Soil Health Friday – Benefits of Diversity for Wildlife

This past Spring, we had several customers plant our Vitalize Seed Nitro Boost in areas where they had previously never been successful, due to over-browse. They had previously planted bean monocultures and they just couldn’t keep the deer from eating the beans to the dirt – despite their best efforts in harvesting does during hunting season.

When they planted the Nitro Boost, they were nervous this would be an issue again for them. However, they were extremely excited to see that they were able to grow “the best plots they’ve ever grown!”.

Now, I’d like to sit here and tell you we have created some superb genetically modified seed that allows deer to not over browse it, lol! However, the key here is the balanced diversity in the mix.

We focus a lot on soil health, and diversity is king! The variability in root exudation alone is of massive benefit to the soil microbiome and the solubilizing of nutrients for our crops to assimilate. Often, what we don’t speak about is how this diversity benefits wildlife.

Three reasons for diversity?

We are offering various crops that are maturing at different rates. This allows the field to be attractive at varying times throughout the season. This helps us to continue our photosynthetic capture for long periods vs. a plot that is eaten to the ground and then baren for the remainder of the year.

The fields are offering browsable plants at varying heights – the deer cannot just walk down a row and nip each top off. This increases the browse tolerance of the fields. We also capture the maximum amount of sunlight vs. allowing the sun to hit the soil directly – even in a closed canopy bean field, some light will get between beans, this is why weeds can still get through the canopy (at times), and this light is a missed opportunity to capture that energy with a crop we want for wildlife! Our diverse mix ensures each layer of above-ground biomass is covered, this results in tonnage and is an amazing vehicle for solar energy capture (photosynthesis)!

We are creating mini eco-systems. I have documented this well in my garden but it also applies to food plots. When you have varying levels of plants, species, pollinator-attracting species, etc. You create an environment outside of a mono-culture field. I often find frogs, snakes, and various positively predatory insects doing my pesticide control! As an example, in my garden, I watched dying sunflowers in September (right before Roma tomato harvest) attract aphids, only to have carpenter ants eat the aphids! Upon checking my tomato and pepper crop, I did not have a single aphid on a single crop plant! This is a small example of the natural symbiosis diversity in fields creates. This same example can be applied to food plots, not to mention feeding the microbes as some plants die off and feed microbes, further driving the nutrient cycling.

All in all, if you are not using diverse mixes – I hope this helps you to consider just a few of the benefits they offer.

Sincerely thank you for considering Vitalize Seed as your source!

Albert

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