BASF releases results of milkweed and monarch butterfly study

The 2015 research determined creating milkweed refuges will take time but will support itself over the years with minimal effort. | File photo

Living Acres, the BASF biodiversity research initiative, recently released its first-year findings from the Holly Springs, North Carolina research on increasing the monarch butterfly population by planting milkweed on non-crop areas. 

The 2015 research determined creating milkweed refuges will take time but will support itself over the years with minimal effort.

“Sustainability and biodiversity are two important areas of focus for BASF,” Max Safarpour, department head of  Global Regulatory and Government Affairs, said. “Living Acres puts years of research and development experience to work to find a way for biodiversity to exist alongside modern agriculture.”

The study revealed milkweed plants are best when established with root sections, and planting from root stock or buds is the preferred method to elicit the greatest impact.

“Plants from root sections are much more vigorous than seedlings and will grow rapidly,” Harold Coble, professor emeritus of the faculty of North Carolina State University, said “They can easily reach up to 6 feet in height under good growing conditions.”

Coble has identified seven steps that will yield the best milkweed plant yield in non-production areas: seed/root, pot, plant, spread, water, grow and mow.

“As we increase our biodiversity efforts, BASF will continue to partner with farmers to help them continue to be excellent stewards of the land,” Safarpour said.

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