To tell the story of Alfa-Rack Plus, the best place to begin is in the research. When this research started there were three main characteristics we wanted to improve. First, we wanted to improve the ease of establishment and the food plot longevity. The alfalfa plant can sometimes be a difficult plant to grow and maintain. Soil conditions and plot maintenance need to be much more exact than with many other forage types. When the original Alfa-Rack product was developed, it incorporated alfalfa varieties that were, at the time, the easiest to establish and hardiest varieties available. The Whitetail Institute research staff knew, however, that as new technology became available, improvements could be made that could make the product perform even better.
Second, we all know how deer love alfalfa. However, certain characteristics can make one alfalfa more attractive than another. Again, the original Alfa-Rack contained grazing alfalfa varieties that were the most attractive to deer at that time. But, developing varieties and blends that were even more attractive could give you obvious benefits.
Finally, we wanted to make Alfa-Rack more drought resistant. Alfa-Rack contains alfalfa varieties that have very deep taproots, which can amazingly grow 2 FEET DEEP. Therefore, Alfa-Rack is already highly drought resistant. Improved drought resistance, however, is something that can always make a better food plot.
X-9 Alfalfa Technology
With these three goals in mind, the research staff at the Whitetail Institute began a testing program using many different varieties and blends of alfalfa. Each was tested for the specific characteristics that were needed to achieve the research goal. After countless trials, a break-through was made when a blend was discovered using specifically selected new-technology grazing alfalfas. The Institute found that when these new-technology grazing alfalfas were blended in a specific ratio, dramatic improvements were made. This new-technology grazing alfalfa blend is called X-9 Alfalfa Technology.
The key to X-9 Alfalfa Technology is in the blend and the plant breeding. While each of the grazing alfalfas found in Alfa-Rack Plus have individual strengths, alone they cannot supply all of the vital characteristics needed in a quality alfalfa-based food plot. Instead, each alfalfa variety comprising the X-9 Alfalfa Technology blend contributes qualities that, when combined, produce an alfalfa blend with unbeatable characteristics.
First, X-9 Alfalfa Technology makes Alfa-Rack Plus easier and faster to establish than traditional alfalfa varieties. X-9 Alfalfa Technology makes Alfa-Rack Plus re-grow faster when browsed and produce more total yield than traditional alfalfa varieties. This is all due to the fact that the alfalfa varieties comprising X-9 Alfalfa Technology have been produced through new and innovative breeding. In other words, these alfalfa varieties were bred to show these characteristics.
Next, X-9 Alfalfa Technology makes Alfa-Rack Plus more attractive and more digestible to deer. Once again, breeding is the key. These new alfalfa varieties are thinner stemmed and heavier leaved than traditional alfalfa. In most cases, the thicker the stem of alfalfa, the harder it is for deer to digest. This is because as the stem thickens, it produces higher amounts of indigestible cell wall components called lignin. It is also due to the thinner stem and more leaves that make Alfa-Rack Plus more attractive to deer. If you have ever noticed how deer feed in a traditional alfalfa hay field, you will understand how thin stems and more vegetative leaves affect deer usage. Typically, when an alfalfa hay field is young and short, deer use the field heavily. After time, as the alfalfa plants grow and mature, deer use the field significantly less. At full maturity, deer may use the alfalfa hay field little or not at all. This is because as the hay variety alfalfa grows, its stems get larger and harder for deer to digest and the leaves become less vegetative. On the other hand, the grazing alfalfas found in Alfa-Rack Plus are small stemmed and highly digestible, even in the early stages of maturity, making Alfa-Rack Plus much more attractive for a longer period of time.
The new technology also increases the longevity, or life, of the food plot. It does this by targeting factors that typically contribute to the death of a food plot. First, Alfa-Rack Plus is extremely cold and heat tolerant. Like the original Alfa-Rack product, Alfa-Rack Plus is blended for specific regions. The blends for colder northern climates are very cold hardy and the blends for southern warmer climates are heat tolerant. X-9 Alfalfa Technology takes heat and cold tolerance to a whole new level, increasing the longevity of the food plot. It also makes Alfa-Rack Plus much more disease resistant. This enables Alfa-Rack Plus to not only have a longer life span, but also offers a food plot option in parts of the country where traditional alfalfas would have difficulty growing due to a tendency for disease problems.
Benefits of Chicory
Alfa-Rack Plus has also been enhanced by the addition of chicory. Chicory is a highly drought tolerant plant that is attractive to deer, especially in late summer and early fall. Chicory, like alfalfa, is very high in protein. In fact, protein levels in chicory can reach as high as 46 percent. Chicory has received a lot of press lately in terms of being used in food plots. But be warned, food plots of chicory alone have many limitations and not all chicory varieties work well for deer food plots. There are many varieties that are not as attractive to deer. The chicory used in Alfa-Rack Plus has been tested thoroughly and chosen specifically based on deer attraction and nutrition. With the addition of chicory, Alfa-Rack Plus has become even more drought tolerant than the original Alfa-Rack. Again, this enables Alfa-Rack Plus to be planted in a wider geographic range and be more effective.
Alfalfa has always been a great planting for food plots. When Alfa-Rack was introduced, the Whitetail Institute took alfalfa-based food plots to the next level. Now, the Institute has yet again advanced alfalfa-based food plots with Alfa-Rack Plus. The combination of X-9 Alfalfa Technology, chicory and Imperial Whitetail Clover produces an alfalfa-based food plot that is easier to establish, produces greater yield, is more heat, cold and disease resistant, is drought tolerant; and is more attractive than any traditional alfalfa or alfalfa blend ever used for deer food plots. If you want an alfalfa based food plot, Alfa-Rack Plus is simply the best choice, thanks to continuing research and technology.