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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU, NRCS hosts field day at Los Lunas agricultural science center

LOS LUNAS ? Middle Rio Grande farmers and community members will have an opportunity to learn about the research being conducted at New Mexico State University?s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas during the farm?s field day Wednesday, Aug. 12.


People in a red and white wagon listening to a speaker in front of trees
New Mexico State University fruit specialist Shengrui Yao will share the latest information on her jujube fruit tree research being conducted at NMSU?s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, during the research farm?s field day on Aug. 12. Registration for the free event begins at 7:30 a.m. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by tours and demonstrations. (NMSU photo)

The purpose of the NMSU College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences experimental station is to address various crop and horticultural issues in the area, as well as conduct research to determine if alternative crops and other plants can grow in the region. Los Lunas ASC is among 12 agricultural science centers around the state.

Also located at the farm is the Natural Resource Conservation Service Plant Materials Center that serves New Mexico and other Southwestern states by testing diverse ecotypes of plant species for adaption to various conditions and suitability for conservation efforts and commercial production.

?We have a wide range of research programs here to serve the area?s broad clientele base that ranges from the horticultural needs of individual homeowners to small- and medium-sized farming operations in the Middle Rio Grande Valley,? said Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist and superintendent of the Los Lunas facility.

?The field day will have something of interest to everyone, and is a great opportunity to have a glimpse into the research efforts of both NMSU and the NRCS,? he said. ?The station is really quite unique with respect to the diversity of projects being conducted. We have everything from vegetables, fruit trees and berries, pecans, and ornamental plantings, to forage crops and range grasses.?

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte and NRCS?s State Conservationist Xavier Montoya will begin the day?s activities with welcome addresses at 8:15 a.m. Wagon and walking tours and demonstrations will start at 9 a.m. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. The event concludes with a catered lunch and door prizes provided by area sponsors at noon.

Presentations on the field tours will cover a variety of interests and include mechanical chile harvest and papa criolla potato research, by Stephanie Walker, NMSU Extension vegetable specialist; weed control in chiles, by Brian Schutte, NMSU weed physiologist; jujubes as an alternative fruit crop for New Mexico, by Shengrui Yao, NMSU Extension fruit specialist; and alfalfa and guar forage research, by Marsalis.

NRCS has research being conducted at the Los Lunas PMC located at the experimental farm. Presentations on its research will include soil solarization through poly sheeting, by Bernadette Cooney, manager of the PMC; cover crops, by Danny Goodson, NRCS agronomist; innovative grass seed harvesting, by Keith White, bio-technician, and a riparian restoration presentation and pollinator plant walking tour, by David Dreesen, NRCS agronomist.

NRCS will also conduct a rainfall simulation demonstration that shows the benefits of maintaining ground cover in an effort to improve overall soil health.

Other demonstrations and educational booths will include an insect display, organic programs, and milkweed for monarch butterfly recovery. A variety of organizations will have booths, including New Mexico Cow Belles, Native Plant Society, Sierra Irrigation and the Valencia County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The event is free and open to the public. The research farm is located on 1036 Miller St. SW, one mile west from the turnoff at Miller Road and NM 314. For more information, contact the Agricultural Science Center at 505-865-7340.