Farming Asclepias

From seed implantation to fiber extraction, we are a multidisciplinary community, committed to a meticulous production process.

A few statistics

Each plant provides 13 to 15 follicles, some have more than 20!

One hectare produce about 400kg of follicles at 15% moisture.

Follicle weight distribution:

Graphique du poids d'un follicule d'ascl├ępiade Coop├ęrative Monark

One hectare produce 80kg of fiber.

 

 

Plants Ascl├ępiade commune fleurs Plants Milkweed common flowers Coop Monark

Farming common milkweed: an attainable agricultural project

The culture of milkweed has everything in its favor to add value to marginal farm land. It offers an oppurtunity to farmers to diversify crops. The harvest reaches its full potential three years after intial sowing. Being perennial and indigenous to Quebec, common milkweed is resilient and well-adapted to its natural environment. Minimal tillage and inputs are required in comparaison to more conventional crops. It also requires no irrigation. Our terms of reference offer a framework to regulate the cultivation process in an approach that meets sustainable farming standards. Strengthened by its business model, Monark coop has become the reference in the development of milkweed agricultural techniques.

A harvest in harmony with the life cycle of its pollinators and the monarch butterfly

The follicles are harvested annually, from early September to late October, depending on the region. The farmers have approximately 21 days to pick the follicles before they open and the fiber is released in the wind. At this time of year, the flora is dry, the pollinators have left the fields, and the monarch butterfly is on its migratory journey to Mexico. The harvest is done using a semi-mechanized approach. Thanks to our members’ experience and expertise, Monark coop is working toward optimizing the harvest process.

Drying the follicles: key to a quality fiber

Follicles are bagged and put out to dry within 24 hours of harvesting. Our members use drying systems that ressemble those used for hay, and powered with clean energy (electricity or biomass). Humidity is reduced from 50%-70% to 10%-15%. The drying process time depends on air temperature. The follicles, once dry, are stored in a hermetic, ventillated building.

Extraction of the fiber: a delicate process

Monark coop carries out the extraction process in its joint facilities located in Lower Saint-Lawrence, Quebec. Extracting the silky white fiber is an intricate process. The seperation of the fibers from the seeds and its residuals is a chemical-free process that is achieved using an industrial machine created for this purpose. Our qualified production operators work meticulously to extract a fiber that is residue free. Together, members, employees, and collaborators, are dedicated to the innovation and the fine-tuning of our production process, with sustainability always at the forefront.

Follicules d'ascl├ępiade commune Common milkweed follicles Coop Monark
Fibres et semences d'Ascl├ępiade commune Common milkweed fibers and seeds Coop Monark

Our approach

Striving for openness and cooperation as some of our core values, Monark coop relies on collaborative intelligence to further advance innovation and sustainability.

Sharing know-how and resources

Boost creativity, economic solidarity, and connection in a florishing community

Cooperation and mutual support

Support one another to ensure the coop’s longevity

Agriculture and sustainability

Favor agricultural practices that take into consideration the environment and future generations

Preservation of biodiversity

Protect the habitats of pollinators and the monarch butterfly

Monark’s quality standards

Coop Monark surrounds itselft with various experts to ensure quality production. Continual improvement in production processes is at the heart of our mission.

Monark’s quality standards include openness to our clients’ needs.

Our member farmers are located across Quebec, thus ensuring a stable supply to meet growing demand, even under adverse weather conditions.

Monark’s quality standards are defined by its technical performance, durability, product standardization, transparency, and unparalleled customer service.

Qualit├ę fibre d'ascl├ępiade Milkweed fiber quality Coop Monark