Sorghum technology featured at field day

Freedom New Mexico: Jared Tucker New Mexico State University staff members eat lunch on a trailer Thursday during the annual field day.

Jared Tucker

Herbicide-tolerant sorghum was the hot topic discussed at Thursday’s annual field day, along with a speech by New Mexico State University President Barbara Couture, at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center in Clovis.

The sorghum that was discussed during the event is developed to combat the effects of grass herbicide used on weeds, according to Clovis extension agronomist Mark Marsalis.

Marsalis said the technological advances will be beneficial to sorghum growers because the herbicide can go over the top of the plant, something growers haven’t been able to do in the past.

Floyd Schlenker, of Rhea, Texas said he is excited about the possibilities of new sorghum varieties, especially the over-the-top herbicide resistant type.

“It would help us control a lot of weeds and grasses, and it would help our production and make us a lot more competitive,” Schlenker said.

Schlenker said the field day gave him a lot of information that will help him in the future, but probably not this year.

Couture spoke about a variety of issues, ranging from state funding cuts to eastern New Mexico’s annual agriculture revenue.

Couture said NMSU has found ways to cut costs without losing efficiency in its overall operations. She said the university saved $2 million last year by reducing vehicle usage.

Couture assured the agriculture community that NMSU will continue to stress to lawmakers the importance of continued agriculture research and development in eastern New Mexico, noting the big revenue it produces.

According to Couture:

• The peanut industry is an $80 million per year industry in itself.

• 90 percent of the state’s peanut crops are grown in eastern New Mexico.

• Couture said eastern New Mexico produces $500 million per year in cattle.

• 86 percent of the state’s wheat harvest comes from eastern New Mexico.