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Annual Peanut Field Day Set for NMSU Clovis Science Center

CLOVIS - New Mexico State University scientists are ready to shell out the latest agricultural research on peanuts at a special field day Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.

Scientists with New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis will provide area producers with the latest information about peanut research and development at a special field day. The program gets underway at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 at NMSU's South Research Facility on County Road 4, five miles south of Clovis. (08/12/2002) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Martin)

"The peanut crop looks very good this year," said Naveen Puppala, a peanut breeder with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station. "We have few disease problems because of a warm spring and little rain."

Registration and field tours begin at 9 a.m. at NMSU's South Research Facility, located on County Road 4, five miles south of Clovis. At 10:30 a.m., the program shifts to the Eastern New Mexico University farm on the South Floyd Highway, adjacent to the La Casa de Buena Salud Health Care Center. Following a noon luncheon in Portales, producers can take an optional farm fertility field tour of the Wayne Baker and Rick Ledbetter farms. The field day is free and open to the public.

"We're testing more than 20 varieties of Valencia-type peanuts from all over the world," said Darrell Baker, agronomist and Clovis superintendent, who will recap the center's ongoing peanut fertility program. For more than a decade, NMSU researchers have been conducting variety trials in Portales and Clovis. Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, will discuss several of the facility's peanut disease and herbicide studies.

Field tours will include a peanut breeding nursery, as well as an examination of the effectiveness of using rhizobium by Calvin Trostle, an agronomist with Texas A&M University. Mark Burow, a peanut breeder with A&M, will discuss a Spanish Valencia peanut crossbreeding study, and Stanko Delikostadinov, a professor at Institute for Plant Genetic Resources in Bulgaria, will talk about cooperative plant breeding programs. He has supplied the center with 20 Valencia varieties from Bulgaria that are larger than the U.S. varieties.

While peanuts make up only about 3 percent of New Mexico's total agricultural production, they're a critical crop for many eastern New Mexico producers, McAlister said. According to the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Service, the state's farmers produced some 66.7 million pounds of peanuts on 23,000 acres in 2001.

Eastern New Mexico grows more than 80 percent of the United States' annual supply of the specialty Valencia peanuts, which are sometimes called ballpark nuts or Tennessee Reds because of the red skins on the kernels.

Meanwhile, the field day will highlight a discussion of early maturing cotton varieties by Lubbock-based Tom Speed, an agronomist with Delta Pine and Land Co. Ron Sorensen, an agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will review cotton
nitrogen rates and a planting date of study.

The program will also outline ongoing drip irrigation research, along with crop
rotation studies and disease control evaluations. Marcus Sullivan, an agronomist with Delta Pine and Land Co., will discuss new varieties.

Founded in 1949, the 164-acre Clovis science center is located 13 miles north of Clovis. Ongoing research focuses on dryland and irrigated agriculture for New Mexico's High Plains region.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please call Baker at (505) 985-2292 or your county Extension office in advance.