Writer: D'Lyn Ford
CLOVIS - Agricultural scientists from New Mexico, Texas and Georgia will put peanuts under the microscope as they focus on the valuable niche crop at a special field day Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Clovis and Portales research plots.
"This year's program centers on new cost-saving production methods," said Naveen Puppala, a peanut breeder with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station. "One of our most promising technologies is the introduction of liquid inoculants which help fix nitrogen in the roots of the plant." Nitrogen is essential for plant growth.
The technique holds the potential for significantly reducing fertilizer costs, he said. In previous studies in Texas and Georgia, peanut farmers were able to lower their fertilizer application rates from 120 pounds per acre to 20 pounds per acre.
Registration and field tours for the free, public field day begin at 8:30 a.m. at NMSU's South Research Facility, located on County Road 4, five miles south of Clovis. At 10:30 a.m., the program moves to research plots at Eastern New Mexico University on the South Floyd Highway, adjacent to La Casa de Buena Salud Health Care Center.
NMSU researchers have several promising lines of Valencia-type peanuts under development which yield 10 to 12 percent more than existing varieties. Valencias, sometimes called ballpark nuts, account for less than 1 percent of U.S. peanut production but have been a financial mainstay for many eastern New Mexico farmers for more than five decades.
Well suited to the region, the red-skinned peanuts have a shorter growing season than the three other market types: runner, Virginia and Spanish peanuts.
The field day will open with a talk on insect control management by Carol Sutherland, an entomologist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, followed by a review of a peanut liquid inoculant study by Ron Sorenson, an agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Georgia.
Field tours will include a peanut breeding nursery, as well as an examination of the need for nitrogen fertilization on the High Plains by Calvin Trostle, an agronomist with Texas A&M University.
Darrell Baker, an emeritus agronomist with NMSU, will present an overview of the science center's fertility research, and Mark Burrow, a peanut breeder with Texas A&M, will talk about breeding early maturing peanut varieties.
Cho Young, a biologist with Eastern New Mexico University, will discuss development of drought-resistant peanut varieties, while Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County agent with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, will outline NMSU's peanut disease and fertility studies.
According to the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Service, the state's farmers produced 54 million pounds of peanuts on 18,000 acres last year.
If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please call Puppala at (505) 985-2292 or your county Extension office in advance.
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