before they were conceived. A lot of that goes into the health of the child. Deer are no different. You know, if they got proper nutrition before the rut and throughout the rut and after the rut, it’s just a no-brainer, you’re going to have healthier deer.
And so, you know, with planting these food plots, if you do it right and, you know, and can do the proper amount that, you know, you can do, whether it’s the amount of acres that’s an inhibiting factor for you or it’s, you know, the dollar amount that’s the inhibiting factor. If you can…if you do the best you can do for those deer with your plots, you’re going to notice the returns on it. I mean that’s just plain and simple.
You know, and kind of to kick-start another conversation because I’m going to go to him on this one, you go out there to get ready to start planting and, you know, I mentioned this in the last segment, you know, you want to find out about your soil health. Soil sampling, if you can do it, is really awesome as far as figuring out what you’re starting off with the base. And I guess my question for him, because maybe some of the listeners are going to be wanting to know this, is, you know, what pH…what is pH, what pH am I looking for? Once my pH is right, what are some other things that are going to, you know, kind of…things that I’m going to look at before I even want to put seed in the ground and put you guys’ fertilizer down, what are…you know, what is soil, what am I doing?
Eric: Well, I guess, you know, talking about soil health, we talked about it in that, you know, second section of this, but a lot of people don’t know what is soil health, “Is it just a thing that tells me ,yeah, it’s good or, yeah, it’s bad?” It kind of takes a trained eye to look at the soil sample results and know what might be going on. Sorry. I’ve been using Ward Laboratories and this is just a… I don’t know if you can quite see that. But it just has all the breakdowns. This is just my field north of town here.
And, you know, there’s pH. And if you have a low pH, which is something under 6.5%, then you’re going to have…you know, doing some…adding some lye and, you know, get that pH level back up. There’s soluble salts, there’s organic matter, which is huge. Carried over nitrogen, what you’re going to have. All your nutrients, you know, your macros and micros with phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, manganese, zinc, iron, copper. I mean there’s just a whole gamut that you could learn. And when I get samples back, you know, depending on what crop is going in there, you know, I really go in here and I dive into it and figure out, you know, where the optimum levels should be for what they want. And so what the optimum levels are going to be for corn is not going to be the same optimum levels for a food plot.
And so it’s something…
Jason: What’s low pH do to a plant?