Chicory Plus -- What's the "Plus"?

When it comes to forage products for whitetail food plots, there’s no question that Imperial Whitetail Clover rules the roost. It is the gold standard — the Number One food plot planting in the world, and it has been so since the beginning of the food plot industry. That being said, you might wonder why the Institute would also offer Imperial Whitetail Chicory Plus, a blend of Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA perennial forage chicory. In other words, “What’s the plus?”

The answer’s pretty simple: WINA's customers demanded it. And as always, the Institute was listening. One of the things that make Institute products unique is that each is designed to meet a specific set of conditions and circumstances a customer might be faced with. No-Plow and Secret Spot, for example, are designed for customers who need to establish a highquality food plot in areas with widely varying soil and climate conditions and where equipment access is limited. The Institute’s other forage products are designed to meet the wide array of situations customers across North America face with regard to soil types, slopes, climate, and even the specific goal they want a forage in a specific plot to serve in the context of their overall food plot systems. That’s why the Institute offers such a wide variety of forage products: Every customer’s needs are different, and Chicory Plus is a prime example.

Imperial Whitetail Clover and Chicory Plus are perennial blends designed for the same soil types (good soils that hold moisture). So why does the Institute make Chicory Plus? What’s to be gained by planting Chicory Plus instead of Imperial Whitetail Clover? The answer lies in what I said earlier: Whitetail Institute forage blends are  designed to deliver the best performance in a given set of conditions,
and that’s why it went with Chicory Plus. The “Plus” refers to specific situations in which the chicory component of the blend might help the Imperial Whitetail Clover component meet a customer’s needs even better.

One situation that has occurred more often than usual the past few years, especially in the Deep South, is a trend of excessively hot, dry weather during late summer and early fall. Imperial Whitetail Clover is extremely heat- and drought-tolerant. In times of excessive heat and drought, Imperial clover can protect itself by slowing production. The combination of Imperial Clover and WINA perennial forage chicory in Chicory Plus helps keep the plot highly attractive and nutritious even through periods of unusually hot dry weather until milder temperatures and rains return.

The WINA chicory in Chicory Plus can also keep the plot even more nutritious and attractive at the opposite end of the weather spectrum, when conditions turn unusually cold in early fall. Anyone who has planted Imperial Whitetail Clover knows that deer feed heavily on it in early fall as colder weather approaches, and the additional WINA chicory component in Chicory Plus can provide more tonnage when the weather turns cold and allow them even better access to the forage
in the snow.

Chicory Plus also provides additional variety to deer. There’s no doubt that Imperial Whitetail Clover is incredibly attractive to deer. Even so, variety can generally increase the attraction of the best forage even further. That is, as long as the other plants used to provide that variety are also highly palatable and attractive.

And WINA chicory is just that. Before WINA perennial forage chicory was available to the food plot market, most chicory varieties planted for deer were somewhat stemmy and had leathery, waxy leaves — not the most palatable features to highly selective whitetails. WINA chicory is vastly more tender than such traditional chicories, so much so that one can even see the difference. WINA chicory is visibly lighter and less stemmy, and its leaves are far less waxy than other chicories.

To summarize, Imperial Whitetail Clover is still the Number One food plot planting in the world, and Chicory Plus doesn’t change that fact. Instead, it allows food plotters the additional flexibility to meet even more specific needs. Now you know why the Institute named it Chicory Plus: It provides all the benefits of its Imperial Whitetail Clover plus the increased heat-and drought resistance, cold tolerance and variety provided by WINA perennial forage chicory. In that way, Chicory Plus is just another example of the Institute’s customer-driven approach to everything it does.