Monarch Caterpillars

The pastures are full of monarch caterpillars, chowing down on the milkweed leaves. One of the many virtues of pasture-based agriculture is that with proper grazing management, there is plenty of food for the livestock (in this field, cattle and turkeys) and for all the insects. We aren’t fighting a war against bugs, we’re just living alongside them. And because of that inclusiveness, the pastures continue to become more diverse and more productive.

2 thoughts on “Monarch Caterpillars”

  1. I’ve come up with a phrase to describe this type of agriculture, your farm and mine and others like it:
    A Pollinator-friendly, Carbon Sponge. I believe we are most definitely part of the solution, as our farms are covered in diverse, growing plants, actively pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and depositing into the soil.

    1. A carbon sponge is right. The fields where we have been doing this the longest are starting to cause a new challenge: we have a hard time keeping up with the grass because it regrows so much faster than the fields where we’ve only been grazing for two or three years. So clearly the soil organic matter (i.e. carbon) is climbing.
      On the pollinators side, I think of all the flowering “weed” plants as our nature tax even if the cattle don’t prefer to eat them. If we keep a broad coalition of plant species in our fields rather than spraying them to death, then we’ll have the healthy mixed habitat to support all kinds of little living things.

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