Farmers have field day

By Thomas Garcia: PNT Staff Writer

New Mexico State University Science Center’s held its annual field day on Thursday — a short of show and tell for the center.

The more than 100 farmers and residents from Curry and Roosevelt Counties that attended were taken on a tour of the center’s field projects.

“I don’t farm much but the projects and programs they develop here at the science center are important to area farmers,” said Curry County resident Tommy Dolittle.

First up on the tour was canola, sorghum and corn crops production for biodiesel.

Canola is a multi-purpose crop that can benefit farmers in Curry and Roosevelt County, NMSU crop physiologist Sangu Angadi explained.

“Our current study is to see how efficient canola can be when grown on dry farm land,” Angadi said. “Farmers will be able to sell canola for biofuel production and it can be used to feed livestock.”

Research about the use of corn and sorghum silage for biofuel was presented by NMSU Extension Agronomist Mark Marsalis.

The staff’s discussion quickly turned to legumes as NMSU Peanut Breeder Naveen Puppala discussed the potential for a drought-tolerant peanut.

A variety of Valencia peanut that is tolerant to drought conditions would be a beneficial crop for our area, Puppala said.

At the moment the project is still in the research phase. Puppala said many of the test sites in Lubbock were hit by high rains.

While many of the staff focused on increasing crop growth, NMSU Extension Weed Specialist Jamshid Ashigh aims to curb the growth of noxious weeds in New Mexico.

A farmer that adds combination treatment strategy to their integrated weed management will see better results, Ashigh said.

If a farmer is treating their weeds with just one herbicide, the plant will develop a resistance quickly, Ashigh said.

Using a combination of mechanical treatment and herbicides is the best approach, he said.

Roosevelt County Farmer Dee Brown spoke with Ashigh after the presentation about a mallow weed problem he has been experiencing.

“I have been farming in Roosevelt County for 70 years and our science center has provided area farmers with a lot of useful information,” Brown said. “The science center has always worked on projects that are very pertinent to this area.