In 1991 I went from college graduation to being one of the first independent nutritionists in the US in a time when most animal rations were provided by the big name companies. At that time my "rumen efficiency formula" was my mantra. The concepts were simple, have healthy and productive animals by trying to maintain a rumen pH as close to 6.5 as possible. During that time farmers were spending a lot of money on high priced feeds not just in price per ton but also in volume. Diets were fine particle size and very unhealthy and acidotic. As a result of this and as a matter of survivability, a quite a few farmers turned to managed rotational grazing. The concept was simple, provide healthy forage to animals, presenting lower input costs and less vet visits. Yes, there was a sacrifice in production but the end result was higher incomes. The feed industry was calling this a bad idea and I think we know why they opposed this. I can talk all day about the successes many saw by changing their feed program. This was where many of the forages we use for the wildlife industry originated, from the graziers.
Moving ahead to the mid 90's, one day I had a seed grower approach me about a new product they thought my clients would be interested in.....generic roundup. I said NO for 24 hours but I was smart enough to ask my clients what they thought of this. The product was 1/3 the cost of the name brand Roundup. So that summer i was sunning all over Wisconsin filling orders. At that time Monsanto and many in the industry were posting pictures of generic roundup and how it was killing crops. There was a major push to resist generic chemicals. Low and behold, the coops that were trying to convince my clients how bad generic roundup was, it was only a matter of 2-3 year and they also were selling that very same product.
In the mid to late 90's there became an awareness of the importance of effective fiber for ruminant diets. Guess what, that is the whole concept of the managed rotational grazing movement that was started in the early 90's. Now all farmers were on board with the concepts and using total mixed rations and reintroducing more forages into their diets.
About 15 years ago I started realizing the importance of micro nutrients on crops. I had clients start to use them on hay fields and in some cases soybeans. We saw 2-7 bushel response on soybeans and better feed quality and volume on the hay fields. Yet, the large scale coops and agronomy centers and the public resisted this technology and tried to diminish the benefits. Guess what? Now event he CHS's and Wnfields of the world are pushing micro nutrients. Funny how that came about.
About 4-5 years ago I started going crazy seeing so many of the poor quality deer supplements and food plot seeds out in the industry. My mentality of being an educator and innovator decided to do something about it. It lead what we see now as Grandpa Ray Outdoors. I decided to try to bring science and an alternative way of thinking to the industry and again, we at times see resistance to change. I have been reading a lot of miss informed comments and find there is a lot of people who question ne ways of thinking. That is perhaps normal.
So G.R.O isn't about reinventing the wheel. The very concepts i'm trying to educate the public on are those i was educating my clients on in the early 90's. I was also a part of research on the first discovery farm in Wisconsin, sampling forages every week. I've always been about testing new technologies and products that companies have put before me. In my whole business career, i learned from my saying NO (for 24 hours) with glyphosate. I like to test out everything for 1-2 years before recommending anything.
So, there is nothing i recommend that hasn't been tested or supported by science. This is why we will be in year two for the main G.R.O educational plot. We need to provide data for the skeptical public. There is nothing wrong with being leary of new ways of thinking but my challenge to you all is to get educated and instead of saying no, say, maybe this is a possible option to add to my wildlife program.
Food for thought.