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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Cotton and Chile Scouting School Set for June 18

LAS CRUCES - A hands-on entomology laboratory for New Mexico and West Texas farmers will highlight a June 18 scouting school in Las Cruces for insects, weeds and diseases in cotton and chile.

The workshop includes programs on common plant diseases, optimizing crop growth and scouting pests through plant stages. "It's been quite a few years now since we've had a big school like this," said Carol Sutherland, an entomologist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. "We're doing it now in answer to requests from producers."

The event, sponsored by NMSU Extension, begins with registration at 7:30 a.m in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southwest Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory, located at 300 E. College Drive, about a half-mile west of the intersection of College Drive and El Paseo Road.

Producers, consultants and others may preregister for $5. Registration forms are available from area cotton gins, county Extension offices and NMSU's Extension Plant Sciences department office in room N140 of Skeen Hall on the main campus. Registration at the door will be $8.

Among the program highlights is a discussion of disease problems in cotton and chile by NMSU Extension plant pathologist Natalie Goldberg. "I'll be concentrating on identifying the key disease symptoms of these important crops," she said.

Sutherland, along with Jane Pierce, an entomologist with NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia, and Joe Ellington and Scott Bundy, faculty with the entomology, plant pathology and weed science department, will conduct a hands-on entomology laboratory to review distinguishing features and life cycles for common pests of both crops and beneficial arthropods.

"We are going to the field and bring in actual insects for the participants to identify," Ellington said. "With this type of hands-on experience we feel they'll learn the identification a lot better. It's much more effective than looking at a slide alone."

Jill Schroeder, an associate professor with NMSU's department of entomology, plant pathology and weed science, will challenge the class to identify weed seedlings, which are at the ideal age for efficient control.

"We have some weed seedlings and some younger weeds that if you saw these in your field, it would help you if you knew what they were, so you could make appropriate control preparations at that time," Sutherland said. "In many cases, if you can get them while they're young, you might have a better chance of controlling them."

NMSU Extension agronomist Denise McWilliams will explain how scouting techniques and strategies change through crop growth stages. "By using crop staging you are able to organize the different things that producers are scouting, including different weeds, diseases and insects," McWilliams said.

Robert Flynn, an agronomist with NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia, will discuss soil fertility and optimizing crop growth.

Two speakers will summarize progress of south-central New Mexico's eradication programs for both cotton boll weevil and pink bollworm. Sherry Sanderson, bureau chief for entomology and nursery industries with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, will review plans for the pink bollworm program. Joe Friesen, manager for the region's cooperative boll weevil eradication program, will outline its implementation.

Lunch will be served following the workshop. Several agricultural suppliers will have displays at the event. Continuing education credits will be available for pesticide applicators from both New Mexico and Texas. Certified crop advisers from New Mexico or Texas can also earn credits.

For more information, contact Sutherland at (505) 646-1132, McWilliams at (505) 646-3455 or John White, Dona Ana County Extension agent, at (505) 525-6649. For preregistration, call Mary Curtis at (505) 646-5280. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the field day, please contact Curtis in advance.