Kelly's Water Really Sucks
26 Jul 239 min 15 sec

Kelly's blunt assessment of his water is: It Really Sucks. What he did not realize was that it was changing the properties of his soil for the worse.  That all changed when he installed his first drip system.  He talks with Damian Mason and Kurt Grimm from NutraDrip about how he is slowly reversing the negative effects of his water on the soil.

00:00 Roughly 1% or less of the acres of cropland in the United States of America have subsurface drip irrigation. You know, 00:07 it's just not something that's really out there that much yet. Well, our friend Kelly Garrett here at Garrett Atlanta Cattle has subsurface drip 00:15 irrigation in about 5% of his acres, and it's allowing him some latitude, which is particularly important in a year like this, 00:20 which is a complete drought. The soybean field behind me does not look great. So we're gonna talk about some of the applications he's doing now while we got 00:27 Kirk Grim here with Nutra Drip about ways you can make a great crop utilizing this, uh, technology that, let's face it, you know, 00:34 you'd like to have it on more of your acres. You don't, but what's this? Allowing some latitude and maybe to bail yourself out. 00:39 What are you gonna do with this field? Which I'll admit, I said, if you've got the drip irrigation, why does it look so crummy? And you said, 00:47 Well, these beans are planted about 80,000, probably even down to 65,000 population, which is half of what normal people do, or average people. But we don't wanna produce a bunch of vegetation, 00:59 number one with water right now. And number two, when the beans are planted that thick, you know, say the average guy is at 140,000, 01:07 all that does right now is produce a lot of vegetation because they're in competition. And if you drive up and down the road on June 20th, 01:14 you're gonna think our beans look bad, and the neighbor's beans look good, right? Because there's a green carpet out there, and it's very attractive. 01:20 And I admit that it is. But we learned a couple years ago, the last time this field was in beans, 01:25 we had a trial here that went all the way down to 34,000 beans per acre, next to 150,000. And the 150,000 looks so great, Damien, 01:34 with all the vegetation it produced. And at the end of the year, the 34,000 population out produced the one 50 by three bushel per acre. 01:41 You agreed, by the way, when I told him this field looked crummy and I was embarrassed to stand in front of it. You took his side and then you said, 01:46 we're gonna start ramping stuff up out here because this age, this stage of the game, you don't want great, big, 01:51 tall vegetative beans because, Right. So we want that plant to put its energy into reproduction, right? We want seeds. That's what we're harvesting. 01:58 And so we've learned that irrigating soybeans early, um, produces vegetative growth, and they just get tall. 02:05 They don't put on the seeds and the, and the pods like they would if they're, if you hold them back, keep, keep the inner nodal distance short, keep the, 02:14 keep the distance between the nodes tight, Nice, tight plant And, and lots of pods on there. That's what we're after. 02:18 We're not after this big bushy, beautiful plant. Mm-hmm. Um, and so almost never do we recommend irrigation until we get to R one. Um, 02:26 for, for soybeans. So technically starts tomorrow. Okay. I mean, from a calendar, yeah, from A calendar standpoint. And you're close. I mean, 02:32 Evan's told me this field's pushing R one. So now what happens, R one reproductive phase is the beginning. 02:37 You're gonna start ramping stuff through your sub-service drip irrigation. Tell us what you're gonna do. 02:42 I will put, apply one 10th of an inch of water per day every day that we irrigate. And then when it rains, we'll watch the soil, we'll watch, 02:49 watch our moisture monitors, and we won't irrigate. And one 10th of an inch a day is all we do early in our career. We started with that. We, and we, one year we even went up to, 02:59 to a quarter of an inch a day. And, uh, all that did was took the oxygen out of the soil, produced a large electric bill, and we went back to a 10th of an inch. 03:06 And I won't change. That's all it takes here in this soil. All right, Kurt, 03:09 you got a lot of history talking about before we hit record on this thing. Uh, you put this system in in 2015. We are recording this, dear listener and viewer. 03:15 20, 23, 8 years. You're in your eighth year enough track record to say, here's what we've done wrong. Here's what we've learned, 03:21 and we can really maximize this, uh, technology. Yeah. So we've learned a lot since we started this, um, together with Kelly. Um, you know, just, just the idea. 03:33 I think one of the initial ideas was being able to spoonfeed nutrients and water, right? Being able to do those in combination. And really, 03:39 I think one of the things we've learned is the nutrients are equal or maybe even more important than the water aspect. Um, in this environment, 03:46 in this type of soil, I think you're getting as much or more benefit from the ability that spoon feed nutrients out there. 03:52 Absolutely. Well, to put it plainly, the water sucks. I mean, it really does. The ec, the electrical conductivity of the water, 04:00 more specifically the bicarbonates of the water are quite high here. And we have now learned that your soil will take on the properties of your 04:07 water. And it, it has, and we've just learned this, you know, we've been battling this and talking about it, 04:12 but we haven't really found a solution. Last winter, we came up with a better solution, turned out to be the plant food byproduct that we use because of the sulfur 04:20 that's in it, the amino acid that's in it, the carbon that's in it. So now when we're irrigating, we're pumped, we're irrigating, you know, 04:26 when this is turned on, 400 gallons a minute of water, and we're putting a hundred gallons an hour of plant food in there because of the carbon, 04:34 because of the sulfur to amend or take the bicarbonate problem away from us. This 04:39 Great big tank that you're leaning up against is a tank of plant food. Yes. The stuff that you, uh, 04:44 have a inside business and you put in the fields and all that. All right. Is there a problem person saying, Hey man, this is all new to me. I've read, 04:50 or I've heard when we talked to Kurt about this before, it's just a little teen pinhole in your subservice drip irrigation. Does this stuff clog up? 04:58 Yeah, actually, plant food is a sulfuric acid based product. And one of the things we use to clean out dripper lines is sulfuric acid. So, 05:05 um, this product is very good through drip. It actually helps keep the drip line clean. Um, there are many products we can inject through drip 28, 30 2%, 05:14 um, orthophosphate based fertilizers, not polyphosphate. So Polyphosphates will plug it up. Um, lots of boron, zinc, um, 05:22 pretty much any of your nutrients, a lot of potassium, potassium chloride, potassium acetate, 05:27 all those products and go in through subsurface drip irrigation. Oh, we won't stop until R five or even a little bit later to really finish out. 05:34 We'll, I, we will irrigate later than most people think you should, because that plant is still coming on. 05:40 And so you start later than we think you should because you don't want a bunch of vegetative growth that are below over and you go later than most people think 05:46 you should. Absolutely. That's interesting to me. And I just learned something. And I think one of the, 05:50 the other big key elements that Kelly's getting with plant food is a huge amount of sulfur. 05:54 So one of the things we've identified with most of our growers over the past year or two is that most growers are putting 30 to 50 pounds of sulfur out. 06:03 Um, the, the guys like Kelly that are being very successful are over a hundred pounds of sulfur per acre. 06:09 So that's one thing we're kind of going back and reevaluating and say, are we really putting enough sulfur out, especially late in the season? 06:15 That plant needs sulfur all the way to R five, R six. We try to be an open book around here, Kelly, we talk about our mistakes. We talk about things eight years. Um, you probably did, 06:23 you've probably made a mistake here. What mistakes have you made with the subsurface drip? Did you do what I recommended? Did you put water out too soon? Build, grow. 06:30 Great big crop. It blows over. We put, we put water out too soon. We put too much water out then, you know, with our hills and our elevation. When we first started this system, 06:39 it was 78 acres right here. We were running at 80 pounds of pressure. Then we bought the 80 up the road and Kurt and I ran a pipe a half mile up the 06:47 road, turned it on. Now we're at 115 pounds of pressure. And if you look everywhere, there's a pipe around here. We've blown it up. Oh, 06:54 okay. Because, because we had it that 30 pounds. Yeah. We thought we had, you know, 06:58 we thought we had the cat's meow and we thought we were doing all the heavy duty stuff, but the heavy duty stuff, we had to redefine that. 07:03 There's a spot up here over the hill after we did it. It, it's a manifold under the ground that switches, you know, 07:09 the valves will switch where the water goes. We blew it apart three or four times. We finally put it back together and dumped a whole load of cement under the 07:15 ground, encased it, covered it back up with dirt. It's held ever since. That's been six years. We've blown up everything. 07:21 See, he's the one that's willing to admit mistakes. Any of those are your fault. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Thrust blocking is a, is uh, this pipe, 07:27 we're standing right over the top of here. This one's blown outta the ground a time or two cause we already started. So yeah, 07:32 This, this basically puts a lot of tools in your toolbox. And again, we, we were admitting here, this is something that most farms don't have. 07:39 I didn't even know that much about sub-service drip. I thought it was only for specialty crops until I joined, you know, extreme ag. And for the most part it still is except for like Texas has a bunch of it and, 07:49 uh, specialty crops and you know, California whatnot. And then plays like Kelly, is this gonna be more of a thing? 07:54 Because guys will start seeing the tool in the toolbox gives you a lot of, I guess, flexibility, 08:00 Right? So, so you look at the value of land then in the change of the land values over the past five years, we've gone from what, five, six, $7,000 an acre land to now 10, 08:09 $15,000 an acre land. And so if you take that same piece of land and you can get 30% more production off those same acres, at least by adding a two or $3,000 an acre investment. 08:19 Yeah. I mean that's, that makes way, way more sense than going out and buying more land for 10 to 15,000. Yeah, We just bought a farm for $15,000. 08:26 We could drip it for another 2000 and add 30% to the yield. That's a no-brainer. Yeah, 08:31 It just mitigates that risk. You know, I'm just thinking like the last few days that corn market's gone up, what 30 cents today, guys that have only dry land, 08:39 are they gonna have production? Can they sell a guy with drip irrigation? Um, he has some assurance that there's gonna be, there's gonna be a product to sell. 08:46 Take the elevator at the end of the year. His name's Kurt Graham. The company's called Nutri Drip. If you wanna learn more about this, we've done a bunch of interviews. 08:52 Go and check it out. Just go to the Extreme Act page, type in Nutra dripping. You'll probably find the stuff we've done, 08:56 commodity classic stuff we've done with Kelly before. And then also if they wanna learn more, how do they find you? Uh, nutra Um, our website, YouTube channel. You can find 09:05 Us. Got it. His name's Kelly Garrett. And I'm David Mason. Until next time, we're gonna keep telling you all the cool stuff we're doing right out here.

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