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NMSU Peanut Field Day Set for Sept. 2 at Clovis Science Center

CLOVIS - Forage peanuts that could feed both dairy cows and people will be among varieties shown at a free field day Sept. 2 in Clovis and Portales.

Naveen Puppala, a peanut breeder with at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Experiment Station, holds one of 720 Valencia lines that will be on display during a free field day Sept. 2 in Clovis and Portales. (08/27/2004) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Martin)

"We're going to be showing a huge selection of Valencia lines from around the world at this year's field day - more than 720," said Naveen Puppala, a peanut breeder with at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Experiment Station. "We produced so many this season because we're looking for those special characteristics that perform best under our hot, dry growing conditions."

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. According to the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Service, the state's farmers produced some 45.9 million pounds of peanuts on 17,000 acres in 2003.

One of Puppala's goals is to create a more compact plant that channels its energy into producing more nuts under the soil.

A new peanut variety being studied this summer at the science center is a dual-purpose forage Valencia, Puppala said. People can crunch the nuts, while cattle munch on the leafy, green portion of the plant.

"This has a lot of potential in eastern New Mexico's dairy industry," he said.

The half-day program begins with registration and tours at 8:30 a.m. at NMSU's South Research Facility, located on County Road 4, five miles south of Clovis. At 11 a.m., the program shifts to the Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) farm on the South Floyd Highway, adjacent to the La Casa de Buena Salud Health Care Center in Portales.

Field tours will include a review of crop management practices, as well as an examination of the effectiveness of rhizobium selection and application techniques by Calvin Trostle, an agronomist with Texas A&M University. Cho Young, an ENMU biologist, will discuss peanut drought tolerance, and Mark Burrow, a peanut breeder with Texas A&M, will talk about progress on early maturing varieties.

Leonard Lauriault, an agronomist at NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari, will review peanut forage lines. Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, will provide an overview of peanut disease and fertility studies.

Soumalia Sanogo, an NMSU plant pathologist, will cover disease problems and recent soil survey results. Stan Jones, Curry County Extension Program Director, will discuss field rotation of peanuts and cotton, while Janet Irwin, a Clovis-based research technician, will review use of calcium fertilizers to improve yields.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact Puppala in advance at (505) 985-2292 or e-mail clovis@nmsu.edu.