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NMSU to host forage field day Sept. 21 at Los Lunas

LOS LUNAS – Forage crops are the foundation for the state’s largest agricultural industries, and provide the basis for the 3.2 billion livestock and milk production sectors.


Tractor pulling hay bailer
Beardless wheat hay is one of the forages being studied at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. Forage crop research conducted by NMSU researchers across the state will be showcased during the Forage Field Day from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the science center. (NMSU photo)

New Mexicans farm more than 400,000 acres of forage products valued at over $325 million annually. In the Middle Rio Grande Valley alone, more than 22,000 acres of hay, pasture, and silage are produced to provide feed for more than 110,000 head of livestock, according to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s agricultural statistics.

Providing research-based information through field days, workshops and publications, New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences helps farmers efficiently produce high quality forage for a wide array of livestock uses.

NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas will host a Forage Field Day from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, to share the latest research information and production considerations important for hay and pasture producers. The science center is located at 1036 Miller Road, Los Lunas.

“This event will showcase the current research being conducted on various forage crops by NMSU researchers across the state,” said Mark Marsalis, Extension forage specialist at the NMSU science center at Los Lunas. “We will also receive feedback from producers on what issues they are facing and how we might address those in the future.”

State Extension specialists will be on hand to provide an overview of ongoing research projects involving hay and pasture production, weed control and fertilizer management. They will also be available to answer questions from producers.

Topics at the field day include:

- Rotational grazing and fencing considerations, presented by Leonard Lauriault, NMSU Forage Crop Management Scientist at the Rex E. Kirksey Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari

- Potassium fertilizer studies in alfalfa, presented by John Idowu, NMSU Extension Agronomist, Las Cruces


- Plantain weed control studies in alfalfa, presented by Leslie Beck, NMSU Extension Weed Specialist, Las Cruces

- Alfalfa, tall fescue, and orchardgrass variety trials, presented by Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension Forage Specialist, Los Lunas

- Teff grass and sorghum forages as alternative crops, presented by Marsalis.

This event will coincide with the Rio Grande Heritage Festival at the Los Lunas science center.

Registration is free for both events, which will begin at 8:30 a.m.

For more information on the Forage Field Tour, contact Mark Marsalis at 505-865-7340, or at marsalis@nmsu.edu.