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Agricultural Tours, Research Showcased Aug. 20 in Artesia

LAS CRUCES -- Pecos Valley research about dairy heifers, cotton pests, a saltcedar project tour and variety trials for alfalfa, cotton and chile will highlight an Aug. 20 field day.

New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia will offer two afternoon field tours and host several evening presentations.

A 2 p.m. tour will show areas where saltcedar, a water- guzzling tree, has been removed and native vegetation is being reseeded, said Keith Duncan, brush and weed control specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Those interested in dairy issues can learn more about a dairy heifer grazing project beginning at 3 p.m. The heifers are pastured on alfalfa, Jose tall wheatgrass and kleingrass, as well as combinations of the alfalfa and grasses.

"What we're hoping to do is show whether heifers can be raised to reach breeding age quicker and healthier on a pasture than in a pen," Duncan said.

Evening science center presentations will include sessions on using dairy manure in crop production, managing cotton pests such as the boll weevil and pink bollworm and choosing the best alfalfa, cotton and chile varieties for the area.

Afternoon tours will leave from the science center. Evening registration begins at 4 p.m. with a barbecue dinner at 5. Jerry Schickedanz, interim dean of NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences , will speak at 5:45. Evening sessions will run from 6 to 7:30.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the field day, call (505) 748-1228.