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Thursday, May 7, 2015

An Issue to Keep on the Radar: The Monarch Population


Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.


The cast of buzzword characters are always the same when it comes to rising environmental issues and what the public want to blame for the cause.

But we already addressed bees, what's the issue now?

Enter the Monarch butterfly population - or the rapidly declining population - if you will.

Monarch numbers began to dwindle due to illegal logging operations in Mexico, but the problem didn't stop there. Loss of habit from urban expansion, land management practices and environmental factors such as drought and hard winters have had a detrimental impact of the Monarch population.

Wait, logging in Mexico, weather, urban expansion? How does this relate to Kentucky farmers?

Farmers are the ultimate caretakers of the land and Monarchs fall into the pollinator category, making the two potential BFF's and as the Beatles said, "We get by with a little help from our friends."

Monarch caterpillars thrive on Milkweed. Milkweed, a herbaceous perennial, grows as a wildflower. The plants grow to about three feet tall and flowers globes of fragment pink variety blooms. Consider planting them in conservation buffers or a small patch in the yard, out of the way of crop fields. Because milkweed does easily spread, KyCorn recommends contacting your local NRCS or Ag Extension Agent for best management practices.

A list of other excellent plants for pollinators, provided by Pulaski Co. Extension, can be found here

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