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Research projects at NMSU science center updated during Artesia field day

ARTESIA, N.M. - An update on research projects being conducted at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia, including using alfalfa to create biodiesel, controlling the alfalfa weevil and seed cotton, will be topics of interest at the center's field day Aug. 14.

New Mexico State University Extension agronomist Robert Flynn checks on a patch of rosemary at NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia. Research on rosemary will be one of the topics of the center's field day, set for Thursday, Aug. 14. (NMSU photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

"People have a chance to come out and see what we're all about," Lupe Carrasco said of the field day. Carrasco is superintendent of the center, part of the university's Agricultural Experiment Station. "They get the opportunity to learn about our performance evaluations for different crops; they learn about plant and soil nutrition, entomology, and renewable fuels."

This year, Robert Flynn will speak on his project, "Direct Seed Cotton," Francisco Contreras will talk on his project, "Where Do Our Variety Recommendations Come From?", Jane Breen Pierce will discuss, "Who's Controlling Alfalfa Weevil in the Pecos Valley?", and Doug Lynn will talk about, "Algae to Biodiesel."

Carrasco said attendees will get the chance to see and ask questions regarding traditional crops, such as cotton, corn, sorghum and alfalfa. They also will see research being done with specialty crops, such as rosemary, paulownia trees and grapes.

"This event is tailored to fit the needs of everyone, from kids, to a home and gardener, to farmers, or ranchers. It gives people the chance to meet the faculty and staff of the Agricultural Science Center as well as get answers to questions they may have about their garden or crops," Carrasco said.

Participants will tour the science center courtesy of a hayride. Information booths will be available at each stop.

The field day coincides with the biennial meeting for the Southeastern New Mexico Agricultural Research Association, Carrasco said. The 2008 recipient of the Howard Stroup Scholarship will be presented. The members will hold a short business meeting and board members will be elected to the terms that are expiring.

Registration for the field day begins at 3:30 p.m. Information booths will be set up at that time. Dinner, provided by the Yucca Cowbelles, will be served at 4:45 p.m. with the general session starting at 5 p.m. LeRoy Daugherty, associate dean/associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, will be the keynote speaker.

Tours of the science center begin at 6 p.m.

Founded in 1955, the Artesia center has approximately 75 acres under cultivation, using sprinkler, drip and gated pipe irrigation systems. Ongoing research includes fertility studies and manure use in crop production, integrated insect pest management, weed management and evaluation of crop varieties and alternative crops.

The science center is located at 67 E. Four Dinkus Road, six miles south of Artesia.

For more information about the field day, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact Carrasco at (575) 748-1228 or e-mail gucarras@nmsu.edu.