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Get Cracking at Pecan Field Day April 28 in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES - From improving orchard care to controlling pests, cultivating a better pecan industry underscores the New Mexico Pecan Growers field day April 28 at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Center.

A new pecan season is under way as southern New Mexico growers start watering their orchards. To help producers get the most out of their trees, the New Mexico Pecan Growers will hold their a field day and meeting April 28 at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Center, where the focus will be on orchard maintenance, insect control and new marketing opportunities. (04/11/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

"Our goal is to make pecan growers more efficient by helping them do the correct thing at the correct time," said field day coordinator John White, Doņa Ana County horticulture agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. NMSU's Leyendecker center is located eight miles southeast of Las Cruces on Highway 28.

One topic getting special attention this year is leaf sampling, White said. "We're encouraging more people to do more leaf sampling, which is done in July and August," he said. "Just as soil analysis tells you what nutrients are in the soil, leaf sampling tells you what's in the tree."

Mike Kilby, an Extension specialist emeritus with University of Arizona's Cooperative Extension Service, will talk about pruning practices, while NMSU agronomist Robert Flynn will review soil moisture measurement, theory and equipment. James Walworth, a University of Arizona Extension specialist, will discuss late season zinc applications.

Gary Esslinger, manager of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, will provide an update on expected water supplies. Philip Arnold, a Las Cruces-based pecan grower, will review pecan marketing programs.

Bonnie Rabe, pesticide bureau chief with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, will review pesticide record keeping and worker protection safety requirements. Rita Trujillo, a control strategy section manager with the New Mexico Environment Department, will talk about burning regulations, while NMSU agronomist Bill Lindemann will discuss wood chip degradation.

Brad Lewis, an NMSU entomologist, will cover insect control measures, and Stephen Thomas, an NMSU nematologist, will report on a survey of root knot nematode in pecans. Dave Thompson, an NMSU entomologist, will give an update on salt cedar leaf beetle.

Scientific and technical presentations will be followed by the regular business meeting of the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association, White said.

Doņa Ana County's 25,000 acres of pecan trees typically produce about 80 percent of the state's crop, he said. New Mexico growers produce up to $50 million worth of pecans in high-yielding years, and account for about 50 percent of Southwest production and 11 percent of the U.S. crop.

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.