What is in this article?:
- Cutworms could threaten New Mexico alfalfa.
- Conditions may favor cutworm survival.
- Alfalfa is New Mexico’s top crop.
Pest management program
Over 30 percent of New Mexico’s alfalfa is exported to out-of-state buyers. New Mexico producers consistently monitor insects including the blister beetle. With New Mexico State University's (NMSU) outstanding pest management program, coupled with effective, environmentally safe controls, producers continue to reduce unwanted insect population in New Mexico alfalfa.
Through the work of NMSU and its extension service, ongoing research into alfalfa has produced outstanding varieties and methods of production that under the right conditions can and does provide an excellent and nationally recognized hay crop.
Most years, free from the constant worry of unkindly rain, hay producers can control irrigation, cutting and baling to meet the exact specification for premium hay. The relatively low humidity is ideal for perfect curing of windrowed hay, with an absolute minimum of quality and nutrient loss.
In addition, part of the essence of New Mexico's hay quality is that most hay is baled at night – a technique not as common in less arid regions of the country. When the humidity begins to rise during the night, New Mexico farmers spend countless night-time hours monitoring the humidity and making many moonlit trips to check fields, waiting for the perfect baling conditions.
Doña Ana County ranked second in cash receipts, with crop production (first in the state) representing 49.9 percent of its total. Several eastern counties—Chaves, Roosevelt, Union, Lea, and Eddy—followed Curry and Doña Ana counties in cash receipts.