There’s a deadly downside to milkweed

Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 3:44 PM

In the Durango Herald Aug. 31 there was an article promoting the benefits of growing milkweed to be food for butterflies (“Citizen scientists enlisted to research monarch butterfly mystery”).

The feel-good article has a glowing recommendation for our community to join together to plant and grow more milkweed.

There is a very serious side to dealing with milkweed from a hay-grower’s standpoint.

This weed is extremely toxic to livestock. Per the USDA article concerning toxicity of milkweed, it states that it takes 30 to 100 grams to be fatal to sheep.

Do the math, 30 grams is 1.05 ounces.

That is a very small amount.

As hay-growers, we are forced to use herbicides to combat this aggressive weed. It is very hard to contain once it’s in the hay.

Please, please don’t contribute to the use of additional chemicals in our country by growing milkweed. These seeds drift miles in the wind and affect fields far from the source. Milkweed is everywhere in this county; one just needs to drive to Walmart to see large amounts of it. It’s all over the place.

This one-sided article did not take into consideration the agricultural community when promoting the planting of these weeds.

Please take a second look and educate yourself on the identification and toxicity of milkweed.

Patsy Mangus