A Black Cow with a Tag in Its Ear
Cows (Photo Taken by Alec Richards)

When the Spanish colonized New Mexico, they brought a variety of seeds from their homeland and Central America as well as an array of livestock- sheep, goats, cattle, and horses. Along with the livestock came the need to feed these animals with wild and cultivated forage crops. SASC evaluates alfalfa varieties as well as alternative forage crops.

SASC at Alcalde Publications

How-to Guides and Circulars

  • Guide A 609_Relay Intercropping Brassicas into Chile and Sweet Corn
    Intercropping is a type of multiple cropping system in which two or more crops are grown simultaneously on the same field. Relay intercropping is the production of a second crop planted into a field when the first crop has reached its reproductive stage but before physiological maturity. Because forage brassicas are frost-tolerant, they are potentially useful as a second crop in the high-desert regions of the southwestern United States. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of intercropping four brassicas on the yields of chile and sweet corn in a high desert region of north-central New Mexico.

Technical Publications

  • The 2002, 2003, 2004 New Mexico Alfalfa Variety Test Report
    Choosing a good alfalfa variety is a key step in establishing a highly productive stand of alfalfa whether for hay or pasture. This report, which is a collaborative effort of New Mexico State University scientists at agricultural science centers throughout the state, provides yield data for alfalfa varieties included in yield trials in New Mexico and guidelines for variety selection.

Additional NMSU Publications

How-to Guides and Circulars

  • Guide B 119_Strategies for Livestock Management in Riparian Areas in New Mexico
    The ecological and economic values associated with riparian areas are often viewed as conflicting with one another. This may be due to the fact that, historically, riparian areas were viewed as sacrifice areas, and the resultant livestock use was often quite heavy. However, the ecological importance of riparian areas has been increasingly recognized in recent years, and a number of management strategies have been developed that can maintain or improve their ecological condition and, simultaneously, improve their ability to provide high-quality forage to livestock. The critical first step toward achieving this goal requires that the livestock producer include maintaining or improving riparian condition as a management objective.
  • BL 796_ Perennial Cool-Season Forage Legume Performance
    in Diverse Soil Moisture Treatments, Southern High Plains, USA. While it is anticipated that few species will be better adapted to a region than those already commonly grown, continued screening is needed to identify the potential of species in previously untested environments. Marginal areas and reclamation sites that should be established in permanent cover are of notable concern. If species adapted to marginal lands can be grazed as pasture or harvested as hay, an economic benefit in addition to soil stabilization benefits can be derived.
  • Circular 585_Species Selection and Establishment for Irrigated Pastures in New Mexico
    To assist New Mexico's irrigated pasture producers with selecting and establishing pasture species, New Mexico State University's Agricultural Experiment Station has conducted research throughout the state and accumulated information from other states and producers. That information is presented here as a guide to developing productive, irrigated pastures in New Mexico. These recommendations might change as more data and improved species become available.
  • Circular 586_Irrigated Pasture Management in New Mexico
    This publication offers recommendations for New Mexico's irrigated pasture managers based on research conducted by New Mexico State University's Agricultural Experiment Station and in other states, as well as feedback from producers. These recommendations are subject to change as more information becomes available.
  • Circular 630_Small Grain Forages for New Mexico
    Small grain crops are used extensively in New Mexico for various types of forage production and animal feeding situations. Due to the large presence of beef and dairy cattle operations, as well as a significant horse industry in New Mexico and the extent to which these operations utilize baled and ensiled feeds, there is a need for an informative guide to assist in management of small grains grown for forage. This publication focuses on cool-season, annual cereal crops grown specifically for use in both hay and silage systems.
  • Circular 686_Grazing and Biodiversity
    Maintaining biological diversity of rangelands is an important and appropriate land management objective. The Linebery Policy Center for Natural Resource Management supports research, education, and development of management approaches that address and facilitate biological diversity (i.e., biodiversity) in rangeland ecosystems. This requires an understanding of what biodiversity is and the processes that contribute to biodiversity and its maintenance on rangelands, and development of strategies that can maintain all relevant ecological processes that support healthy rangelands and all the products and attributes of healthy rangelands, including biodiversity.
  • Circular 654_Selecting Alfalfa Varieties for New Mexico
    A successful alfalfa hay production system begins with selecting good varieties based on local adaptation; winter hardiness; resistance to diseases, insects, and nematodes; grazing or traffic tolerance; and seed quality, rather than seed cost or forage quality. Sustained benefit from the variety selection process in the form of higher yields-and therefore higher returns per acre over a longer life of the stand-is dependent on proper establishment, fertility, irrigation, harvest management, and pest control.

Technical Publications

Journal Articles & External Publications

  • "Irrigated Tall Fescue-Legume Communities in the Southern Rocky Mountains", Agronomy Journal, Vol. 95, No. 6, p. 1497-1503, Nov. 2003:
    Short-term testing of perennial forages may not determine their long-term persistence and productivity. A study initiated in 1994 at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde was continued from 1998 to 2001, comparing irrigated monoculture tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and tall fescue in binary mixtures with each of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.), or kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M.B.) in three randomized complete blocks. Percentage of harvested grass in mixtures declined in midseason, but grass dry matter (DM) yield increased across the season. **Abstract only linked**
  • "Evaluation of Irrigated Tall Fescue-Legume Communities in the Steppe of the Southern Rocky Mountains", Crop Science, Vol. 92 No. 6, 1998:
    Producers in the irrigated steppe of the southern Rocky Mountains are seeking ways to improve the summer productivity of their established cool-season grass pastures, commonly tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). From 1994 to 1997, a study was conducted under irrigation at the New Mexico State University Alcalde Sustainable Agriculture Science Center, in which dry matter yield of monoculture tall fescue was compared with that of swards containing tall fescue in mixtures with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.), and kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M.B.) in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. **Abstract only linked**
  • "Performance of Irrigated Tall Fescue-Legume Communities under Two Grazing Frequencies in the Southern Rocky Mountains, USA", Crop Science, Vol. 46, No. 1, p. 330-336, Received: Feb 7, 2005:
    Irrigated pastures form a significant component of agriculture in the irrigated steppe of the southern Rocky Mountains, USA. Information is limited, however, describing performance of grazed binary perennial cool-season grass-legume mixtures in the region. Established monoculture tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea Schreb. = Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire] + 134 kg N -1 (MONO) and tall fescue mixed with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (ALF/TF), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) (BFT/TF), cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) (CM/TF), or kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M.B.) (KC/TF) at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde were subjected to two grazing frequencies (grazed monthly or bimonthly mid-May to mid-September) from 1998 to 2000. Grass, legume, and combined dry matter (DM) yields were measured in May 1998 to 2001.** Abstract only linked**