Whitetail Oats Plus Planning for the Expected (And the Unexpected)

 When you plant a food plot in fall, what do you expect to get from it? In most cases, the No. 1 reason folks plant fall food plots is to attract and hold deer for hunting season. Whitetail Oats Plus does that — in spades. When it comes to choosing a fall annual to plant, it ought to be sufficient that Whitetail Oats Plus attracts deer as well or better than you expect.

Even so, Whitetail Oats Plus can do more — much more if you know how to take advantage of its versatility.

The Expected: Attraction, Attraction, Attraction

The backbone of Whitetail Oats Plus is an oat variety the Whitetail Institute first heard about years ago, when one of its worldwide agriculture contacts told staffers about it. In Whitetail Institute testing, this variety proved to be more attractive to deer than any other oat the company had tested. The variety had initially been included with other oat varieties in a university research project comparing how well various oats performed as grain producers, but researchers had to “remove it from the tests and shelve it because deer browsed it so heavily.” As you can imagine, the Whitetail Institute was immediately interested in exploring the oat variety’s potential as a deer forage. The company’s initial tests of the oat included evaluating its attractiveness to deer, how well it grew in various climates and other performance characteristics related to food plots. Those tests confirmed what the Institute’s contact had said: The oat variety was high in sugar and extremely attractive to whitetails. The tests also showed the variety is well suited to a broad range of climates, and that it’s winter hardy — another excellent characteristic for any food plot planting. Because of the oat variety’s stellar performance during testing, the Whitetail Institute purchased the rights to the variety and named it Whitetail Oats. It’s the most attractive oat variety for deer the company has tested, and it’s only available in Whitetail Institute products. As excellent as the oat variety is by itself, the Whitetail Institute still wasn’t satisfied it had done everything to maximize food plot performance. So during the next six years, it continued to test Whitetail Oats by itself and blended with other forage varieties to design a Whitetail Oats based food plot product that could max out performance. The result is the Plus in the product’s name: small amounts of winter wheat and triticale the Whitetail Institute included in Whitetail Oats Plus to enhance winter hardiness even more.

The Unexpected

As mentioned, although Whitetail Oats Plus is a tremendous food plot product by itself, it can also do much more. You can also use it as a nurse crop when planting perennials in fall, which yields several benefits. First, Whitetail Oats Plus germinates and grows quickly, and because it’s so attractive, it attracts deer to the plot soon after planting. Second, the fast growth and attractiveness characteristics of Whitetail Oats Plus help it shoulder some of the browsing pressure on the plot as the perennial sprouts and grows. Third, planting a nurse crop of Whitetail Oats Plus with fall-planted perennials can be a great way to hedge your bets against a late-summer or early-fall drought. This is especially true when the perennial seeds planted are coated with the Whitetail Institute’s Rainbond seed coating. Rainbond serves several important functions, but for our purposes, the most important is it helps protect seeds from germinating until sufficient moisture is available in the soil to sustain the seedling. If you plant a nurse crop of Whitetail Oats Plus with fall-planted Whitetail Institute perennials but Mother Nature turns off the water, you’ll likely still be in good shape even if the drought is hard and long. In the worst-case scenario — if there isn’t even enough moisture in the soil to penetrate Rainbond and germinate the perennial seeds — you can still have a highly attractive plot of Whitetail Oats Plus to attract and hold deer until rains return. Planting a nurse crop of Whitetail Oats Plus with a perennial in fall is easy. When planting the perennial, broadcast a light layer (30 to 45 pounds per acre) of Whitetail Oats Plus onto the disked or tilled seedbed right after putting out your fertilizer. Then, smooth the plot to lightly cover the fertilizer and oats. Finally, broadcast the perennial seed at its full seeding rate on top of the smoothed seedbed. (Editor’s note: An article on using Whitetail Oats Plus as a nurse crop appears in this issue on Page 38). As with all Whitetail Institute forage products, the components and their ratios in Whitetail Oats Plus have been exhaustively developed and tested in real-world conditions across the United States and Canada to ensure that Whitetail Oats Plus is the best the company could make. Whitetail Oats Plus is high in sugar and exceptionally attractive to deer. It’s also winterhardy, easy to plant, establishes quickly and begins attracting deer right away. Its cold-tolerance allows it to continue to attract deer longer into winter. Whitetail Oats Plus is designed to thrive in a wide range of soil types, from slightly sandy to heavy bottomland. Loamy to heavy soils are best. One 45-pound bag of Whitetail Oats Plus will plant up to a half acre. For information about Whitetail Oats Plus or to order, visit whitetailinstitute.com, or call (800) 688-3030.