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Field Day Set for Aug. 6 at NMSU Clovis Science Center

CLOVIS - High Plains crop research on peanut production, insect control and water efficiency will be showcased at a field day Aug. 6 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.



Peanut-cotton rotation practices will highlight a field day Aug. 6 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis. The free half-day program will also feature research on insect control and water efficiency. (06/19/2003) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Martin)

"We're hoping to beef up our programs to address issues related to the availability and use of water," said Rex Kirksey, acting superintendent of NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis. "In our area, the declining water in the Ogallala aquifer is a big issue."

The huge underground reservoir covers a total area 800 miles long and 400 miles wide, and includes South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Founded in 1949, the 164-acre Clovis science center is located 15 miles north of Clovis on State Road 288. The free field day program from 8:30 a.m. to noon will include a lunch provided by local agricultural businesses.

The field day will open with remarks from NMSU President Jay Gogue, Jerry Schickedanz, the dean of NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, and Tye Curtis, head of the local advisory committee.

The program will also highlight a discussion of peanut-cotton rotation practices by Clovis-based Naveen Puppala, a peanut breeder with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station. "We're trying to see if we can improve cotton yields by rotating with peanuts, which can provide the benefits of a fertilizer since they are a legume crop," he said.

Known for nitrogen fixation, legumes can add several hundred pounds of nitrogen per acre a year to a cropping system. Nitrogen containing components are necessary for the life of the plant.

Peanuts are a critical crop for many eastern New Mexico producers, he said. The state's farmers produced some 54 million pounds of peanuts on 18,000 acres in 2002, according to the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Service.

In addition, Brad Lewis, an NMSU entomologist, will present a program on insects in eastern New Mexico, while Denise McWilliams, an agronomy specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, will discuss forage water efficiency.

Mick O'Neill, superintendent of NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, will talk about the scientific importance of variety trials, and Leonard Lauriault, a forage agronomist at the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari, will discuss annual forages. Chris Cramer, an onion breeder with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station in Las Cruces, will present an update on onion research across the state.

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 Kirksey in advance at (505) 985-2292 or e-mail him at rkirksey@nmsu.edu.