CRP Seed Mixes

Prairie Dock – A Tall, Resilient Pollinator for CRP

Silphium terebinthinaceum, more commonly known as prairie dock, is a flowering plant that can be found in most of Illinois, along with select areas of Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Some refer to it as prairie rosinweed, a name derived from the sweet-smelling resin it produces when cut. When fully grown, prairie dock can reach heights of 10 feet. Small, yellow flowers bloom at the tips of its stems, while …

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Adding Compass Plant to Your CRP Mix

Silphium lacinatum is known by a number of names: pilotweed, gum weed, turpentine plant, and more. Its most popular name, however, is compass plant. Compass plant is a flowering plant native to eastern and central US and can often be found alongside big bluestem.   Like most plants in the Silphium genus, compass plant flowers have vibrant yellow petals that spread out from its center like sunrays. …

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The Dangers of Unmarked Seeds

Earlier this week, the US department of Agriculture started receiving reports of people receiving unmarked packages of seeds. In almost all cases, they were postmarked from China. Within days, reports had been confirmed in all 50 states.  While the situation is still being investigated, this is believed to be part of a brushing scam. A brushing scam involves people …

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Cool Season Grass vs. Warm Season Grass for CRP

Establishing native grasses through CRP provides many benefits for both landowners and the environment. Native grasses protect soil from wind and rain while allowing it to regenerate precious nutrients. They also keep local water clean by reducing runoff. Meanwhile, local wildlife such as deer and pheasants depend on native grasses for shelter and food.   Once …

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Using Butterfly Weed in Pollinator Habitat Establishment

Asclepias tuberosa, better known as butterfly weed, is a type of milkweed originating from eastern North America. Despite the name, butterfly weed is a very helpful plant, especially for pollinators. As a type of milkweed, it can play a vital role in the lifecycle of monarch butterflies.  Butterfly weed usually grows between 1 ½ feet to 3 feet tall, producing clusters of vibrant, orange flowers. These radiant flowers are known to draw in butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bees, and more.  Butterfly weed …

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Scarification, Stratification, and Breaking Dormancy in CRP Seed

Last month, we broke down the different elements of CRP seed tags. One piece of information listed on seed tags is “dormant seed”. This refers to the percentage of seed that is alive and capable of growth but won’t germinate under normal soil conditions.   Often, this is because of a hard exterior shell that prevents water from reaching the tissue inside. Other times, the dormancy is caused by the internal seed …

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What Illinois Bundleflower Brings to CRP Seed Mixes

Need a good food source for wildlife to implement into your CRP seed mix? Illinois bundleflower is a great choice for contract holders across the Midwest and south-central states. Also known as prickleweed and prairie mimosa, this warm season perennial legume has good drought tolerance and can grow in most soils.  When fully grown, Illinois bundleflower can stand anywhere from 1-4 feet tall. Leaves grow in …

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Deciphering CRP Seed Tags and Understanding the Importance of PLS

CRP seed tags are important. Not only are they required for you to receive your reimbursement from FSA, but they let you know what you’re actually planting on your land.  The first time you look at a seed tag, however, you might not understand what it all means. In addition to the seed name, variety, and origin, you’ll …

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