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Chile Field Day planned at Leyendecker Plant Science Center

The Extension Plant Sciences Department at New Mexico State University will host a Chile Field Day at the Leyendecker Plant Science Center from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 19.

The Chile Field Day, which is held every other year, will showcase ongoing research developments in pest and disease control, enhancement of chile production, and chile breeding updates.

During the Chile Field Day, field tours and presentations are given by NMSU researchers and professors from the departments of Extension Plant Sciences, Plant and Environmental Sciences and Entomology Plant Pathology and Weed Sciences (EPPWS) in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

"The Chile Field Day highlights a number of research efforts being conducted to help farmers deal with challenges associated with growing chile," said Jeanine Castillo, a specialist in the Extension Plant Sciences department and the Chile Field Day coordinator.

The Chile Field Day is sponsored by the New Mexico Chile Association (NMCA), Farm Credit of New Mexico, the Dona Ana County Cooperative Extension Service, Syngenta and Curry Seeds from Arizona. The field day is open to the public.

"We want to share ongoing research with chile growers, industry and the interested public," said Stephanie Walker, an Extension vegetable specialist and organizer of the event. "There are many excellent programs under way and we want to convey knowledge gained to those that need to know."

The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration and a welcome presentation. After that, visitors will be given tours of the research plots. A mid-day break will follow with specialty chile dishes provided by the Master Gardeners, a volunteer program from the Dona Ana County Extension Office. The day will end with a lunch provided by the sponsors.

Some of the topics and speakers include Jessica Milner, a specialist in Extension Plant Sciences, who will give a group presentation on the Red Chile and Paprika Breeding Program. Rebecca Creamer, an associate professor in EPPWS, will speak on viral disease in chile in a discussion titled "Curly Top Virus Update." Paul Bosland, a Plant and Environmental Science professor, and Jit Baral, a Plant and Environmental Science research specialist, will present updates to the NMSU Chile Breeding Program. Scott Bundy, an associate professor in EPPWS, will give a presentation titled "Plant Bug Injury to Chile" and Bill Lindemann, a professor in Plant and Environmental Sciences, will give a presentation summarizing the Chile Yield Initiative.

Ryan Herbon, from the College of Engineering, and Paul Funk, an agricultural engineer at the Cotton Ginning Lab, will provide a viewing of machinery in development to pick and destem green chiles. This equipment will be used during this year's large-scale green chile machine harvest trial. Walker will discuss the experiment, including the five different varieties of chile and two different picking heads that will be tested.

Gene Baca, vice president of Buenos Foods and president of the NMCA, will also give a presentation and updates on chile efforts in New Mexico through the NMCA.

Also during the field day, pesticide applicators and certified crop advisers will receive education credits.

Castillo said she hopes the field day will encourage networking between NMSU, growers, the community and the chile industry throughout the state and nation.

"The more we work together, the more able we will be to solve problems," Castillo said.

To RSVP for the lunch, call Mary Curtis at (575) 646-1715.

To get to the Leyendecker Plant Science Center, take University Avenue to Highway 28 (Avenida de Mesilla), turn left onto Highway 28 and head south. Proceed to Snow Road (about 4.5 miles), then turn left on Snow Road. Follow the canal and proceed 1.3 miles. Turn right onto Leyendecker Road (dirt) and proceed to the end of the dirt road/ditch. Turn left and proceed to the main office at 7200 Plant Science Circle.

For more information call (575) 202-8728.