Finally, she had enough. The two wildlife seed experts went back and forth on social media as to who had the better bag of seed. All was not well in Mother Earth’s world. She knew it was time to step in. She requested both experts to report to her one early April morning in Central Ohio. As the men stood before her, she began to speak.
“You both are here as “experts.” I think it’s time we give you men something to prove yourself not to me but to the world. I challenge you both to a wildlife forage growing contest. You will be judged on the following, the contest will last three years. We will measure overall yield each year. At the end of the third year the loser must leave the seed world in North America and be banished to Siberia and the winner gets to stay. There is a 2-acre field just down the road from here. Each of you will get 1 acre next to each other. You must have 3 forages in a mix. They can be of any percentage but there must be three. You remember, mother nature can be an unpredictable woman. You also must not have any more than 10% refusal on the average through out the year. You can choose to go look at the property today or you can choose to stay here and look at a copy of the soil sample. Make your choice. You only get to choose one.”
As Jimmy John pause for a moment, it wasn’t long before he replied, “I’ll take the soil sample.” John Bob did his best to not crack a wide grin. “I’d love to go look at the land,” John Bob responded. With that, both men did their thing. As John Bob arrived at the field he took in the lay of the land. He walked to a marked off area with his name on a post. As he moved to the flag on the north side of the hill, he screwed his soil probe in the ground 6”. Ripping off a piece of his shirt he tied a makeshift flag to the handle. Walking down the slope 100 feet, he dropped to his knees. Extending his thumb out, he made a quick calculation. He repeated this process 2 more times. Each time he removed the probe and looked at the soil. He also had a shovel handy. The first time he dug a hole, he found soil that was sandy loam after only digging 8”. The second time he dug down it was 12” before the soil changed. At the lower part of the field he dug 3 feet before he found a change in soil texture. As John bob stared at the field, he couldn’t help but smile. “Mother nature, you must have had some interesting years in the past century or two.”
Back at mother nature’s place, Jimmy John was looking over the soil sample. The Ph was 6.5, the potassium was ideal as was the phosphorous levels. The soil organic matter level was 4%. Wow, this sample looks outstanding, he thought. The perfect soil. Why wouldn’t it be on mother nature’s property?
The next day both men were asked to hand mother nature their seed blends. She surprised the men by saying that she would be planting them herself to make sure everything was perfect. As mother looked at the legal tags that each man produced, she took a deep a deep breath and did her best to not react. She already knew how this would play out. Months passed until it was November 1. Both men gathered around her to await the results of the first year. Mother nature read off John Bob 11,977 pounds of forage dry matter, Jimmy John 3,517. Jimmy John couldn’t believe it, but it was only 1 year. “Still two more years to go!”, Jimmy John exclaimed.
The next year they were in the same place at the same time of year. The results were Jimmy John 8,854 pounds of forage dry matter per acre and Jimmy John 3,617. “Damn. This isn’t over,” Jimmy John exclaimed. “One more year to go.” Forwarding ahead 1 more year, the three stood side by side. As mother nature read the results, the were as follows, John Bob 8,002 and Jimmy John 1,823 lbs. Hearing that, Jimmy John fell to his knees. “Mother earth, please do not send me to Siberia. How will I ever live? What will I ever do there? After a moment of pause, John Bob stopped looking down at Jimmy John and turned to look Mother Earth in the eyes and proclaimed. Mother let me go to Siberia instead. They need me more than him.” As Jimmy John stood back up to thank John Bob, he asked. But how did you do it? How did you get so much yield? John Bob replied, “Mother Earth can put everyone on their knees at some point. Without me being on my knees before the contest, I’d have had a different blend formulated for this contest.”
As John Bob turned to head off to Siberia, he reached down to grab his shovel and soil probe. “I better not leave these here, I have no idea what I’d do without them.”