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Pecan growers to gather for NMSU field day Nov. 1

LAS CRUCES - Marketing methods, water issues and pest control will be among the topics discussed at the annual New Mexico Pecan Growers (NMPG) Field Day Nov. 1 at New Mexico State University's Leyendecker Plant Science Center.



John White, Dona Ana County horticulture agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, examines a cluster of pecans growing in an orchard in Las Cruces. The annual New Mexico Pecan Growers Field Day is scheduled on Nov. 1 at NMSU's Leyendecker Plant Science Center. (NMSU Photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

This is the first time the annual event has been scheduled in the fall, said field day coordinator John White, Dona Ana County horticulture agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. The timing should be ideal for growers who are not yet busy with the harvest, and preparing to make marketing decisions for this year's crop.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The Leyendecker center is eight miles southeast of Las Cruces on Highway 28. The registration fee depends on the producer's acreage.



The field day comes on the heels of a very productive and profitable pecan harvest last year. Georgia, a major pecan-producing state, had an off year due to hurricane damage and disease problems, White said. Meanwhile, a bumper crop in New Mexico hit more than 70 million pounds.

"They were down and we were up, so we got very good prices," White said. National consumption also has increased as more people are learning about the health benefits of eating pecans.

NMPG President David Salopek will welcome participants at 8:30 a.m., followed by a report on the New Mexico Legislature by Rep. Andy Nunez, who represents District 36.

Elephant Butte Irrigation District Treasurer/Manager Gary Esslinger will give a water update and Lower Rio Grande Water Master Sheldon Dorman, of the Office of the State Engineer, will discuss irrigation metering and other issues. Deborah Bathke, assistant state climatologist and assistant professor at NMSU's Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, will discuss climate in the West.

Kelly Pope, a crop insurance adviser for Farm Credit of New Mexico's Roswell office, will outline the Pecan Revenue Insurance Program.

Presenting an outlook on the pecan market for 2006-2007 will be Steve Salopek, a buyer for Green Valley Pecan Company, and Phillip Arnold, plant manager at San Saba Pecan.

Pesticide-related changes will be outlined by Bonnie Rabe, division director for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Natalie Goldberg, Extension plant pathologist, will give an update on xyella, a plant disease that can infect pecan trees. Brad Lewis, an NMSU/NMDA entomologist, will cover insect control measures and Ryan Rector, a weed science graduate student at the University of Arizona, will present "More Than Just Roundup."

John Mexal, a professor in NMSU's Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, will outline the Pecan-Igator irrigation model. Extension pecan specialist Richard Heerema will discuss selective pruning.

An NMPG general business meeting is planned. A barbecue lunch and equipment viewing in the orchard will begin at noon.

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.