The New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center (ASC) located in Los Lunas, New Mexico, was established in 1957. Since then, the center has conducted research for agronomic and horticultural crops adapted to the area. The Agricultural Science Center in Los Lunas primarily serves the Middle Rio Grande area and portions of central New Mexico.
The need for conservation plants and practices in these areas is extremely critical and complex. This is due, not only to the demands of the many different land uses, but also to the great diversity of elevation and climatic conditions that occur in the region.
Located on 200+ irrigated acres, four miles south of Los Lunas, the ASC evaluates crop adaptability, performance, and related cultural practices such as irrigation, pest management, plant growth, and regulation and propagation techniques.
Hay & Pastures
Forage crops such as alfalfa and grass hay, perennial pastures, and annual silage crops are vital components to regional agriculture. These crops are grown up and down the Middle Rio Grande Valley extensively and throughout the entire state of New Mexico. It is critical to study forages in order to learn how to better manage the water resources allocated to the production of feed for livestock industries, and ultimately, for the food and fiber products they provide.
The most current alfalfa varieties are tested at the Los Lunas ASC for agronomic performance and yield potential in long-term studies. Yield information is relayed to producers so that productivity can be maximized and profits improved through proper variety selection. In addition, forage sorghum crop varieties are tested at the ASC; these water-saving annual crops are important as alternatives to alfalfa and are used in crop rotations and cover crop applications.
For more information on forages in New Mexico, visit the NM Forages Webpage.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
For more information on IPM in New Mexico, visit the NM Integrated Pest Management Webpage.
NRCS Plant Materials Center
Also located in the same facility is the USDA-NRCS Los Lunas Plant Materials Center. This division of operation addresses high-priority conservation problems of the multi-state areas they serve. Originally named the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), its nursery was located in Albuquerque in 1935. In 1957, they moved to the NMSU Agricultural Science Center in Los Lunas. The Los Lunas Plant Materials Center serves portions of a six-state area that includes parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
Some of the uses for the plants developed by the Los Lunas Plant Materials Center include rangeland improvements, reducing cropland erosion, wildlife habitat improvement plantings, and stabilization of critical areas that include surface-mined lands, highway slopes, gullies, and windbreaks.
For more information on the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plant Materials Center, visit the PMC Webpage.