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NMSU to hold 10th annual forage growers workshop in Los Lunas Dec. 3

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • Nov 11, 2019
woman in field
LOS LUNAS – The majority of New Mexico agricultural commodities are fueled by forage.

In 2018, New Mexico harvested 932,000 tons of forage products valuing $211,080,000.

Of the state’s $3.38 billion cash receipts for commodities in 2017, $2.22 billion came from livestock and milk production according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistic Service. The primary feed source for those commodities is forage.

Providing research-based information through workshops and publications, New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences helps farmers to produce high quality forage efficiently.

NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service in Valencia County is hosting the 10th annual Forage Growers Workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to share the latest forage information.

The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus, 280 La Entrada Road, Los Lunas.

Registration is $20, which includes program materials and lunch. Register online at

“I always look forward to meeting up with fellow farmers and visiting about the years’ successes and challenges,” said Eugene Abeita, a long-time grower in Isleta Pueblo. “I get my pesticide applicator CEU’s and talk one-on-one with the specialists and presenters. I learn something new every time I attend.”

Five CEUs are available for participants who have their New Mexico Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator’s license.

“There are many challenges to growing a high quality forage crop,” said Newt McCarty, Valencia County Agriculture Extension Agent. “Weather, water, insects and weeds are some of those. By providing the annual forage growers workshop, we hope to provide information, tools and guidance to address challenges and increase the income potential for producers.”

Workshop topics start with the benefits of leaf surfactants, a surface active agents, and adjuvants, any substance added to the spray tank that adds to the performance of the pesticide.

“Adding adjuvants and surfactants to your herbicide tank mix can improve the effectiveness of your herbicide applications, in addition to saving time and money throughout the growing season,” said Jim Wanstall, NMDA natural resource specialist. “This hands-on presentation will provide evidence of how this occurs.”

Robert Flynn, NMSU Extension agronomist will speak on soil sampling, and demonstrate how to collect a soil to submit for testing.

An irrigation water outlook will be provided by Mike Hamman, Middle Rio Grande Conservation District chief executive officer and chief engineer. He will discuss opportunities for more efficient and consistent water delivery in the future.

Leonard Lauriault, NMSU Extension forage agronomist at NMSUs Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari, will present rotational crop options between permanent crop rotations.

“When alfalfa hay fields or pastures become depleted, producers need alternative forages during the rotation period before replanting alfalfa,” Lauriault said. “Selecting the best alternative forage is critical to sustaining income and assuring successful re-establishment of the alfalfa.”

Research findings on plantain management in alfalfa will be presented by Leslie Beck, NMSU Extension weed specialist. She will also discuss managing common weeds in forages.

“We’re excited to have Cecilia Rosacker, Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust executive director, speaking on land trusts, how they work, and their benefits,” McCarty said.

Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, will present information on fescue and orchardgrass variety selection, establishment, and weed and fertility management.

USDA agency representatives will also present updates on programs available through the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Services Agency, and Valencia County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Decade of Support Award will be presented to Albert Benavidez with New Mexico Tractor Sales for their tremendous support of the forage workshop since its beginning in 2009.