Residents of New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Valley can learn about raising chile during a chile field day, Tuesday, Aug. 30, at New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center, 1036 Miller Street SW, Los Lunas.
“New Mexicans love their chile,” said Stephanie Walker, NMSU’s Extension vegetable specialist and chile researcher. “This field day is a great opportunity to get to know the different chile varieties and what makes each unique, as well as learning about NMSU’s ongoing research efforts to strengthen New Mexico chile production.”
The field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. The three-hour program will begin at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Mark Marsalis, superintendent of the Los Lunas science center.
Dealing with weeds is a big part of raising anything, including chile. Leslie Beck and Brian Schutte, NMSU Extension weed specialists, will talk about identification and management of weeds in chile fields and herbicide trials exploring new options for growers.
Charles Havlik, NMSU research assistant at Los Lunas, will discuss New Mexico landrace chiles and ongoing participatory breeding efforts with individuals and communities to develop and improve these varieties.
The commercial chile industry faces many issues, including having a labor force for harvest. NMSU is conducting research on chile mechanization to help alleviate this issue. Walker and Paul Funk, U.S. Department of Agriculture agricultural engineer, will present an update on this research and conduct a demonstration of the mechanical chile harvester.
The program will conclude with a presentation on chile variety selection by Israel Calsoyas, NMSU vegetable program coordinator, including a chile roasting demonstration.
The chile field day is free of charge and open to the public. The event is sponsored by NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Extension Plant Sciences, Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service and the Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center.
For more information, call Walker at 575-646-4398.