Ongoing Projects & Results
The Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde has several projects under way. Below we have information and links to the most recently completed or nearly completed projects and their results.
Evaluation of Jujube (Chinese date) fruit for adaptation in New Mexico. Jujube fruit is nutritious. It can be relied on to produce a crop every year, because it flowers late and therefore avoids late-frost crop losses common with apples, peaches, cherries, and other traditional tree fruit.
Evaluation of strawberry cultivars under two management systems. Strawberries can provide large gross returns per acre, but available cultivars vary greatly in their ability to grow in the high-pH soils typical of New Mexico.
Low-cost high tunnels (hoop houses) for production of winter greens, blackberries, and apricots.
Collaboration on further acequia system research at Alcalde, Rio Hondo, and El Rito from hydrological, ecosystem, socioeconomic, and cultural perspectives. Research projects investigate connections between the irrigated valleys and their associated uplands. In addition, these projects seek to understand and enhance the sustainability and resilience of these systems in the face of urbanization and severe drought.
Past Activities and Impacts
First organically certified research acres at NMSU established at SASC in order to assist fruit, medicinal herb, and specialty crop growers interested in producing and marketing organically. Studies under certified organic management were carried out on organic codling moth control in apples, peach cultivar evaluation, sweet and tart cherry cultivar evaluation, plum cultivar evaluation, wine grape soil management, table grape cultivar evaluation, bramble cultivar evaluation, and native medicinal herb production.
Relay-intercropping annual forages into sweetcorn and chile has shown that high levels of total seasonal crop production can be attained under local climatic conditions.
Research indicated that, besides providing for agricultural production, local acequia irrigation systems provide critical hydrologic functions. Water seeping out of the acequia ditch and percolating below irrigated fields is stored in the aquifer for several months and then released to the river as groundwater return flow. These systems take spring and summer runoff from the river and retransmit this flow to the river later in the year.
Research on medicinal herbs as alternative high-value crops. Depending on market prices, returns per acre can be substantial.
Research conducted with under-tree sprinkler systems in tree fruit to protect against late spring frosts.
Research on kura clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and brassicas evaluated to the extent that these alternative forages can provide options to forage and livestock producers.