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NMSU's Clovis science center plans wheat field day May 28

Farmers in eastern New Mexico and West Texas can learn about wheat production and variety selection at the 2008 Wheat Field Day at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis on May 28.



With wheat prices near $9 per bushel, interest in growing wheat for grain harvest is greater now than it has been in many years. To assist farmers in eastern New Mexico and West Texas to learn about wheat production and variety selection, New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis has scheduled the 2008 Wheat Field Day on May 28.(NMSU photo)

With wheat prices near $9 per bushel, interest in growing wheat for grain harvest is greater now than it has been in many years. Even though prices may not stay this high for very long, the potential for higher-than-normal prices will likely continue to remain good as other grain prices (e.g., corn) drive up overall market values and as grain-based ethanol production continues to constitute the bulk of biofuel production in the U.S. Because winter wheat is such a major crop in this area, a wheat field day to inform growers of varietal performance and management is important, said Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension agronomist at the Clovis center.

Wheat variety trial results from Texas and New Mexico locations will be presented. Research plots will be available for attendees to observe during the field tour.

The field day is free to all and will include information on both dryland and irrigated wheat grain and small grain forage trials conducted at the center. Because this year's growing season has presented the challenge of exceptionally dry weather, growers may be particularly interested in the results of the dryland trials and which varieties have performed the best under such stressful conditions.

Marsalis is conducting a winter small grain forage variety trial that is looking at the relative production potential of wheat, rye, and triticale for ensiling purposes. Previous years' results will be presented. More and more acres of small grain silage crops are being grown in the region as dairies look to provide continuous supplies of high quality feed to their cows. Sangu Angadi, crop stress physiologist, is conducting research on stubble management and the benefits associated with crop residues (e.g., wheat, sorghum). He will discuss these benefits and provide information on his research findings.

Marsalis also will give an overview of a new research project that will be initiated this year investigating the potential for wheat stubble residue to be used for cellulosic ethanol production. Also, Angadi will present information on ongoing research involving canola as an alternative crop for the region for use in biofuel production.

The field day - part of NMSU's ongoing outreach to the community - begins with refreshments at 9 a.m. and will continue as long as necessary.

To get to the science center, travel 13 miles north of Clovis on N.M. 209 and turn west on N.M. 288. The center is 1.3 miles on the left past Palla Dairy.

For more information, contact Marsalis at (575) 985-2292, or marsalis@nmsu.edu.