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Department Research

Ag Science Centers

Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Research Center

The Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde is dedicated to research on sustainable agriculture to benefit the small family farms of north central New Mexico. It consist of 61 acres on the east bank of the Rio Grande, halfway between Taos and Santa Fe. Crops are irrigated primarily by surface methods.

Many new research projects are currently underway. In general, research is aimed at developing economically- and ecologically-sustainable crop production systems for north central New Mexico. Crops in our research program include apples, chiles, asparagus, sweet corn, grapes, and many other vegetable and fruit crops as well as forage and cover crops.

Graduate students and faculty may stay at the center while evaluating the station for potential research or conducting research. The center includes a bath and a kitchen. Visitors must bring their own cookware and sleeping bags. Some lab facilities are available.

Artesia Agricultural Science Center

Six miles south of Artesia on Four Dinkus Road, this Agricultural Science Center serves the needs of the Pecos River Valley agricultural region of southeast New Mexico. The center is 150 acres, of which 73.9 acres are under cultivation, and water rights are owned for 98 acres. An underground pipeline irrigation distribution system delivers water to the land. Buildings at the center include an office building and laboratory with attached greenhouse, a barn for housing farm machinery, farm/shop equipment, and drying oven, a residence for farm foreman, and two metal barns used for storing equipment.

Research projects that are in progress at the Agricultural Science Center include evaluating alfalfa, cotton, peppers, asparagus, forage corn, and forage sorghum. Researchers are studying weed control for peppers and cotton, as well as modeling cotton growth, which includes irrigation, fertility, and growth regulators. Scientists also are studying grazing effects of angora goats on alfalfa and winter-annual small grains.

Clovis Agricultural Science Center

The 156-acre Agricultural Science Center at Clovis is in the high plains farming region of eastern New Mexico and specializes in dry land and irrigated agriculture. Soil types range from a silty clay loam in northern Curry county to fine sandy loam in Roosevelt county. Crops in this region range from the traditional agronomic crops, vegetable crops, potatoes, and peanuts.

Research areas include soil fertility, water use and infiltration, and the economical analysis of no-till systems. Maximum fertility levels in a high residue system have been evaluated for sorghum and wheat. Comparisons are made between tillage systems in the nutrient dynamics of carbon and nitrogen. Water availability and adequate precipitation are major concerns in the high plains farming region. Research shows water savings occurs when chemical weed control during the fallow period replaces tillage. Also, the infiltration rate is higher in a no-till system.

No-till or high residue farming may be sustainable eventually. If this is not profitable, it will not be adapted. Investigating the economic feasibility of adapting to a no-till system is being examined.

Farmington Agricultural Science Center

Serving the San Juan River basin agricultural region of northwest New Mexico, the Agricultural Science Center at Farmington consists of 253 acres leased in 1966 for 66 years with an option for renewal. The center gets water from the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project to irrigate the crop lands by sprinkler systems (center pivots, side roll, and solid set). The center is staffed with three professional positions and eight support staff.

Agronomic crop research includes wheat (both winter and spring types), barley, oats, corn, alfalfa, and crambe variety trials. Turf research includes blue grass variety trials, and buffalo and blue grama evaluations for low-maintenance lawns. Dry bean variety and type trials, including row spacing and other management for white mold control are conducted. No-till and minimum-till trials with potatoes are evaluated. Fertilizer-type and placement trials and herbicide-type and application trials are conducted with corn, cereal grain, and dry beans in various rotations. Agronomic crops evaluated in the past include soybeans, safflower, kenaf, licorice, alfalfa, grass, buckwheat, sugarbeets, canola (rape), rye, triticale, and pasture.

Horticultural research includes variety and fertilizer trials on asparagus, variety and herbicide trials on potato, and variety trials on spinach. Horticultural crops evaluated in the past are tomato, apple, pear, peach, nectarine, cherry, grape, cucumber, pea, green pumpkin, winter and summer squash, and Christmas trees. The center has a good weed-control program. Work is done in no-till plots and clean tilled areas. Important areas of study include leaching associated with herbicides and potential to contaminate drainage water, which affects future crops. Past areas of study in insect control include the corn ear worm, apple codling moth, and Russian wheat aphid.

Water research emphasizes efficiently applying water on various crops. Areas of work include determining the water use-production functions of the primary crops in the area. This project includes developing and evaluating formula to predict water application and consumptive use of crops.

Graduate students may participate in the program. Most research is towards adaptive or applied research programs. However, small breeding programs have contributed to the total program in the past. The center has a two-bedroom trailer-house with two baths. Anyone who uses this facility must furnish bed covers and linens. The trailer is furnished with four single-beds, a stove, a refrigerator, a table, and chairs.

Fabian Garcia Science Center

New Mexico State University's Fabian Garcia Science Center is situated on a farm purchased by the University in 1906. This 45-acre farm is located within two miles of the main campus in Las Cruces. The activities of the farm include teaching, research, and extension in horticulture and agronomy.

Current facilities include research and teaching fields, research and teaching greenhouses, and a classroom. Horticultural research activities include onion, chile, forestry, ornamental, as well as cut flowers, vegetable, and fruit variety trials. Agronomy research in alfalfa and cotton also is conducted at the facility. Greenhouse production of forest seedlings and cut flowers are also part of the program. Both furrow and drip irrigation are available for teaching and research activities.

The farm contains a botanical garden and turf demonstration plots; both are open to the public. They are used to screen new plant material and to teach landscape, ornamental design, and maintenance classes.

The farm employs a full-time staff and many students. Students work in varied levels of operations, from farm labor to technical level positions. Graduate students use the farm to conduct their research. The Cooperative Extension Service uses the facilities to conduct short courses in different horticultural activities.

Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center

Serving the needs of irrigated agriculture in south-central and southwest New Mexico, the Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center (LPSRC) consists of 200 acres of varying soil types approximately eight miles from the NMSU Las Cruces campus. The facility maintains a full-time farm crew and mechanic to support operations. Many students work at the center in various aspects of research. The research facilities include a shop, lab, office building, work barn, storage areas, greenhouses, and assorted farm equipment. An irrigation district provides water via a canal with 18 cfs capacity or from three on-farm wells. The irrigation system consists of underground pipe that serves every field. However, basin flood, furrow, sprinkler, or drip irrigation techniques can be used.

Research at the center includes insect control, plant (chile, cotton, alfalfa) breeding, disease control, nematode control, production management techniques, and herbicides studies. The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science, and the USDA perform projects at the center. Other university departments also use the center.

The LPSRC offers excellent opportunities for faculty and graduate students to pursue their agricultural research goals.

Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center

Comprised of 200 acres of irrigable land, the Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas supports research that serves small- and intermediate-size farms of the middle Rio Grande valley. It was established in 1937, five miles south of the center of Albuquerque. As the area became urbanized, the Center was relocated to a site three miles south of Los Lunas in 1957. Crops currently evaluated are alfalfa, sorghum, corn, grapes (wine and table), peanuts, sweet potatoes, native plants, chile, asparagus and other vegetables. The Rio Grande provides flood irrigation water in the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Two supplemental irrigation wells to provide water when the river has a shortage of water.

A cooperative agreement between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and New Mexico State University was initiated in early 1957 to establish the Plant Materials Center at the center. The cooperative plant materials program has helped develop new plant materials for use in poor water quality situations, mined land reclamation, soil stabilization, roadside beautification and reclamation of riparian areas. Twenty three grasses, three forbs, and eleven woody plants have been named and released. This represents more total varietal releases than any other plant materials center in the country.

Mora Research Center

The Mora Research Center is one of ten science centers in the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station system. The Center is located approximately 40 miles south of Taos, NM in the town of Mora, NM (elev. 2,195 m). The Center is located on 47 hectares of which 28 is forested and 19 is irrigated. Facilities housed at the Center include a computer controlled, three-bay fiberglass greenhouse, a 180 m©˜ heated cold frame, 216 m©˜ shade house, a dry laboratory, a modern vegetative propagation facility, several walk-in coolers/freezers, a well-equipped shop, farm equipment (primarily oriented to field forestry research), seed processing equipment and field ecology and physiology equipment. Recently, a 360 m©˜ stress-house/rain-out shelter was installed and is currently being tested. This facility will provide an opportunity to manipulate water input while maintaining other ambient environmental conditions. Also, the Center manages a 270 m©˜ greenhouse, a 225 m©˜ shade house, and a wet laboratory on the main campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.

Research at the Center primarily focuses on woody plant physiology and restoration ecology. The Center is unique in the state of New Mexico. Presently, researchers associated with the Center work in the areas of restoration ecology, container production of woody plants, forest genetics and tree improvement, high elevation ornamental and Christmas tree production, forest biology, silviculture and agro forestry.

Center staff work closely with on-campus researchers on the main campus in Las Cruces. Many graduate students over the past fifteen years have conducted their research at the Center or in the Center's facilities in Las Cruces. Programs and projects at the Center have funded many cooperative graduate students at the main campus in Las Cruces. The Center looks forward to these continuing endeavors.

The Center is funded through various mechanisms including grants from State and Federal agencies, foundations, and private industry.

Tucumcari Agricultural Science Center

The Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari is located approximately three miles northeast of beautiful downtown Tucumcari in Quay county. This center supports projects benefiting the Canadian River and upper Pecos River basin agricultural region of New Mexico. Geographically, this area is classified as high plains and is home predominately to ranching and water-efficient farming techniques and crops. Most crops in this area need irrigation, although there are many acres of dry land grain sorghum and alfalfa.

On the station, research is conducted in both animal and plant science endeavors. Some of the research currently being conducted includes bovine grazing and nutrition, forage and pasture improvement, native and non-native grass species adaptation, blue corn improvement, alfalfa forage evaluations, as well as yearly evaluations of typical row crops grown in this area (hybrid corn, grain sorghum, cotton, and dry beans). Soon to be implemented will be investigations into crop fertility (alfalfa, grain sorghum and cotton), an expanded germplasm evaluation of non-hybrid "wild" corn, and legume-grass pasture establishment. Throughout the history of this station (established in the early 1900s), there has been a considerable effort towards soil conservation techniques. Many of these techniques are old (trees for windbreaks) and some are current (native grass strips between the experimental farming units), but all are noteworthy as to species used, methods of establishment, and effectiveness.

The facilities and staff of this station are engaged in applied agricultural research. Research in cooperation with or originated by a graduate student is encouraged. There is a modern, two bedroom mobile home on station that could be used to house visiting researchers.