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Pecan Field Day Set for May 20 at NMSU Leyendecker Science Center

LAS CRUCES - The inaugural meeting of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association will be highlighted by a field day Tuesday, May 20, at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Center. The day-long program will focus on insect control and drought management.

Limited irrigation water for New Mexico's multimillion dollar pecan industry will be the topic of a New Mexico Pecan Growers Association field day Tuesday, May 20, at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science, located 8 miles southeast of Las Cruces on Highway 28. Other schedules talks include current drought conditions, beneficial insects and pecan nut casebearer insect control. (05/01/2003) (Courtesy Photo from NMSU)

"The newly formed New Mexico Pecan Growers Association should include about 200 growers from all across the state," said John White, field day coordinator and Dona Ana County horticulture agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "They'll be looking for ways to improve their crop, as well as address upcoming legislative goals, especially concerning burn issues."

White will open the field day with an update on NMSU's pecan nut casebearer insect control program. Joe Ellington, an NMSU entomologist, will talk about raising beneficial insects and orchard ground covers, while Steve Thomas, a nematologist, will review the latest in nematode control in pecan orchards. Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack plant roots. Entomologist Brad Lewis will review insecticide characteristics.

Karl Woods, director of NMSU's Water Resources Research Institute, will talk about current climate patterns and drought conditions. Esteban Herrera, a recently retired Extension horticulture specialist, will follow with a discussion of pecan irrigation with limited water.

"This will be a critical year for water," White said. "Pecans are a very valuable, long-term investment that you have to protect. Most of the large growers in our area have been through drought periods in the 1950s and 1970s and are prepared, but it's the small farmers that are probably going to be hurt."

Other presentations include monitoring soil moisture, shredding tree prunings and analyzing trees' nutrient needs. Also on tap is the first New Mexico Pecan Growers business meeting, which will include election of the organization's first board of directors.

In addition, visitors can see university displays of pecan nut casebearer traps, soil moisture monitoring equipment and chemical mowing techniques using ultra-low levels of herbicides, along with a tour of NMSU's experimental pecan orchards. The program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a lunch provided by Helena Chemical Company.

NMSU's Leyendecker center, located 8 miles southeast of Las Cruces on Highway 28, is home to more than 200 acres of varying soil types for research on plant breeding, disease control, insect and nematode control, herbicide effects and production management techniques. Registration is free for members of New Mexico Pecan Growers Association or $20 for others.

For more information about the field day, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact White in advance at (505) 525-6649 or e-mail whjohn@nmsu.edu