Almy: A clover blend worth trying

When the founder of Bassmasters, Ray Scott, decided to try to find the best food landowners could plant for attracting and holding whitetail deer, little did he know he was starting a multi-billion dollar wildlife food plot industry. The time was the late 1980s, and his first offering was a blend of agricultural clovers deer especially liked in experiments he did on his property in Alabama.

Soon Scott realized that he probably could create an even better clover, one specially designed to meet the needs of America’s most popular game animal. He hired a skilled agronomist and over years of experimenting they developed a special blend of clovers, several of them the proprietary offerings of his company, the Whitetail Institute of North America. Hunters and land managers bought the offering and had spectacular results.

Soon the company expanded to offer other wildlife seeds for sportsmen who wanted to give back to the land and help wildlife. I’ve used many of those and they are all excellent. Some of them include oats and brassicas, good for fall planting. Others are mixtures of soybeans, lablab, sorghum and other plants for summer plots. That product goes under the name Power Plant. But my favorite Whitetail Institute product of all is still their Imperial Whitetail Clover.

Clover itself is fairly easy to establish and provides high protein level. And when perennial types are used, they can provide a food plot that lasts 3-5 years, sometimes even longer. A number of other wildlife seed companies now offer different mixtures of clover. But most have been simply blends of seeds they’ve found that deer like and that were already available and well-known for farming and agriculture. Now that’s changed.

Another company is now offering an exclusive clover for deer hunters that is only available through them. It’s called Non-Typical Clover and is offered by the well-known company, Mossy Oak Biologic. The new clover it consists of is called “Critical Mass.”

Says Bobby Cole, President of Mossy Oak: “it’s a true ladino and it is ours exclusively. We were attracted to the many great characteristics this clover has for wildlife. It is hands down the easiest to establish and latest to go to flower that we’ve ever seen.”

The clover is new, so I can’t report on my personal results, but from the early reports from several years of field testing, it has produced great results.

The clover comes up fast and grows aggressively when competing with grasses and weeds. It has a large leaf so a deer can fill his belly with fewer bites and get more nutrition for a given period of feeding. And the protein content is high. Testers in northern states have found it comes back strong after cold winters and stays green well into fall.

The clover has proven durable to heavy grazing pressure from deer and has an expected lifespan of 3-5 years, though it may last even longer than that.

Austin Delano, of BioLogic, says “One of the first observations the research team made in testing the Critical Mass variety of clover was the quick establishment and substantial initial growth. In addition to its aggressive growth, it produced a lot of forage. Non-Typical averaged right at three tons of forage per acre.”

No, I’ll never give up my plots of brassicas, oats, wheat, and summer products such as Eagle Seed’s Roundup Ready Soybeans or the Whitetail Institute’s Power Plant. But for the backbone of my food plot program, a plant that produces a bountiful supply of high-protein food from early spring through late fall is hard to beat. And that plant is white clover.

I’ll certainly still be putting plenty of Imperial Whitetail Clover in the ground. But along with those plantings there will be a few test plots of this new kid on the block – Non-Typical, from Plantbiologic.com.

My hunch is it will be a winner.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.