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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Workshops Teach Irrigated Pasture Management

ALBUQUERQUE - Alfalfa and forage growers in northern New Mexico and the central Rio Grande Valley can learn management techniques to maximize profits during irrigated pasture workshops March 9 in Los Lunas and April 20 in Alcalde.

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is organizing the workshops through NMSU's Small Farm Task Force, made up of agricultural agents and specialists in the central and northern counties.

"We want to teach irrigated forage producers techniques that can help increase yields," said Patrick Torres, agricultural agent and program director with the Santa Fe County Extension office. "By applying proper management techniques, most small-scale, limited-resource growers can earn a little more."

Irrigated pasture production is especially widespread in the state's central and northern regions, so the task force organized two workshops to allow growers in both areas to attend, Torres said.

At the workshops, Extension specialists will teach soil testing to determine fertility and which kinds of vegetation particular soils will accommodate, Torres said. They will teach stand selection, including when and how to plant different species. Presenters will review cost and water efficiency of side roll, flood, gated pipe and center pivot irrigation systems.

Lectures will cover land preparation, fertilizer application, weed identification and control, mechanical harvesting techniques and gopher control.

Specialists will discuss proper livestock grazing management, including pasture rotation systems, stocking rates and potential problems from grazing certain forages.

"By managing livestock properly in pastures and moving them from pasture to pasture at the right times, growers can increase stand longevity," Torres said.

Participants will also tour planted fields during both workshops. Admission is free.

Lectures will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Los Lunas Training Center administration building, 1000 Main NW, will host the March 9 workshop. NMSU's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde is the April 20 site.

For more information, call Torres at (505) 471-4711 or Del Jimenez at (505) 852-4241. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact the presenter before the event.