IPM in New Mexico

State-by-State: IPM in New Mexico

New Mexico

Population: 2 million
Farm Operations: 24,700
Leading Agricultural Products:
  • Livestock: Dairy, cattle, sheep and goats
  • Crops: Hay, pecans, onions, corn, chile peppers, cotton, wheat, beans, sorghum
IPM Adoption Mandates: None

See a photo essay on IPM in New Mexico



Like many states, some of the biggest IPM challenges facing New Mexico are being caused by newly arrived invasive pests, including the Bagrada bug and spotted wing Drosophila.

“The Bagrada bug is a problem for organic producers, especially,” said Tessa Grasswitz, New Mexico’s state IPM coordinator and an entomologist at New Mexico State University. “A summary of our IPM-related needs would include better controls for squash bugs, grasshoppers and aphids.”

Aphids have become a greater concern as more small-scale growers have begun using hoop-houses to extend their growing season, Grasswitz said, which is providing more early season cover for aphid pests.

“Last year, we also found a new aphid pest of cereal crops that had been previously only found in California and Georgia,” she said. “We are getting more and more invasive species.”

Spotted wing Drosophila arrived in New Mexico in 2013 near Albuquerque, and has spread north to just beyond Santa Fe. Grasswitz was part of a six-state urban and small farms IPM project, and found that small farms on the urban fringe are great places to monitor for invasive pests, which tend to spread along the highway system.



New Mexico has an active Master Gardeners program, and provides IPM training to about 350 master gardeners annually. In addition, approximately 200 pesticide applicators and 150 schools facilities managers also receive IPM training. Grasswitz provides annual updates on IPM research at various events, including the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference, and helps conduct a series of “organic IPM farm walks” that train organic producers on IPM tactics.



Here is a sample of some of the IPM-related research going on in the state.

Southern root-knot nematode/weed interactions – an IPM need

Submitted by: Dr. Stephen Thomas, stthomas@nmsu.edu. Tel.: (575) 646-2321

One factor affecting the sustainability of specialty crops like chile and onions in New Mexico and other Southwestern states is the lack of cost-effective flexible management options for agricultural pest complexes that have developed over time and limit profitable production in many fields.  Such persistent interactions among weeds, nematodes, insects and diseases are particularly important to New Mexico producers who must intensively manage limited irrigated acreage. One of the most widespread and troublesome pest complexes involves southern root-knot nematode and common weed species, particularly yellow and purple nutsedge. Previous research has shown that a three-year alfalfa rotation will successfully manage the pest complex, however, the pest complex re-establishes after one season of a sensitive crop like chile.  Current research efforts aim to develop management strategies that offer more flexibility in crop selection for managing the pest complex.


Developing comprehensive IPM for chile pests: interactions between weeds, plant pathogens and nematodes

Submitted by: Dr. Rebecca Creamer, creamer@nmsu.edu. Tel.: (575) 646-3068

Weeds and pathogens such as nematodes, viruses and soilborne fungi cause substantial losses to chile production in New Mexico. Management of each of these pathogens and pests has proven difficult and costly if not impossible.  Recent research has shown that the weeds and plant diseases interact to the further detriment of chile production in New Mexico. To provide long-term management of all these pests, we need to understand which weeds are key to disease survival and to maintaining pest/pathogen genetic diversity. The goal of this project is to provide growers and crop consultants with a decision-making tool to identify fields where comprehensive weed IPM is required for chile production. Grower fields will be sampled and mapped to establish the relationship between various weed densities and incidence of virus, and nematode infection in these weeds, and incidence of these pathogens in associated chile plants.


Integrated Approaches for Managing Problem Weeds in Chile Pepper Production                          

Submitted by: Dr. Brian Schutte, bschutte@nmsu.edu. Tel.: 575-646-7082

Chile peppers are prominent in the culture and economy of New Mexico; however, chile pepper production in this state is threatened by global markets that supply the U.S. with an abundance of low-cost chile peppers.  The increasing abundance of imported chile peppers is directly related to production cost disparities that provide foreign competitors economic advantages over producers in the U.S. Most notably, hand labor, which is required for weeding and harvesting, is more expensive for chile pepper producers in New Mexico compared to foreign producers.  Thus, to remain competitive in a chile pepper production industry that is increasingly global in scope, chile pepper producers in New Mexico urgently need information and tools that reduce reliance on costly hand-labor. To address the needs of chile pepper producers in New Mexico, weed scientists at New Mexico State University are conducting research to expand chemical weed control options. 


Urban Pest Program

Submitted by: Dr. G. Simms, aromero2@nmsu.edu. Tel: (575) 646-5550

NMSU Urban Entomologist Dr. Alvaro Romero works at the interface of urban entomology, chemical ecology, toxicology and animal behavior. His initial targets are bed bugs, cockroaches and house flies. His program includes the expected evaluation of susceptibility or resistance of these insect pests to insecticides and in some cases, various repellants. He is also examining their sensory ecology and various behaviors, such as host seeking and feeding behaviors as well as microbe-insect interactions. Romero and molecular biologist Immo Hansen are also studying chemical attractants for bed bugs. Hopefully this work will lead to traps for early detection of bed bug infestations. He is also finding ways to prevent bed bugs from hiding in personal items, such as the use of repellants applied to luggage. Numerous repellants are on the market, but not much is known about their effectiveness.


Urban/Small Farm IPM Program

This program provides research, help and advice to the numerous small-scale growers of vegetables and fruits in New Mexico. Since many such growers prefer to use organic methods, or are opposed to using pesticides for philosophical or financial reasons, the research conducted under this program emphasizes non-chemical approaches wherever possible.


Agronomic Entomology

Submitted by: Dr. Jane Pierce, japierce@nmsu.edu. Tel.: 575-748-1228

This program focuses on entomological issues important to three major New Mexico crops: alfalfa, cotton and pecan. In alfalfa, the focus is on optimizing biological control of alfalfa weevil throughout New Mexico, as well as evaluating the impact of alfalfa crops on farm-wide pest predation. In cotton, the emphasis is on providing support for pink bollworm and boll weevil eradication, as well as evaluating pest problems associated with glandless cotton. In pecans, cultural and biological control of pecan nut casebearer is the main focus. Another recent project involves evaluating the possible transmission of Chagas disease in New Mexico by kissing bugs.