About the Whitetail Institute
Two main things: the Whitetail Institute’s commitment to product quality and performance, and top-notch, personalized customer service. We don’t have to pay celebrities to endorse our products because the facts and our customers do the talking for us. Here are just a few examples:
- The Whitetail Institute of North America started the whole deer-nutrition industry.
- Imperial Whitetail Clover, the Institute’s first forage product, is still the number one food-plot planting in the world, and the gold standard by which all other food-plot products are measured.
- The Whitetail Institute is the only food-plot company that actually breeds many of the plant varieties included in its blends through an exhaustive process of genetic selection, cross-breeding, and real-world testing.
- The Whitetail Institute’s Director of Forge Research, Dr. Wayne Hanna, is a world-renowned expert in the fields of plant breeding and genetics and member or the Department of Agriculture’s Research Hall of Fame.
- The Institute’s forage research and development are scientifically goal-oriented toward producing the highest quality forages for deer. Goals include high nutritional content, early seedling vigor, heat, drought and cold tolerance, disease resistance, browse tolerance and, of course, extreme attractiveness to whitetails.
- Most Imperial forage products are blends rather than single plant varieties. The reason is that a blend of multiple plant varieties can often help the overall stand perform at a level even higher than the individual components can alone - at least, if the blend is painstakingly developed and tested according to truly scientific protocols. And Whitetail Institute forage blends certainly are.
- Once initial research and development are completed, potential new products begin the next stages of the Institute’s exhaustive testing process. The process begins with testing on deer in enclosures, followed by free-range testing at the Institute, free-range testing at up to 100 Certified Research Stations from Florida to Canada, and then additional free-range testing under real-world conditions by field testers everywhere Imperial products can be grown in North America.
- The Institutes goes to the extra effort to pre-inoculate Imperial forage blends that will benefit from inoculant.
- The Institute goes to the extra effort to coat its seeds with the finest polymer coatings available to maximize seedling survivability. An example is the Institute’s RainBond™ seed coating, which contains polymers that can absorb up to 200 times its weight in water from the soil, keeping it right next to the seed as it germinates.
- Whitetail Institute 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein mineral/vitamin supplements are scientifically formulated to contain the correct minerals and vitamins, from the best sources, and in the correct ratios to provide the best possible nutritional benefit to deer. And, they are formulated with taste enhancers, scent enhancers and Devour, a proprietary ingredient that can be addictive to deer, to make these supplements as highly attractive as possible to deer.
- The Whitetail Institute has a staff of highly trained in-house consultants on staff and available on a toll-free line so that field testers who have questions can immediately get a live person on the phone during business hours, and are assured that the information they receive will be knowledgeable.
- Many of the Institute’s new product ideas come from interaction with its field testers. By far, the single most common way the Institute gets its new product ideas is by noticing trends in customer requests.
- The Whitetail Institute has excellent, long-term relationships with top-tier scientists in the fields of plant genetics and agronomy and also maintains a network of experts on its in-house and adjunct staff in a broad range of disciplines related to deer nutrition. This network includes Dr. Wayne Hanna, who I mentioned earlier, weed and herbicide scientist Dr. Carroll Johnson, agronomy and farming expert Mr. Mark Trudeau, and numerous others with wildlife biology and other degrees. Each member of the Whitetail Institute team is also cross-trained in other disciplines.
- The Whitetail Institute publishes Whitetail News, the number-one deer-nutrition journal in the world. Whitetail News features informative articles on Whitetail Institute products, but that’s not all – not by a long shot. In its pages, you’ll find extremely useful articles by the top outdoor writers in the country. Past articles are even available on the web. And the Whitetail Institute does this for its field testers FOR FREE.
We don’t make that claim because we don’t have to – the facts speak for themselves. (See the answer to the previous question.) What we believe, though, isn’t what matters anyway. Instead, it’s what our customers think based on what they have observed under their own real-world conditions. If you’d like to answer this question for yourself, then select a Whitetail Institute forage product and a similar product from another company, and then plant them side-by-side according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Plant the other company’s product against the woods, and plant the Whitetail Institute product farther out in the field so that deer will have to walk through the first product to get to ours. Then, observe for yourself whether or not they do that. Can we tell you with 100% certainty that your deer will walk through the other product to get to ours? No. But our experience has been that they do so in the majority of cases.
You become a field tester when you purchase products from The Whitetail Institute. We consider our customers insiders and our relationships with them long-term. As a field tester, we share information with you, and you with us. Being a field tester also gives you access to periodic discounts on Whitetail Institute products when you order direct by calling the Whitetail Institute.
A Certified Research Station is one of about a hundred locations in the U.S. and Canada the Whitetail Institute uses as part of its exhaustive scientific process of researching, developing, and testing new and existing products under real-world conditions. The requirements to become a Certified Research Station are stringent and require adherence to strict scientific protocols. Whitetail Institute Certified Research Stations are long-term commitments, and openings in the system are fairly rare. If you'd like information on becoming a certified research station, please contact one of our wildlife biologists, Mr. Justin Moore, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter where you live, the Whitetail Institute likely has multiple ways you can get Whitetail Institute products.
Many retailers such as Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Southern States, and many local farm-supply stores carry Whitetail Institute products. Since many farm-supply stores purchase Whitetail Institute products from independent distributors, the Whitetail Institute cannot provide a complete list.
For customers who can’t find Whitetail Institute products in their area, the Whitetail Institute also sells direct. Inside Whitetail News, magazine, which existing Whitetail Institute customers receive for free, are discount coupons on Whitetail Institute products. These coupons apply only to orders placed directly with the Whitetail Institute.
Most Whitetail Institute products are available for purchase in Canada. To order in Canada, contact our Canadian distributor, Mr. John Cristinziani, in Montreal.
Phone: (514) 881-2080
Fax: (514) 881-2098
If you’re considering sending a submission to us for potential publication in Whitetail News, then first of all, THANK YOU – and CONGRATULATIONS! We LOVE to hear about our customers’ successes! Our readers seem to really enjoy our testimonial and first/new-hunter sections too, and we believe that’s because they know that the stories we run there are from the heart and not paid for.
Submissions are accepted by mail and E-mail.
Whitetail Institute of North America
239 Whitetail Trail
Pintlala, AL 36043
E-Mail submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Provided Mother Nature cooperates with some soil moisture and the planting instructions are followed, Imperial forage products often appear above ground within a week or so. Our annuals tend to come up even more quickly. Generally, plants start building their root systems at least to some degree before you ever see them on the surface. The root systems of perennials are generally larger than those of annuals, so it may take them a little longer to appear above ground. WINA perennial forage products, though, do come up very quickly because we add our annual “Golden Jumpstart” to most of our perennial blends (the exception is “Chic” Magnet”). These annuals appear very quickly to get the plot up and going as rapidly as possible. The perennial components are usually right behind them, thickening up the plot.
So, with our perennial blends, what you’ll normally see is a broad but somewhat thin stand of clovers appear within a week or two (again, given proper planting and weather), and then as the perennials start coming up over the next week or two, the plot thickens up. With Imperial Whitetail Clover, this transition is not really apparent, since everything in the blend is clover. Same thing with Alfa Rack Plus, since the alfalfas look a lot like clover until they get up to 5-6 inches tall. With something like Extreme, though – where the perennial plants are not clover, and look very different from clovers, the transition is much more noticeable.
The Whitetail Institute develops forage products with specific goals, all of which are desirable for whitetail-deer food plots. These include attractiveness to whitetails; nutritional content; rapid stand establishment; early seedling vigor; tolerance of heat, drought and cold; and resistance to disease. Rarely will one type of plant yield top overall performance in all these categories. Blends can offer even better performance – IF the blend is painstakingly formulated as to plant types and ratios, and then exhaustively tested under real-world conditions, and Whitetail Institute forage products certainly are!
One Whitetail Institute forage product, “Chic” Magnet, is not a blend. “Chic” Magnet is the Whitetail Institute’s proprietary WINA-100 perennial chicory, which is a component in other Whitetail Institute forage products such as Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus, Edge, and Extreme. WINA-100 chicory is packaged separately as “Chic” Magnet to meet customer demand to use WINA-100 by itself, and to overseed into existing forage stands to further increase attractiveness and drought resistance.
This is just one of the many little things the Whitetail Institute does to help its forage products perform the very best the Whitetail Institute can make them. Generally speaking, plants tend to start putting down roots once the seeds they grow from germinate, and they’ll get at least some of their root systems going before they appear above ground. Take clovers for example: unlike the perennial clovers in Imperial Whitetail Clover (and in Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus, etc.), the annual clovers tend to grow less extensive roots, so in most cases they can appear above ground even more quickly than the perennials. This helps get the deer coming to your food plot even quicker.
The biggest reason is to increase seedling survivability – the chance that seedlings will survive into adulthood and flourish instead of dying soon after germinating. The coating helps ensure you have the best chance possible to achieve success with your food plot efforts.
It’s a fact that raw (uncoated) seed stands a far greater chance of failing than properly coated seed. The main reason is that uncoated seed can germinate with very little moisture, when there isn’t enough moisture in the soil for it to survive. Whitetail Institute uses only the finest coatings, including RainBond™, which contains polymer beads that can soak up 200X their weight in moisture from the soil, keeping it right next to the seed as it germinates. Whitetail Institute also includes inoculant in the coatings of its seeds that can benefit from inoculant. All these are little things, but they’re a perfect example of the Whitetail Institute’s commitment to providing products that are the very best the Whitetail Institute can make them.
Some kinds of livestock should only be allowed to control graze Imperial forages, and other types should not be allowed to graze them under any circumstances.
Horses: Horses should never be allowed to graze Imperial Forages. Our perennials are very high in protein, but they are also highly water-retentive, which can be disruptive to the digestive systems of horses, which are highly susceptible to bloat.
Cattle: Cattle are not as susceptible as horses, but they are still highly susceptible and should also not be allowed to graze our forages.
Goats and Sheep: Goats and sheep can be allowed to utilize our forages to a limited extent, but they must be control-grazed to avoid digestive problems from our forages.
Imperial forages are sometimes used dry as hay, and they do make excellent, high protein hay. They may be harder to bale than traditional hay plants like agricultural alfalfa because our perennials grow to lower heights. That’s because our perennials are intended for use in whitetail deer food plots, and so were specifically designed to be less stemmy than customary hay plants.
Although crop rotation is not usually a big deal to food plotters, at least not as big as it is with commercial farmers who plant the same crop year after year, any soil can get “tired” of growing the same crop year after year. If and when that happens, the soil can be freshened every so often by planting something entirely different in the site for a growing season or two.
Determining if and when that’s necessary is usually fairly simple. The main issue is the buildup of “disease organisms” over time, and the presence of these is usually readily apparent through an observable decline in the general appearance of the crop – basically, that it’s not growing as well now as it did before. If you notice that, then diagnosis is also usually fairly simple. First, pull up some of the plants, and look at the roots. The roots should be firm and healthy looking. If they are spindly or weak looking, there’s a good chance that the soil has a build up of root-rot organisms like fungus, which can cause crop failure. Second, while you’re digging around in the soil, look for root-eating insects and their larvae, which can also build up over time. Either of these can suggest that it’s time to rotate into a totally different crop for at least one growing season to break the disease or insect cycle. A rotation should be with plant varieties that are completely different from those that have been in the plot.
As for what to use for a rotational crop, basically just use something other than what you had in the site before. For example, if you had Winter-Greens (brassica) growing in the site during the fall and winter, you could rotate out with legumes such as Power Plant for one spring and summer. For Alfa Rack Plus, one should rotate out for a growing season with something like Whitetail Forage Oats Plus, Pure Attraction or No-Plow. Basically, you just want to plant something entirely different in the site for a season (or maybe two, depending on the severity of the disease or insect infestation).
Seedbed Preparation, Planting, and Perennial Maintenance
The key to raising soil pH with either bulk or pelletized lime as quickly as it can is to work it into the soil thoroughly. As Dr. Wiley Johnson, the Whitetail Institute’s first Director of Plant Breeding, often said, “Lime pretty much stays where you put it. You HAVE to disk it in thoroughly if you are going to raise soil pH as quickly as possible.”
Bags of blended fertilizer have three numbers on the front, separated by dashes. Examples are 13-13-13 and 0-20-20. The three numbers, in order from left to right, represent the percentages of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) in the bag (or put another way, the pounds of each in 100 pounds of the fertilizer).
Example: 200 pounds of a fertilizer labeled “20-20-20” have the same amounts (pounds) of N, P and K as 400 pounds of a fertilizer marked “10-10-10”.
Just knowing this can help you mix and match fertilizers you find in your area to meet the fertilizer recommendations in a soil-test report, or the “if no soil test is available” fertilizer recommendations in Whitetail Institute forage planting and maintenance instructions.
Because some Whitetail Institute forage products “fix” their own nitrogen, while others do not. “Nitrogen fixing” legumes such as Imperial Whitetail Clover need a little Nitrogen at planting. After that, no further Nitrogen fertilizer need be added.
You can tell whether the Imperial forage product you are considering is a nitrogen fixer or not by looking at the published planting instructions for it. Non-nitrogen-fixing products call for higher Nitrogen fertilizer at planting and, for best results, an additional application of Nitrogen fertilizer a month or so after planting is suggested. Higher Nitrogen fertilizer is also suggested for perennial maintenance each year.
If you do this, be aware that the risk of forage failure may be substantially elevated. We don’t advise planting outside our published planting dates because if you do so, the forage roots may not mature in time to handle extreme weather. Rather than planting outside our dates, it is a better idea to wait to plant until your next planting window, and then use the interim time to do a good job of preparing the seedbed (i.e.: liming, weed control, etc.)
No. A cover crop (sometimes called a “nurse” crop) is a fast-growing annual, such as a cereal grain, that’s planted with a perennial to provide faster green-up and protection from early overgrazing. Planting a cover crop with Whitetail Institute perennials isn’t necessary for two reasons. First, Imperial perennials already have annuals included in them to serve this very purpose. Second, when planted correctly and with Mother Nature’s cooperation, Imperial perennials tend to germinate and grow very quickly, often within just a week.
For those folks who still want to plant a cover crop with an Imperial perennial planting in the fall, consider Whitetail Forage Oats Plus as the cover crop. Keep the seeding rate for Whitetail Forage Oats Plus at a maximum of about 20 lb/ac. Put out Whitetail Forage Oats Plus first, and then drag a light layer of loose soil over the seed. Then, broadcast the perennial seed on top at the full seeding rate shown on the package. Once you’ve put the perennial seed out, do nothing further. Do not cover it.
Arrest is a selective herbicide designed to suppress or control most kinds of grass in any Imperial perennial stand, and in any other clover or alfalfa. For additional information about Arrest, review the official Arrest herbicide label, which is available on the Arrest package and also on this website.
Slay is a selective herbicide designed to suppress or control many kinds of broadleaf weeds in stands of Imperial Whitetail Clover and another other clover or alfalfa that are “established”. Slay is not labeled for use in any other Imperial forage blend. An adjuvant such as Surefire Crop Oil Plus must be added to the Slay spray tank for Slay to work. For additional information about Slay, review the official Slay herbicide label, which is available on the Slay package and also on this website.
Surefire is an “adjuvant”, meaning something that is recommended to be added to a herbicide spray solution in some cases, or that must be added in other cases (Slay, for example) for the herbicide to work. An adjuvant such as Surefire must be added to the Slay spray tank for Slay to work. Unlike surfactant adjuvants, Surefire is an oil that, unlike surfactant-type adjuvants, can increase the effectiveness of grass herbicides like Arrest. Unlike agricultural oils that are petroleum based, Surefire is a vegetable-based oil. Surefire also contains an anti-foaming agent to help the user correctly mix the spray tank.
Arrest and Slay are not recommended for seedbed preparation. Instead, they’re designed to help keep grass and weeds under control in existing food plots (with certain limitations as specified on the herbicide labels). For seedbed preparation, use a herbicide whose active ingredient label shows two things: (1) that the only active ingredient in the herbicide is glyphosate, and (2) that the percentage of glyphosate in the herbicide is high (i.e. about 40-50%). Be sure to read and follow all label instructions when using any herbicide.
The Arrest and Slay labels (provided on the product packages and also available on this website) specify what grasses and/or other weeds each herbicide will control. That’s why it’s so important to specifically identify the grass and weeds in your plot before you buy or use any herbicide.
A quick way to get an accurate identification is to pull up some of the grasses or other weeds, roots and all, and immediately take them to your County Agent. Alternatively, take them to a farm-supply store, many of which have personnel who are experienced with grasses and weeds in your local area. If neither option is available, then take a white pillowcase out to the plot, set some of the weeds on it, and take stable, detailed digital photos of the tops of the weeds and their roots against the white background, and what the weeds look like growing in the plot. Then, email the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Weed ID Request” in the subject line. DO NOT MAIL OR OTHERWISE SHIP ACTUAL GRASSES AND WEEDS TO THE WHITETAIL INSTITUTE. THEY MOST LIKELY WON’T SURVIVE TRANSIT IN GOOD ENOUGH CONDITION FOR US TO IDENTIFY THEM!
The mix rates for Arrest and for Slay are set out in the official herbicide label, which is available on the herbicide packaging and also on this website. If you still have questions after reviewing the herbicide label, call the Whitetail Institute for assistance before you spray.
Yes, but doing so will reduce the effect of Arrest up to 50%. For best results, leave at least three days between applications of Arrest and Slay.
If weeds or perennial grasses appear ready to flower and reseed themselves, then yes – mow the plot to prevent the grasses and weeds from producing viable seeds. Mowing can also help Arrest tackle grasses that have matured. After mowing, wait until you see grasses and other weeds actively growing again (usually about a week after mowing) before spraying.
Arrest can be sprayed on any forage for which it is labeled as appropriate regardless of how young the plants are. Slay and Surefire, on the other hand, should not be sprayed on Imperial Whitetail Clover until at least two of the tree leaves have unfolded, which is usually when the plants grow to at least three inches tall. BUT REMEMBER – you may have the annual clovers in Imperial Whitetail Clover come up first, often as early as within a week after planting given adequate soil moisture. The perennial clovers come up with the annuals or right after, so be sure that your PERENNIAL clovers, and not just the annuals, are up and have at least two leaves unfolded before you spray Slay and Surefire. Also, exercise common sense and don’t drive over baby plants when their roots are too small to handle the weight.
Arrest and Slay do not kill grass and weeds overnight. After spraying Arrest or Slay, growth of the labeled grass or weed should begin to slow relatively quickly, and you should notice a slight burn or yellowing on the edges of your grass and weeds within two to three weeks after application. Gradually, this burn will move in toward the center of the plant’s leaf over the next week or so until the plant is completely eliminated.
Mowing is a normal step in maintaining Whitetail Institute perennials in the spring. Most perennials may also benefit from being mowed again as fall approaches. When mowing perennials, don’t take off too much at once – just a few inches off the top. Also, don’t mow when the forage plants are stressed, such as during excessively hot or droughty weather.
The top priority when it comes to mowing in the spring is to prevent any weeds or perennial grasses from having a chance to flower (produce seed). If you don’t have weeds or grass in the plot, then mow perennials any time it appears that they’re getting ready to flower. Doing so to prevent flowering can help keep the forage plants even more lush, nutritious and attractive.
Extreme is an exception. If there are no weeds or perennial grasses in the plot, then allow the Persist™ forb in Extreme to flower (produce seed heads), and wait until the seed heads have dried to a dark, reddish brown before mowing. Mowing Extreme after the seed heads have dried will shatter the seed heads and spread the new Persist seed across the plot, thickening the stand. Again, though, only wait to mow Extreme if you don’t have weeds and grass in the plot. Keeping grass and weeds in check is always the first priority with any perennial, including Extreme.
The Institute currently offers five supplement products: Imperial 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral/Vitamin Supplements, and Cutting Edge Initiate, Optimize, and Sustain.
30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein are heavily researched, scientifically formulated mineral / vitamin supplements. 30-06 Plus Protein also contains a 10% protein boost. Cutting Edge, on the other hand, is a line of three full-nutritional supplements, meaning that in addition to supplementing vitamins and minerals, it also contains additional components vital to good health, for example carbohydrates and fat for energy, protein, fiber, fiber-digesting aids, and rumen-buffering. Cutting Edge consists of three separate products, each designed for a specific time during the deer’s annual cycle.
Timing of usage is also going to be a consideration. 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein will primarily be utilized by deer during the 200-day antler growth period (which is also the pregnancy, fawn rearing and lactation period for does) of spring and summer. Cutting Edge Optimize is specifically designed for spring and summer, Sustain for the fall and winter, and Initiate for the period between late winter and spring green-up.
Also consider your intended delivery system. Imperial 30-06 and 30-06 were designed to be used as ground-based licks. Our Cutting Edge supplements can also be used on the ground, but they can also be used in a covered trough feeder. Cutting Edge Sustain and Initiate can be mixed with corn, and Cutting Edge Optimize can be mixed with soybeans at a rate of one 17-pound bag for each 80-100 pounds of Cutting Edge. This should be done in a covered trough feeder. Mixing Cutting edge in this way is very cost-effective.
Most importantly, determine which ones your deer like best. Deer are finicky, and minerals are not too tasty alone. That’s why 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge have different scent and taste enhancers – because you’re deer will likely prefer one or two over the others. We offer mineral sampler packs that you can take out and make several test sites in close proximity to one another and let your deer tell you which they prefer. Just locate a trail through cover between a bedding and a feeding area. Step back off the trail into the woods a few yards, and make three different test sites (instructions are on the bags), and then check back in a week or two. Chances are you'll find that they have used one more heavily than the others. Then you know which supplement to use long-term.
Whitetail Institute supplements are specifically designed for deer. Deer and cattle have different mineral and vitamin needs. Cattle don’t have to re-grow antlers every year. Also, doe milk is highly nutrient dense – much more so than cow’s milk. Minerals and vitamins are critical to bucks in the spring and summer for antler growth. Also consider that unlike cattle, deer are small-ruminants, which means that their digestive requirements are much narrower than those of cattle.
Another big difference between many mineral supplements designed for cattle and true deer minerals is that some products in the cattle category are almost all salt – some over 90%. While salt can be attractive to deer, it does virtually nothing for antler growth.
We recommend using a true, properly formulated mineral specifically designed for deer. Nutritional supplements should have the correct minerals, from the best sources, and in the correct ratios specifically for the particular animal whose diet you are trying to supplement if you want to ensure the best results.
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