Monarchs are all the craze! Rightfully so, as their migration pattern is a true expression nature which is to be appreciated by the most layperson.

Monarchs and Milkweeds

Species of milkweed plants are responsible for the butterflies’ food source during early stages of life. The number of milkweed plants has been negatively affected by many cultural practices throughout multiple industries. Therefore, numerous initiatives have been developed throughout North America to plant milkweeds in areas such as: roadway medians, flower beds, school yards, etc .

There are numerous species of milkweeds throughout North America. However, the availability of many of the species of milkweed seed has troubled the conservation and restoration communities and their respective initiatives to plant milkweeds. There are only a few milkweed species that can economically be produced, and therefore, be offered on the market. This creates a problem for some of the areas within the migration path…that problem is: there are no seeds of the region-specific milkweed species for the given area.

No Milkweed? No Problem

So, if there is no milkweed seed available for your region what do you do? Chris Helzer, Nature Conservancy’s Director of Science in Nebraska, has a great blog related to other necessary strategies of Monarch habitat conservation. These necessary strategies include ensuring that nectar-rich native forb species are available for adult feeding throughout the migration.

Chris says, “In addition [to planting milkweeds], protecting and restoring the wildflower-rich grasslands and other natural areas that provide food for adult monarchs, as well as for thousands of bee and other pollinator species, is also vitally important.” Furthermore, “A healthy prairie with a diverse wildflower community is invaluable to bees and other pollinators, and also provides nectar resources needed by monarch butterfly adults. If that prairie contains vibrant populations of milkweed species that provide egg-laying habitat to monarchs, that’s even better. Many prairies don’t currently have strong milkweed populations. Some milkweed species are not strong competitors in a tight-knit plant community, and certain grazing and other management practices tend to further discourage milkweeds. Over the next several years, I am hoping to learn more about how to make prairies support stronger milkweed/monarch populations. Hopefully, we and others can help make North American prairies even better contributors to the survival of monarch butterflies.”

Therefore, it is important to recognize native, natural prairies as a function of Monarch habitat sustainability. You can read Chris’s full article at:https://prairieecologist.com/2016/03/01/monarch-conservation-strategies/


Bamert Seed Company is proud to say that 2016 will mark our 65th year of partnering in conservation efforts for many species throughout the United States!

 

We look forward to opportunities to be involved in the conservation of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken!

 

 

In 2010, the Natural Resources Conservation Service launched the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative to help private landowners voluntarily improve lesser prairie-chicken habitat. This video introduces the program and shows how we go about win-win conservation that benefits both agricultural producers and prairie wildlife.


If you are familiar with the Bobwhite quail, then you may also know Texas has faced a declining quail population, as well as many other states. This population decline correlates to the decrease in native habitat for quail. Bobwhite quail thrive on the nutritional value found when foraging on native seeds. Native plants are not only used as a source of food but also for nesting habitat, predator defense, and escapement. Native prairies are also needed to attract the insects for young chicks to feed on. Insects provide a large portion of the metabolic water required by quail of all ages.

 

In 2014, Texas lawmakers reserved $6 million for restoring native prairies and researching Bobwhite quail. However, there is one group who has already taken up the call for action to preserve the quail. Jim Willis, the founder of the Wildlife Habitat Federation (WHF), began the initiative to preserve Bobwhite quail when he began transitioning his overgrazed pastures into native grasslands in 2004. They started out with 200 acres and created what they call the Quail Corridor. This corridor spreads down to the Attawater Prairie Chicken Reserve and has helped the Bobwhite quail population restoration efforts. Jim Willis’ and the WHF’s dedication to restoring prairie lands has helped inspire others to join the same restoration and conservation initiative. Since 90% of Texas is privately owned, landowners are the key to helping restore these native prairies. Today Jim Willis and the WHF have helped to restore 40,000 acres of native prairies that were once introduced monoculture pastures. It is the goal of the WHF to help restore 200,000 acres of native prairies for Bobwhite quail habitat and population growth.

 

Bamert Seed Company has been partnering with Jim and the WHF since 2010. Our partnership and friendship with Jim and the WHF developed out of our shared goals to restore and conserve native prairies. Bamert Seed Company has helped Jim and the WHF develop planting strategies and native blend diversity. Throughout the years as WHF’s program has grown, so has our partnership. Bamert Seed Company supplies the seed for WHF’s initiative with blends that create diversity; as well as making available WHF locally harvested seed.

 

John F. Kennedy once said that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Jim Willis and the WHF have proven their leadership role in the preservation of the Bobwhite quail and their habitat.

 

For more inforamation regarding Jim Willis’ progress in restoring native prairies please visit the recent Houston Chronical article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/science-environment/article/Prairie-landowners-replant-to-make-room-for-quail-5928426.php?t=cc33b2e5e6b82edad4&cmpid=email-desktop#/0

 

For more information regarding the Wildlife Habitat Federation, please visit their website at: www.whf-texas.org

 

 

 

[avatar user=”Rhett Kerby” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhettkerby” target=”_blank”]by Rhett K. Kerby, M.S.[/avatar]


A perennial mid-height grass found in a variety of habitats such as meadows, rocky slopes, and mountainous plateaus, Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) derives its name from the way its seeds grow on the sides of the stalk which makes it look like oats. This grass type has become a popular choice among growers because of its thin, long leaves that makes for excellent foraging for livestock and wildlife alike.

Sideoats Grama grass can tolerate drought and dry soils. It is a deep-rooted perennial, that produces high quality forage which makes it ideal for foraging. The grass type features zigzag stalks with evenly spaced spikes, and is commonly used as animal fodder material due to its medium protein content which is highly palatable for grazing animals. It is considered as nutritious forage for all classes of livestock, from elk and deer to birds and even wild turkey.

The tiny flowers of Sideoats Grama typically come in either orange or purple, but may also come in hues of orange or red. This prairie grass is able to withstand the full heat of the sun with little water and can even be grown as turf grass. This grass type is best cultivated in grass mixes for range and pasture seeding along with Blue Grama or Buffalograss to provide optimal erosion control. It is also recommended for earth fills and recreational plantings because it may be planted in dry to average soils that drain well. Additionally, it may be used for ornamental purposes because of its blue-green foliage.

Since Sideoats Grama grass can thrive in many kinds of soil and different climates, managing this grass type is easy as long as you know what season to use it in. While it is a tri-seasonal grass, it still grows best during the summer and fall, but its grass stays palatable for animals even in winter. This makes it a flexible range grass species. It is also well adapted to calcareous and moderately alkaline soils. Under favorable conditions, it can quickly restore eroded grasslands.

Bamert Seed offers high quality Sideoats Grama seeds you can use to plant forage for all classes of grazing livestock as well as wildlife. For any inquiries about this native grass seed and our other available options, feel free to contact us. We produce over 90% of our seeds right here on our farms, so you can be assured that our seeds are of the highest quality.