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NMSU, NM Hay Association to host annual hay, forage conference in Ruidoso Jan. 17-19Irrigation efficiencies will highlight a hay and forage conference Jan. 17-19 in Ruidoso.

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • Dec 15, 2017
Combine cutting brown forage

Irrigation efficiencies and pest management will highlight the 2018 Southwest Hay and Forage Conference Jan. 17-19 at the Ruidoso Convention Center in Ruidoso.

“It is important for producers to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in the hay industry,” said Mark Marsalis, New Mexico State University Extension forage specialist. “This conference will address some of the most challenging issues that growers face on a daily basis.”

The conference, sponsored by the New Mexico Hay Association and NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, is targeted toward Southwestern hay, silage, and pasture producers, with information specific to the unique growing conditions and water issues in the region.

“This year, we’ve assembled a broad range of forage knowledge and expertise from universities, crop consultants and industry interests across the United States,” Marsalis said. “This panel of speakers is sure to provide valuable information that our New Mexico producers don’t want to miss.”

Among the speakers will be specialists from around the western United States with experience of producing forages in challenging environmental and economic conditions.

In addition, this year’s program will include a special crop consultant panel discussion, which will highlight some of the most pressing considerations that hay producers need to be aware of. The session will provide time for producers to bring their questions directly to the consultants, researchers and specialists, all in one place.

Irrigation-related presentations will include: 
– Mike Ottman, Extension agronomist with the University of Arizona, speaking on the economics of deficit irrigation of alfalfa 
– Daran Rudnick, irrigation management specialist with the University of Nebraska, speaking on the latest advances in irrigation technologies that are available to producers
– Craig Jones, Netafim USA, and Jason Westmoreland, NM Drip & Sprinkler, will introduce Precision Mobile Drip Irrigation, a new system, which combines the efficiency of drip irrigation with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of center pivot systems.

Pest-related presentations will include:
– Brian Schutte, NMSU weed scientist, will provide an overview of weed seed persistence in the soil and how best to manage for weeds long-term in alfalfa
– Ed Bynum, Texas AgriLife entomologist, providing the latest in corn insect pest management
– Jane Pierce, NMSU Extension entomologist, speaking about alfalfa weevil insect management 

Other crop presentations include:
– Sorghum forages update by Rick Kochenower, national agronomist for Chromatin, Inc. in Lubbock, Texas.
– Alfalfa variety selection presented by Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist.

Jim Libbin, NMSU professor emeritus, will give an overview of how to weather some of the financial and policy constraints that affect the hay industry.

A legislative update by Matthew Gonzalez of New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau will provide information on the latest bills and issues facing agricultural interests in the upcoming legislative session.

There will be opportunities for participants to hear from ag-industry representatives on the latest chemical, seed, equipment and other products available during two industry update sessions.

Thursday evening, family-friendly comedian Rik Roberts will be the after-dinner entertainment, which will be followed by a live band and dance.

This year’s program will include a special session, Painting with Peggy Krantz. Krantz is a local New Mexico artist who hosts “paint parties” for those who wish to learn how to paint and hone their skills in a fun and relaxing environment. A morning and afternoon session will be available on Thursday, Jan. 18, for just $30 per person per session.

The New Mexico Hay Association board of directors meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the MCM Elegante Lodge & Resort, formerly the Lodge of Sierra Blanca, and again immediately following the conference.

Six New Mexico pesticide applicator continuing education units have been approved for this meeting. CEUs for Texas and Arizona have been requested.

Preregistration is $100 per person before Dec. 29. Attendees can register at the door for $120. Annual membership dues to the association are $45. Register online at: Registration includes the two-day conference, two meals, door prizes, educational materials and entertainment.

On-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Convention Center. The conference adjourns at noon Friday.

Lodging is available, at a discount, adjacent to the Ruidoso Convention Center at the MCM Elegante Lodge & Resort (formerly the Lodge at Sierra Blanca). A number of rooms are reserved at the special rate. You can reach them at: 1-866-211-7727 or online at:

For more information on the conference, including a full agenda, visit http://www.nmhay.comor contact Cassie Sterrett by phone at 575-626-1688 or by e-mail at Registration forms are available online at or

Marsalis can be contacted at 505-865-7340 or

Contact Sterrett for a copy of the registration forms and exhibitor information. Booth space is still available.