Living Acres

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Nov. 23, 2016
Monarch butterfly resting on common milkweed
Living Acres Initiative receives a High Commendation at Agrow Awards 2016

The Agrow Awards honor individuals and companies that have achieved high standards within the crop protection and agrochemical industry globally. At the 2016 Agrow Awards, BASF North America’s Living Acres initiative was recognized with a High Commendation in the Best Stewardship Programme category.

The Living Acres research initiative launched in 2015 with the goal to help restore the monarch butterfly population by encouraging farmers to establish milkweed habitats in non-cropland areas. Milkweed is essential to maintaining and increasing monarch populations since it serves as the location for mating, a place for monarchs to lay their eggs and a food source for larvae.

Over the past two years, Living Acres has called upon researchers around the country to find best practices for establishing milkweed refuges in over two dozen plots. BASF released its first round of research findings in March 2016, offering farmers best practices for establishing and maintaining milkweed plants in non-production areas.

Living Acres’ growing library of resources will aid farmers in the successful planting and maintenance of milkweed refuges on land not reserved for crops. These tools empower U.S. farmers to promote biodiversity and preserve the revered monarch butterfly species – all while protecting crop productivity.

Growers have always acted as stewards to the land they harvest. By proactively planting milkweed habitats, they are encouraging the growth of monarch butterflies that are essential to an overall healthy ecosystem. Growers will find that their participation in monarch population restoration is empowering, inspiring and energizing. They will see tangible results and will literally watch their efforts take flight.

For more information on Living Acres, visit living-acres.basf.us.

Oct. 28, 2016
Butterfly Garden
Living Acres Butterfly Garden at Farm Progress Show

At this year’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, attendees were greeted at the front gates with an unusual site: a patch of weeds. Not just any weeds, but milkweed, the plant needed by monarch butterflies to reproduce.

Milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars, or larvae, will consume as they grow to become adult butterflies. This makes it a necessary part of their reproductive cycle. BASF is encouraging farmers to plant milkweed in their non-crop areas through its Living Acres initiative to help stimulate the monarch butterfly population.

Many farmers are leery of planting milkweed because it is a weed that has plagued corn and soybean fields in the past. Thanks to new herbicide technologies, that is no longer a concern and milkweed can safely be grown alongside fields to provide habitat for monarchs. Living Acres provided an example of what this habitat could look like on a farmer’s land.

Show attendees did not soak in a manicured, well-maintained garden landscape, but rather a patch of native prairie plants in the first year of growth.

“Many farmers are disappointed in their first year of native plant growth,” said Luke Bozeman, Director of Research and Development, BASF Crop Protection, North America. “It takes about three years for these plants to really establish and become a beautiful stretch of native prairie.”

It is easy to establish native prairie grasses from seed, though wildflowers and milkweed take a little more effort. Wildflowers do best when there is less competitive grass in the seed mix and milkweed has an extremely low and inconsistent germination rate. Growers will see more success planting milkweed root sections with an active bud rather than directly seeding it. Mowing these habitat areas at the end of each season encourages wildflowers and milkweed to return as stronger plants the following year.

Though the Living Acres Butterfly Garden at Farm Progress Show was more grass than flowers, it was teeming with insect life. Bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies and even a handful of monarch caterpillars were spotted in the garden throughout the show.

“We wanted to show farmers that even if the first year of growth seems disappointing, they will be contributing to biodiversity on their farms,” Bozeman said. “Increasing plant diversity in those marginal regions of land will lead to more insect and animal diversity.”

Learn more about how to successfully establish milkweed here.

Oct. 28, 2016
Monarch Numbers
Monarch Butterfly Population Numbers of 2016

Since 1993, butterfly researchers have been keeping records of the monarch population size. In 2013, an all-time low of 0.67 hectares (approximately 32 million monarchs) was documented. This record-setting low is likely the result of a cold period during the first three weeks of May 2013, which restricted movement of the monarchs into the northern breeding range.

To calculate monarch population size, scientists measure the area of forest covered by monarchs while they overwinter in the oyamel fir forests of Mexico. Researchers flag off the areas and determine the amount of hectares the monarchs are covering, which is then used for the official measurement.

In the winter of 2015-2016, good news came from Mexico. Researchers recorded 4.01 hectares of monarchs. This rise indicates nearly 200 million monarchs were blanketing the oyamel fir forests. This significant increase brought the 1994-2016 monarch population average to 5.91 hectares. For the monarch population to be considered stable, a consistency of 6 hectares must be met.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that this upward trend will continue. According to Monarch Watch, all of the data collected on current monarch populations suggest that 2016 will be a near repeat of 2014 due to a late spring weather event in Mexico that drastically reduced the number of adult monarchs making the journey north. They calculated a dismal number of 1.13 hectares. It is unlikely that the overwintering numbers will surpass 2 hectares.

The low number of monarchs that moved north from Texas in early summer, which resulted in these low-sighting numbers, reflect the mortality rates from a heavy sleet storm that swept through the oyamel forests in early March. While some butterflies had already started their migration north at that time, a majority of the overwintering population had not yet departed.

Rather than a discouragement, this decrease should act as a motivation. All landowners can still take steps to promote monarch development, including planting native milkweed in their gardens and non-cropland areas.

As the year goes on, check back for updates on the final overwintering number for the 2016-2017 winter. Stay informed by visiting living-acres.basf.us.

Oct. 28, 2016
Seed Storage
How to Store Milkweed Seeds

Whether you have mature milkweed growing in your backyard, have an avid milkweed-growing friend or know of a public patch of milkweed – fall is the time to harvest the seeds. While there are numerous online videos on how to harvest the seeds from mature milkweed pods, the question that arises is how to store these seeds until the appropriate planting time in spring.

Dried milkweed seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place. Use a sealable plastic bag or a paper bag, folded over and stapled shut, to protect the seeds from mice and insects. Many milkweed growers also label the bag with the milkweed species and the harvest year.

If you are planning to plant this fall’s harvested milkweed seeds next spring, it is best to store them in your refrigerator. This will give the seeds the vernalization (a fancy term for cold treatment) needed to come out of dormancy and sprout when planted.

According to Monarch Watch, the best way to achieve the required vernalization is through stratification. In horticulture, stratification is the process of treating stored seeds prior to planting to mimic natural winter conditions that a seed needs for germination.

To stratify milkweed seeds, some planters will store their refrigerated seeds in moist potting soil. However, if you prefer not to keep potting soil in your fridge, an alternative is to keep the seeds between moist paper towels. This method will prevent fungi and bacteria from attacking the cell. If the seeds do not receive vernalization and stratification, the percentage of seeds that germinate decreases dramatically. You can also improve germination rates by soaking refrigerated seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting.

Another way to stratify seeds is to plant them in the ground for the winter. After harvesting milkweed seeds, gather them in a mesh bag. The toe of a pair of nylons works well. Dig a small hole roughly 2 to 4 inches deep and place the mesh bag in the hole. Loosely cover with soil. Make sure to mark the spot you planted your seeds so you can easily find them the following spring.

Finally, apply scarification to your stored seeds. Some seed coats require physical agents to aid in the breaking down of the seed coat. Accomplish this by placing the seeds in a container with course sand or salt and shaking it for 30 seconds.

By following these steps, you will increase the likeliness of a successful milkweed grow rate. For more information on how to plant and tend to your milkweed, visit living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 30, 2016
Monarchs on Tree
Southern Migration

The monarch migration is an annual occurrence that leaves many scientists and butterfly enthusiasts in awe, and for good reason. No other tropical butterfly travels as far as the monarch, which flies between 50 to 100 miles in a day. Monarchs are also the only butterfly species to make a two-way migration path.

Typically, beginning in October, monarchs begin their migration south because they are unable to survive long, cold winters, unlike other insects in temperate climates. Monarchs that spend the summer to the west of the Rocky Mountains stay within the United States and stay in the groves of eucalyptus trees along the California coast.

Monarchs east of the Rockies fly out of the U.S. and overwinter in the oyamel fir forests of Mexico. The oyamel fir forests are located at an elevation of nearly 2 miles above sea level, which provides the monarchs with the ideal climate. The temperature ranges from 32 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity levels ensure the butterflies do not dry out allowing them to conserve their energy.  

When traveling southward, the monarchs follow multiple flyways. The flyways used by eastern monarchs eventually merge into a single flyway in central Texas. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this journey is the fact that every year a new migrating generation makes the trip to overwintering roosts that they have never visited before. Yet they are able to find the same flyways and arrive at the same spots as the generations before them.

While researchers know that migration timing is determined by seasonal changes, like day length and temperature, they are still investigating what directional aids monarchs use to return to the same overwintering sites every year. One convincing study suggests that the butterflies use the magnetic pull of the earth.

Since monarchs only travel during the day, they tend to find overnight roosting spots, typically in pine, fir and cedar trees. During cold fall evenings, monarchs will cluster in colonies in order to stay warm. Similar behavior can be observed when the monarchs are congregated within the oyamel forests.

Once the monarchs reach their destination, they settle in for the winter. As the season closes, and temperatures start to warm and days become longer, the monarchs become reproductive, breed and lay the next generation of remarkable monarch butterflies.

To learn more about how BASF is trying preserve this incredible creature, explore living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 29, 2016
Small Milkweed Plantings
Living Acres: The Research

Over the last year, BASF has taken to the research fields to find the best practices for planting milkweed. The first trial took place during the summer of 2015 in Holly Springs, North Carolina. This initial study had one goal in mind: figure out how to grow milkweed.

During the inaugural Living Acres research trial, scientists at BASF observed the way milkweed plants were established from various methods of planting, such as planting seeds, root stalk or transplants. They planted two species of milkweed, common milkweed and butterfly milkweed. The first year of research found that milkweed is quite difficult to grow from seed. The milkweed plants of either species that did best were those that grew from transplants. Root stalk and then seeds were the next most successful plantings. Since seedlings require a time-intensive process to begin, the recommendation from this initial study is to plant milkweed root stalk sections for the easiest and most successful start to a milkweed stand.

Much to their surprise, researchers found monarch butterflies on the plants the first year including larvae and several chrysalides. Many of the chrysalides found on the Holly Springs farm were several feet away from the milkweed plot. After doing a bit of secondary research, the team found that monarch larvae can crawl hundreds of feet from where they hatch to find safe places to undergo metamorphosis.

This summer, two additional milkweed research plots were planted at the Seymour, Illinois and Story City, Iowa research farms. These two news plots, as well as the Holly Springs plot, were planted in non-cropland areas around the farm. Ditches, river embankments and CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) lands were utilized to demonstrate where a farmer might plant milkweed and the trials they might face in establishing milkweed in these areas.

And the plots were not without trials. The milkweed in Story City was hit with a heavy hail storm soon after planting and then contended with a period of significant drought. The milkweed at the Seymour location had fierce competition from the existing plants and grasses in the CRP land.

There were surprises with these plots as well. The CRP land in Seymour was already chock-full of native common milkweed plants, with some even crossing paths with the research plots planted there.

The official findings from these plots are still pending, but there have been takeaways from this summer’s research. There does not appear to be any encroachment of milkweed into production fields, as seen by the native milkweed in Seymour. Young milkweed plants started from seedling transplants or root stalk are more competitive than expected, even under significant stress. Next spring will reveal whether milkweed suffering hail and drought damage can rebound to produce strong, healthy plants that can support monarch butterfly reproduction.

Stay up-to-date with the latest milkweed and monarch butterfly news from BASF by following us on Twitter.

Aug. 26, 2016
Monarch on Milkweed
Maintaining Migration: What Matters When Planting for Pollinators

Each year, monarch butterflies take on an incredible journey in pursuit of survival. Millions of monarchs travel together to warmer regions like Mexico and California for the winter. Since many monarchs live in the Corn Belt, this trek can span across 3,000 miles. It’s easy to imagine that any monarch, that is traveling up to 100 miles per day, will build up quite the appetite along the way. Luckily, farmers can help fuel the travelers’ journey by planting nourishing pollinator plants along the route, and with a little upfront research, farmers can get a good start on supporting biodiversity in their communities.

Variety Matters

Like other pollinators, monarch butterflies count on a variety of vegetation as a source of food and shelter. A general variety ensures that monarchs receive the resources they need, but choosing the right variety is important for sustaining a specific region’s ecosystem.

Choosing native plant varieties when planting on a farmstead is important because the plants found naturally in the area are best suited for the local climate and wildlife. Non-native plants can quickly become invasive and endanger the wellbeing of other vegetation. Farmers should look up which varieties are native to their own region before planting.

Diversity Matters

Diversity in what farmers plant helps support a wide spectrum of pollinators and gives all species a range of nourishment. When choosing which plants to include in their efforts, farmers should take into account the lifecycle of each plant. A good mix of vegetation ensures that there will be plenty of plants in full bloom throughout the April to October growing season.

In addition to flowering plants, other natural resources should be considered when selecting what to include in a pollinator garden. Grasses can provide valuable ground cover that can help control weed competition and reduce soil erosion, ultimately supporting the longevity of the garden. A mix of trees, shrubs and other plants provides shelter and protection to visiting monarchs. Nutritional elements not supplied by nectar plants can be obtained by leaving fruit in the garden to rot and degrade into its core vitamins and minerals.

Methodology Matters

To establish the most impactful gardens for monarchs, certain planting techniques should be followed. Planting in tight groups rather than spread across a large area helps make it easier for monarchs to find the pit stop along their way.

Farmers should also research the best way to grow each plant. Some species can successfully emerge and develop from seed, while others require planting at a later growth stage. Research conducted in 2015 as part of the Living Acres initiative from BASF found that milkweed, a plant that provides valuable shelter for monarchs and food for their larvae, best grows from planted rootstalk.

Location Matters

Since much of the land beneath the monarch’s winter flight is a farmer’s acreage, pollinator plants can be incorporated right into the farmstead. Another research focus of Living Acres evaluates where farmers can establish supporting vegetation alongside their high-production operation. Non-cropland areas like roadways, ditches, and areas next to machine sheds and storage structures make great spaces to plant without encroaching on yield-producing real estate.

Now What?

After learning what monarchs need during their migration and how to best support their journey, it’s time to get started. There is a variety of resources available to help farmers take the first step:

  • This tool, developed by the Pollinator Partnership, generates a detailed report of plant varieties native to a region based on the zip code entered.
  • This webpage from BASF houses helpful videos, audio clips and print materials on monarch butterflies.
  • This marketplace from Monarch Watch connects farmers with milkweed varieties that are native to their region.

To learn more about the monarch butterfly population and efforts to support it, please visit living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 24, 2016
Plant milkweed in sunny areas alongside high production agriculutre. Use gloves such as the black ones seen here to transplant common milkweed plants.
Easy as Growing Weeds: Establishing Milkweed for Monarchs

Growing weeds, as you surely know, couldn’t be easier. So if you’re thinking about creating a milkweed refuge for monarch butterflies on your land, you’ll be glad to learn that maintaining the plants is as easy as, well, growing weeds. Monarchs, those stained-glass windows on wings, are graceful pollinators that rely on common milkweed both for their feeding and reproduction sites. In fact, milkweed is the only plant they will lay their eggs on.

After overwintering in Mexico, monarchs begin their journey north to Canada in early spring – but not before an extended summer honeymoon in the Corn Belt to begin their families. That’s when they have to contend with our agricultural success.
We’ve been very successful at eradicating weeds, especially in the north-central United States. Which happens to be the same region where two or three generations of butterflies usually procreate in the summer.

The resulting habitat loss has been a factor in the reduced monarch population, leading some to call for their addition to the endangered species list. It’s also spurred many farmers – the original stewards of the land – to create milkweed communities that can help sustain the butterflies’ numbers.  

It’s a worthy effort that may be easier than you think.

  1. Pick a sunny spot
    The first thing to do when establishing a milkweed refuge is to scope out a plot of land that’s apart from your planted acreage. Pick a spot that gets at least six hours of daily sun.
  2. Select seeds, seedlings or root segments
    Next, decide whether to plant seeds, seedling plants or root buds. For a quick and vigorous start, we recommend starting with root segments from mature plants. It’s the sturdiest option and will quickly get your plantings off to a strong start. And if you’re establishing milkweeds in small patches, space them about 3 feet apart.
  3. Include other nectar sources
    Monarchs benefit from diverse nectar sources, so consider adding other flowering plants to the area while you’re planting milkweed.
  4. Don’t fertilize, rarely water – just relax and watch the (milk)weeds grow!
    Check occasionally for pest insects like aphids, which can delay the spread of milkweed population. But there’s no need to fertilize.

And don’t apply a herbicide for the first year of growth. For competing vegetation, occasional mowing or tillage is fine. But once milkweed plants have been established for a year, they can usually withstand some competition.

Then stand back and watch the milkweeds grow. You’ll find that very little watering is needed, except in extremely dry conditions. The plants go dormant in the winter and will come back reliably year after year.

With very little effort, you’ll soon raise a healthy community of milkweed. Individual milkweed plants are fast growers and can easily produce 50 plants in two or three years, populating an area of 10 feet in diameter – and inviting scores of monarchs.

By now, most monarchs have begun their southern migration, bound for winter roosting sites. But if you’ve created a milkweed refuge and happen to spy some late-summer lingerers, go ahead and take some of credit.

You’ve made such a welcoming sanctuary that your summer guests are reluctant to leave.

Aug. 22, 2016
Plant native varieties of milkweed such as this common milkweed with purple flowers and cone shaped leaves
Native Milkweed and Where to Get It

The monarch butterfly population has been in a steep decline for the past 22 years. Luckily, one of the contributing factors to the decline – the loss of milkweed habitat, has an easy remedy that nearly every landowner can support. Simply by planting milkweed in non-cropland areas, farmers and garden hobbyists will contribute to the ongoing effort of increasing the monarch population.

There are over 100 species of milkweed native to North America, offering a wide variety to choose from when planning a milkweed habitat. It is important to ensure that the milkweed variety you decide to plant is native to the state where you are living. By planting native species, you are increasing the chances of successful growth and decreasing the amount of maintenance the plant will need, quite simply because the plant is already accustomed to the soil and climate.

The easiest way to determine native milkweed species is to visit the Biota of North America Program’s website and view their maps to see which species of Asclepias (the scientific name of milkweed) is present in your state.

Local nurseries will also have knowledge on native milkweed species and are even likely to carry some. Monarch Watch has even published a list of more than 200 vendors that sell native milkweeds in various regions across the U.S. If your local nursery does not carry any milkweed, they may be able to place an order for you.

When you are browsing for your native milkweed, try to track down root sections over seeds. Though it is common to plant milkweed seeds, only a small percentage of planted seeds germinate. Seedlings are also non-competitive and are easily overrun by other plants, making it difficult to establish a vigorous milkweed refuge from seed. Planting root sections with active buds results in the most successful establishment. The plants grown from root sections are typically much more vigorous than transplants in the first year of growth.

To ensure your milkweed habitat returns every summer, Living Acres researchers have developed best planting practices for sustainable milkweed. By following the seven steps, you can ensure that your milkweed is returning in time for the monarch’s migration period.

To learn more, explore living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 19, 2016
Aerial view of a farm in the winter
Where to Plant Milkweed

By identifying and planting milkweed in land not used for crops, American farmers can play a key role in maintaining and restoring the monarch population. Besides creating a habitat for butterflies, cultivating milkweed and nectar plants in non-crop areas provides a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control.
When first considering planting milkweed, some farmers might not realize how many non-crop areas actually exist as options. However, after inspection, there are quite a few non-crop areas on farms where it is advantageous to plant milkweed, including:

  • Grassy areas between grain bins or next to tractor sheds
  • Around garden edges
  • Unproductive portions of fields where there is little encroachment into a clean field
  • Alongside alleyways, fencerows, roadsides or in ditches
  • Near railroad and power transmission rights-of-way
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands
  • In between brushy or wooded areas

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 9 million highway miles exist in the United States. In addition, there are more than 5 million acres of land within utility rights-of-way. By planting milkweed and other nectar plants in these types of areas, farmers are supporting both biodiversity and a flourishing monarch butterfly population.

Creating a successful monarch habitat takes as little as a few square feet. The ideal location is a sunny spot that offers some protection from the wind as most milkweed species seem to thrive in open areas that have full sun exposure. Sunny, open locations also make it easier for the monarchs to spot the milkweed.

Be sure to select milkweed species that are native to the location where they will be planted. Growing milkweeds within their native range means the plants will adapt well to soil and weather conditions and require less maintenance.

(Note: Avoid planting milkweed in livestock-grazing land because of the potential toxicity of milkweed to mammals.)

To learn more, explore living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 17, 2016
What is Living Acres?

The monarch butterfly is iconic to North American summers. Adults today can easily recognize this insect as memories flood back of excitedly huddling around a terrarium with fellow fourth-graders to watch a furry caterpillar turn into the mesmerizing adult butterfly. Generations of students have learned about the importance of this pollinator and the essential role it has in sustaining healthy ecosystems.

Over the past two decades, the monarch has seen a significant decline in population due in part to changing weather patterns, loss of overwintering sites in Mexico and the reduction of milkweed habitat in the United States. Milkweed is essential to maintaining and increasing monarch populations since it serves as the location for mating, a place to lay their eggs and a food source for larvae.

With this knowledge at hand, BASF launched Living Acres, a research initiative dedicated to finding best practices for establishing milkweed refuges in non-cropland areas. BASF recognizes that farmers are uniquely positioned as stewards of the land and experts in cultivating crops to help increase milkweed habitat for monarch butterflies.

Since the launch of the initiative in 2015, researchers have found that by investing time upfront to establish milkweed, farmers can expect the perennial to support itself year after year with minimal effort. To ensure farmers are planting milkweed in the most successful manner, BASF has released a guide for best planting practices.

By analyzing 13 plots around the country, researchers found that milkweed flourishes when using root sections or transplants for the planting process. Though it is common to plant milkweed seeds, only a small percentage of planted seeds germinate. For the seeds that do germinate, the seedlings are non-competitive and easily overtaken by other plants. This makes it difficult to establish a vigorous milkweed refuge from seed. Planting root sections with active buds or directly transplanting seedlings results in the most successful establishment. Additionally, the plants grown from root sections are typically much more vigorous than transplants in the first year of growth.

The ongoing research effort will continue to provide recommendations for planting milkweed to maximize monarch habitat and biodiversity all while allowing farmers to focus on crop production. The goal of the project is to use BASF’s strength in research to provide farmers, and the community at-large, with a set of best practices that will make for effective and efficient milkweed establishment, ultimately benefiting monarch butterflies and the ecosystem as a whole.

To learn more, explore living-acres.basf.us.

Aug. 17, 2016
The Problem

The monarch migration through North America is a natural phenomenon. As the only butterfly that makes an annual two-way migration, the monarch has captured the attention of scientists and nature enthusiasts across the continent. Butterfly experts began keeping record of population sizes in 1993 and have since seen a 68 percent decline in numbers, leading to the question, “What is happening to the monarchs?”

Multiple factors have contributed to this staggering drop in population, including changing weather patterns, the loss of overwintering sites in Mexico and the reduction of milkweed habitat in the United States. Over the last decade, massive Pacific weather systems have moved through central Mexico. These systems brought heavy rain, hail, high winds and even freezing temperatures in January and February of 2002, 2004 and 2010. The severe weather conditions ushered in mortality rates ranging from 50 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2002, devastating monarch overwintering populations.

Another issue facing the monarch population is the demolition of oyamel fir forests in Mexico, a common overwintering site for the butterflies. Monarchs prefer oyamel fir because it serves as a blanket and umbrella during the winter, protecting them from extreme cold and precipitation. According to Lincoln Brower, service professor of zoology emeritus at the University of Florida, the oyamel forests are the Achilles’ heel of the monarch.

While there are multiple government regulations and incentives put into place to preserve the oyamel firs, these efforts have not proven very effective. Illegal logging accounts for most the encroachment on monarch habitat. Even so, authorized extraction for firewood and timber adds to the overall loss of trees. Other strains on the landscape, including unregulated tourism and climate change, contribute to the decline of overwintering sites.

However, the biggest contributor to this decline may be the loss of milkweed habitat in the United States. Milkweed is essential to the monarch’s reproductive cycle. It serves as the location for mating, egg laying and larval feeding. Without milkweed, monarchs struggle to make their annual commute through America’s heartland.

Luckily, milkweed habitat loss is easy to fix and nearly every landowner can help make a difference. Living Acres, a research initiative from BASF, aims to increase the amount of milkweed habitat in non-crop areas on farms. Already, this initiative has led to the development of best planting practices for sustainable milkweed. For instance, though it is common to plant milkweed by seeding, only a small number of common milkweed seeds germinate. For this reason, researchers suggest that farmers establish milkweed through a planting process using root sections or transplanted seedlings. Following the seven steps outlined in the planting guide will optimize the success of milkweed habitat creation, allowing farmers to increase biodiversity while focusing on crop production.

To learn more, visit living-acres.basf.us.

 
 

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