Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES -- Farmers can find ways to diversify at an irrigated pasture grazing school and field day Aug. 5 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.
"This may be a year when producers are looking for options," said Rex Kirksey, center superintendent.
"Economically, producers in our area and throughout he southern Great Plains are having a difficult time because the traditional markets they've relied on have not done well. Irrigated pastures are one way to diversify from irrigated wheat, corn and grain sorghum production."
The grazing school will continue a tradition of irrigated pasture research at Tucumcari that dates back to the early 1970s.
"We've identified some pastures and grass species that are top producers in our area," Kirksey said. "But we also plan to bring in outside experts to provide additional information producers can use to improve pasture production."
From 1 to 5 p.m., grazing school speakers will discuss how to select grasses and legumes, how forage crops respond to grazing, how to establish rotational grazing systems and how to manage cattle on irrigated pastures.
Presenters include Leonard Lauriault, the center's forage agronomist; Gary Donart, NMSU range scientist; Vivien Gore Allen, Thornton Distinguished Chair with the Plant and Soil Science Department at Texas Tech University; Clay Mathis, NMSU Extension beef cattle specialist; and Clint Krehbiel, NMSU animal nutritionist.
Following the grazing school, the center will have its annual field day, featuring an open house and tours, beginning at about 5:30 p.m.
"The evening format provides a nice opportunity to come out during the cooler part of the day and see what's going on," Kirksey said. "The audience we'd like to attract is anybody in the community who's interested in the agricultural science center."
Along with touring irrigated pastures, visitors can see cotton variety trials, cowpea production and warm-season grass research.
A meal will be furnished and no reservations are required. For more information, call the science center at (505) 461-1620.
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