Grain & Forage Crops
For more than 50 years, scientists at the center have evaluated corn, wheat and sorghum varieties under irrigated and nonirrigated conditions. Although the increases in regional yields attributed to these trials have not been quantified, it is known that growers of these crops statewide have benefitted from the annual tests and use the information for variety selection. Even seemingly minor increases of just 1 bushel per acre can have an estimated economic impact $2 million annually.
Water conservation research is of utmost importance and is necessary for the sustainability of agriculture in the region. The large concentrations of dairy cattle located in eastern New Mexico warrant research and extension projects that focus on sustainable production of crops grown specifically for dairy feed.
Recent research at the station on corn and forage sorghum is providing information to farmers on best management practices for the silage crops when grown with restricted amounts of water. Forage research using water conservation helps support both the beef and dairy industries and the livelihoods of the farmers that supply animal industries with feed.
Peanut and Specialty Crops
New Mexico's peanut industry exists largely due to research at the center. Valencia A and Valencia C peanuts, which were developed here, account for 90 percent of the peanuts grown in the state today. New Mexico's peanut production is valued in excess of $8 million annually. Research contributes to continued improvements in peanut production through investigations of fertility, inoculants, disease resistance and water management practices.
New research on alternative specialty crops is a major part of the station activities. Crops such as canola, sunflowers, and camelina are being investigated for potential in the region to produce viable cropping systems for edible oil and biofuel uses. In addition, legume crops including cowpeas, lablab and other beans are evaluated for inclusion into forage systems to improve feeding value of silage crops and improved resource-use efficiency.