Macomb, IL – The first milkweed harvest at WIU was less than expected, but enough to continue interest in research. Alternative crops Professor Win Phippen says he harvested about 1,000 pounds of pods per acre from the three-acre test plot. He says that's about two-thirds of what he expected. He's researching the plant as a source of floss for comforters and insulation, and of the vitamin E-rich oil from the seeds. Research during the coming year will focus on drying the pods, and on developing a better machine to process dried pods into seeds, floss, and the waste biomass.