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NMSU's Artesia Agricultural Science Center To Host Field Day, Workshops Aug. 17

ARTESIA - Agricultural research about the Pecos Valley's top commodities? alfalfa, cotton and dairies ?will highlight a field day Thursday, Aug. 17 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia.

"Our research deals with issues that are critical for this area, including irrigation efficiency, which is becoming more important all the time, and finding ways to handle waste from our growing dairy industry through methods such as composting," said Keith Duncan, an Artesia-based weed and brush control specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Registration begins at 4 p.m. for free public tours of the center, located at 67 E. Four Dinkus Road, six miles south of Artesia. New NMSU President G. Jay Gogue will speak after a catered barbecue dinner at the center. NMSU researchers from Artesia and other science centers will give research updates at seven tour stops, beginning at 6:10 p.m.

Robert Flynn, an agronomist at the center, will talk about the benefits and pitfalls of using drip irrigation in alfalfa. Flynn is completing the first full year of a full-scale drip irrigation project on 4-1/2 acres at the the center, following four years of studies on smaller plots. Flynn also will discuss ways to use manure in crop production, drawing on his composting work in southeastern New Mexico.

Ian Ray, NMSU alfalfa breeder, will give an update on alfalfa variety trials and the statewide breeding program, including a new trial that began last fall in Artesia."We have a lot of interest in alfalfa because of the dairies and the need for forage," Duncan said. "We now have about two dozen varieties being tested here at Artesia, more than any other location in the state."

Three tour stops will focus on cotton. Jane Breen Pierce, Artesia entomologist, will discuss how to determine crop value by boll position on cotton plants. Jill Schroeder, NMSU weed scientist, will discuss weed control, including new herbicide studies on controlling flavia, a serious weed problem in cotton. Roy Cantrell, NMSU cotton breeder, will give an overview of cotton variety trials and breeding programs.

Mike Looper, NMSU dairy specialist, will discuss a study about raising replacement dairy heifers on irrigated pastures.

Those who want more in-depth information about irrigation or the dairy heifer grazing research can attend workshops at 1 and 3 p.m, respectively. The workshops will give producers time for questions and answers before the field day program begins, Duncan said.

For more information about the workshops and field day events, call the center at (505) 748-1228.