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Quay, De Baca Extension agents to host roundtable discussions on hay crops, March 21, 22

New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service agents in De Baca and Quay counties are teaming up to host two free roundtable discussions to help area producers gain knowledge about and management skills for hay crops in 2013.

Tucumcari will host its roundtable at 4 p.m., March 21 at the Tucumcari Convention Center. De Baca County will host its roundtable discussion at 1 p.m., March 22 at the De Baca County Courthouse Annex Room in Fort Sumner.

"The status on our hay crop has been minimal due to the drought and no water allocation from the Arch Hurley Conservancy Irrigation District," said Tom Dominguez, Extension agricultural agent for Tucumcari. "However, producers still need to be thinking about dryland crops, and/or cover crops, something to keep the soil from blowing away. Now is the perfect time; we have had some winter moisture and more than likely, we will be seeing weeds pop up with these warmer temperatures. Plus, if we do get some sort of water allocation in the middle of the summer, we need to plan now as to what seed to purchase for planting."

Speakers and producers at the roundtable discussions will tackle such questions as how the drought is affecting hay fields, what things should be considered during the upcoming hay season, alternative hay crops for 2013 and short season hay crops for late season irrigation and preparation.

Dominguez said they will have a representative from the Arch Hurley Conservancy Irrigation District who will give an update on the status and levels of Conchas Lake.

At both roundtable discussions, Mark Marsalis, Extension agronomist at the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis; Leonard Lauriault, interim superintendent at the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari; and Jamshid Ashigh, an Extension weed specialist, will be available to discuss the current situation of hay crops and answer questions.

Jim Norris district conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Judy Smith, Extension director for the Farm Service Agency, will be available for questions, along with area producers at the Tucumcari roundtable.

Earl Sena, Extension director of the FSA office in Fort Sumner, will be available at the De Baca roundtable discussion.

"This event will allow producers to gain knowledge and address management concerns," said Aspen Achen, Extension agent for De Baca County. "It will provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the economic challenges our alfalfa producers are facing with the current water issues and drought conditions."

For more information on the March 21 roundtable in Tucumcari, contact Dominguez at 575-461-0562 or tdomingu@nmsu.edu. For more information on the March 22 roundtable in Fort Sumner, contact Achen at 575-355-2381 or aachen@nmsu.edu.