Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant---Welcome to the Jungle

By: Whitetail Institute Staff

Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant is a spring/summer annual designed to get lots of protein into your deer right when they need it most: during spring and summer.
If you’ve planted PowerPlant before, you probably smiled when you read the title of this article, because you’ve seen for yourself how thick and tall PowerPlant can grow. If you’re planning to plant PowerPlant this spring for the first time, though, you’re in for a surprise: PowerPlant is designed to produce tons of succulent, high-protein foliage that deer find irresistible as a forage and a bedding area. The combination makes PowerPlant an extremely beneficial and versatile forage from spring to early fall. In this article, we’ll look at why PowerPlant is such an excellent tool for folks who want to push their deer as far up their genetic- potential ladders as possible. We’ll also answer some questions our in-house consultants regularly receive about PowerPlant and give you some tips on how to get the most out of it.

Why Plant PowerPlant?

Because it is specifically designed to get lots of protein into your deer when they need it most — during spring and summer. Realize that there are two parts to that answer: lots of protein and getting it into your deer. If you’re looking to boost antler size, the forage you select must do both. And PowerPlant does.

Lots of Protein

Need. It’s no secret how important protein is to deer during spring and summer. Bucks, for example, start growing new antlers in early spring. When you consider that antlers are the fastest-growing animal tissue on earth, and that the growing, or velvet antler is about 80 percent collagen (a protein), it really hits home how important protein is during this time. And that’s not just true for bucks — it’s during this same period that does are also going through their own physiological process that require lots of protein, such as pregnancy and, later, producing milk for their fawns.

Natural protein shortfalls. Generally, bucks require an average of about 16 percent protein in their diets and does about 18 percent. Unfortunately, Mother Nature sets a pretty sparse table when it comes to protein. Most natural forages have protein contents in the single digits, and to make matters even worse, many can quickly be exhausted and/or become too stemmy for deer to effectively digest. While natural food sources in the spring are usually enough for bucks to grow antlers and for does to produce healthy fawns and milk, rarely are they anywhere near the levels needed to do what we deer managers want: to give our deer access to the much higher protein levels deer need to be as healthy and grow antlers as big as they can. And that boils down to one thing: If you expect your bucks to realize as much of their genetic potential for antler size as possible, you should supplement naturally available protein during spring and summer. PowerPlant is specifically designed to do just that, and it works.

PowerPlant produces lots of high-protein foliage. Independent university research has shown that PowerPlant produces more high protein forage for deer than any competing product tested.

Into Your Deer

Tonnage alone, though, isn’t enough. Remember what we said earlier? PowerPlant produces lots of protein and gets it into your deer. We’ve already covered protein production. Now, let’s look at why PowerPlant is such a great tool for getting protein into your deer to maximize antler size and herd health.

Forage Quality. The term forage quality is commonly used when describing how well a forage does what you want it to. For purposes of evaluating spring/summer annual plantings for deer, forage quality basically means how well a forage gets protein into your deer and keeps doing it throughout spring and summer. To excel at that, the forage must satisfy several requirements. It must: • produce foliage that’s high in protein • produce a lot of it • keep producing well even after deer start eating it • be highly preferred by deer. It’s important to understand that all these factors enter into the equation. For instance, it does little good to have a high-tonnage, high-protein forage that deer won’t eat. The same is true of a highly attractive high-protein forage that can’t withstand heavy grazing pressure. Consider summer peas, for example. You might be surprised how many times folks who’ve never tried PowerPlant call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants and say something like, “I planted peas for my deer last spring. They grew to about six inches tall, and then the deer quickly wiped them out.” Then again, you might not be surprised if you’ve tried to rely on just peas for a spring/summer deer forage and had the same thing happen. PowerPlant delivers big-time in all these categories because that’s how the Whitetail Institute designed it: specifically for use as a deer forage for spring and summer.

PowerPlant is a Blend of Multiple Plant Varieties. Like other Whitetail Institute forage products, PowerPlant is a blend of multiple plant varieties. Why? Because in most cases, blends of multiple plant varieties can maximize overall performance of the forage stand if the components in the blend have been carefully selected and included in the proper ratios the way the Whitetail Institute does it. And PowerPlant is one of the best examples you’ll find of how well that works. PowerPlant contains two general categories of components that, together, maximize tonnage: forage varieties and structural varieties. Let’s look at each in greater detail.

Forage Components. PowerPlant’s forage components are forage soybeans, Lablab and forage peas. And make no mistake — these are true forage varieties, and that makes a big difference. For example, the soybean in PowerPlant is designed to emphasize foliage production, unlike agricultural soybeans, which are designed for bean production. No doubt, agricultural soybeans are attractive to deer. But they can suffer from early overgrazing, and they can tend to become stemmy and less palatable to deer as they mature. The forage bean in PowerPlant grows in a vine and remains palatable to deer. And when it establishes, it can continue to grow and produce forage for your deer even as it is browsed. 

Structural Components. In addition to the forage varieties mentioned above, Power- Plant contains small amounts of sunflowers and a high-quality wildlife sorghum, which act as a trellis for the vining legumes to climb and maximize production instead of growing along the ground. Each forage and structural component has been carefully selected and then included in the correct ratio with the others for Power- Plant to produce as abundantly as the Whitetail Institute can make it. And as with all its forage products, the Whitetail Institute spares no expense when it comes to research, development and real-world testing of its forage products. The result is a high-protein forage stand that produces heavy tonnage that keeps producing even as deer feed on it, and that is highly attractive to deer —both as a food source and for cover.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Can I plant PowerPlant anytime during the recommended planting dates published by the Whitetail Institute? Yes, provided you also heed this instruction on the front of the bag:

That means a constant soil temperature of 65 degrees day and night. This is very important because of the general nature of spring/summer beans and peas: They’re among the most fragile seeds and cannot handle cool, moist soil. An easy way to be sure you don’t plant too early is to check with a local farmer or farm-supply store to see when farmers in your area plan to plant their agricultural soybeans.

What is the smallest plot the Whitetail Institute recommends for planting Power- Plant? That depends in large part on whether you have what you’d consider normal or heavy deer density. Here are some general rules of thumb regarding plot size:

Should I spray my PowerPlant stand with a herbicide to control competition from grasses and other weeds? No. It’s unnecessary. If you are concerned that grasses or other weeds may overtake your Power- Plant planting, finish your ground preparation a few weeks early, and spray any weeds that return with a Roundup-type glyphosate herbicide a week or so before you plant your PowerPlant.

How long into the fall is PowerPlant designed to last? PowerPlant is designed to last until the first frosts of fall, and then deer will consume any remaining beans and peas.

To keep the site drawing deer after frosts, should I remove the PowerPlant stand during my fall planting dates and replace it with a fall/winter forage? You can certainly do that, but here’s a trick for getting full benefit out of the forage bedding attractiveness of PowerPlant, keeping the plot drawing deer later into the season, and creating a great hunting setup at the same time. Keep in mind the plot size minimums recommended above (one acre in areas of low to medium deer density and 1.5 acres in areas of heavy deer density). Either situation will leave you with a big enough plot to exercise this option. During your fall planting dates, mow some relatively narrow lanes through the growing PowerPlant. Make the lanes so that you allow enough room to plant a fall annual in them but not so wide or so many lanes that you destroy its bedding attraction. Then, lightly till the clippings into the soil. That often results in newly sprouted bean and pea plants, which are highly attractive. Also, plant the lanes in your favorite Whitetail Institute fall annual, such as Pure Attraction, Whitetail Oats Plus, Tall Tine Tubers, Winter-Greens or No-Plow. You’ll find that can keep the plot attracting deer much later into fall and winter. Plus, during the early season before frosts arrive, deer will step from the PowerPlant into the planted lanes all throughout the day, making for a great hunting setup.

When should I order PowerPlant? PowerPlant is usually ready for delivery each year by the first part of March. The Whitetail Institute runs out of stock most years, and when its stock of PowerPlant runs out for the year, it’s gone. So, try to order early if you want to be certain you’ll have the advantage PowerPlant can give you in helping your deer be all they can be. If you have any questions about Power- Plant, give the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants a call at (800) 688-3030. The call and the service are free.