Researchers talk peanuts on ag tour

Ronald Henning of Nitragin, based in Oklahoma, gestures towards a peanut demonstration plot during Thursday’s peanut day sponsored by New Mexico State University. (Freedom Newspapers: Kevin Wilson)

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — In the midst of concrete and asphalt in the city of Portales there is the essence of nature and eastern New Mexico agriculture — a peanut field.

The New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service has a demonstration plot off of the Floyd highway, just east of La Casa de Buena Salud and on Thursday it was one of the stops during the NMSU peanut field day tour. The plot contains green peanut plants of various sizes and appearances because the plants are being grown and treated in different ways.

Members of the NMSU ag extension office and NMSU’s Clovis Agricultural Science Center answered questions regarding many aspects of the peanut plant: plant health, diseases, yield, insects and methods and applications to combat all of these problems.

Roosevelt County Ag Extension Agent Floyd McAlister talked about one of the problems encountered in growing peanut plants is the pH of the soil. Soil pH refers to the acidity of the soil. McAlister said the soil started out with a pH of 8.4, and humic acid was added to lower the pH to 7 and help unlock plant nutrients.

“We’ve been buffering it (soil) back to 7,” McAlister said. “We don’t get the effect of salt build-up and it (high pH) restricts growth.”

The presentations showed other methods of controlling insects and disease. Christie Cleve, owner of C2T2 Enterprises of Roswell, maintained the health of peanut plants of four rows at the plot through the use of micorbial products.

Cleve said the micorbial products protect the environment from chemical pesticides and are naturally occurring. The soil acidifiers are used in the treatment of the soil to produce healthier peanut plants.

Ron Henning, a peanut product specialist, went on the tours to see the results of the products used to combat diseases and insects.

Henning, who works for Nitragin, Inc. of Reydon, Okla., said he was looking forward to seeing peanut fields which had been treated with Nitragin, Inc. products. The products are used to help give peanuts nitrogen for higher yields.

“I was interested in seeing the response to our inoculate products,” said Henning, a retired peanut farmer from Georgia. “It was a good response.”

Naveen Puppala, peanut breeder at the Clovis Agricultural Science Center, and Soum Sanogo, a pathologist from NMSU, also discussed their research on helping the resistance of peanut plants to disease and insects. Puppala said peanut farmers spend $200 to $250 per acre to treat their peanut fields.