The following is a sampling of horticulture research projects relevant to small farms. If you have a specific interest that is not addressed here, contact Marvin Pritts, Chair, Department of Horticulture, at 607-255-1778 or email@example.com.
Click on a title below to navigate to the specific project.
IMPROVEMENT OF STRAWBERRY, RASPBERRY, AND BLACKBERRY CULTIVARS | NEW VARIETIES FOR THE NY APPLE INDUSTRY | SOIL MANAGEMENT IN BERRY CROPS AS A MODEL FOR MANAGEMENT EDUCATION | PUMPKIN TRANSPLANTS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO DIRECT SEEDING | DEVELOPMENT OF COLD-HARDY, DISEASE RESISTANT WINE GRAPES| A TRANS-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO DEVELOPING AN EASTERN BROCCOLI INDUSTRY | INCREASING QUALITY, DIVERSITY, AND SEED AVAILABILITY OF POTATO VARIETIES FOR SMALL-SCALE FARM | IMPROVING THE YIELD AND QUALITY OF SWEET POTATOES GROWN IN NEW YORK | DEVELOPMENT OF DISEASE MANAGEMENT, FERTILITY, AND WEED CONTROL BEST PRACTICES FOR NORTHEAST GARLIC PRODUCTION | INNOVATIVE UNDERTRELLIS MANAGEMENT FOR VINEYARDS | Extension Resources
IMPROVEMENT OF STRAWBERRY, RASPBERRY, AND BLACKBERRY CULTIVARS
|The ultimate goal of this project is to develop improved strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry cultivars through the integration of traditional breeding and biotechnology. The main focus is New York State and the northeastern U.S. with possible testing in other regions. Fruit quality characteristics evaluated include size, firmness, color, flavor, texture, and overall appeal. Yield components include overall tonnage and harvest efficiency and are a combination of fruit size and numbers and uniformity of maturity. Pest resistance includes resistance to microbial pathogens and arthropod pests.Trials of new varieties are an integral part of the program to provide accurate comparisons to the industry standards. New, high quality strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry cultivars adapted to the NY climate are key to the continued viability of the NY small fruits industry. Varieties developed in the local climate will perform better and require fewer inputs, making them more profitable to local growers. Compared to mass market varieties from California or Florida, Cornell varieties maintain a better flavor and eating quality that the local consumer demands.||Duration: Ongoing
Project Leader: Dr. Courtney Weber, (315) 787-2395, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Partners: Dr. Greg Loeb, Dr. Wayne Wilcox, Dr. Kim Lewers, Dr. Marvin Pritts
Funding Sources: Federal Formula Funds/Hatch Funds; Royalties on patented strawberry and raspberry varieties collected from plant sales.
|This project establishes test plantings of NY apple breeding selections in commercial orchards to fast track the development and testing of potential new breeding varieties. Sites include growers with roadside marketing and targets apple selections suited to their unique needs.||Project Period: Ongoing
Project leader: Susan Brown, email@example.com
Funding source: NY Farm Viability Institute
|This project will provide in-depth berry crop nutrition and soil management training and resources for agriculture educators and the commercial berry growers they serve. The project will focus on helping agriculture educators build berry crop nutrient and soil management expertise through 1) a series of in depth webinars and case study learning modules and 2) development of Internet resources to be used by educators in grower training. The project will help educators to 3) develop and implement grower training programs and4) carry out one-on-one consultations with participating growers. It will also involve educators in monitoring adoption and success of analysis-based berry crop nutrient and soil health management implemented by growers. A whole farm soil and nutrient management decision tool for commercial berry crops will be developed from existing resources. This tool, along with accompanying agriculture educator and commercial grower training materials, made available via the Internet, will provide a “one-stop-shop” resource for agriculture educators interested in building skills or providing training and commercial berry growers interested in improving berry crop soil and nutrient management. Soil and nutrient management principles and practices gained through this project will have application to other crops as well.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Hosted webinar series covering berry soil and nutrient management practices
Project Leader: Marvin Pritts, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Partners: Mary Catherine Heidenreich, email@example.com, see sare.org for complete list
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of better soil management practices, resulting in better crop yields
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # ENE11-120
For More Information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/ENE11-120
|Pumpkins are traditionally started in bare soil by direct seeding. Growers often over-seed and must later thin to the proper populations. As the price of pumpkin seed rises for improved hybrid varieties, growers have experimented with using pumpkin transplants. Preliminary field trials suggest transplants might out yield traditional direct seeding by 25 to 40%. This project, conducted by Sarah Hulick, MS candidate in Horticulture, includes trials comparing the use of plastic mulch to bare soils. Hulick will be assessing the results for yield as well as the cost of production practices.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Transplants, both in bare ground and in black plastic, showed improved yields compared to direct seeding. Direct seeded plots in bare ground were the lowest yielding. The best options for growers to increase yields are to transplant in bare ground or direct seed in plastic mulch.
For More Information: Contact Sarah Hulick, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Duration: June 2011 -December 2012
Project Leader: Steve Reiners, (315) 787-2311, email@example.com
Project Partners: Sarah Hulick, Chris Wien, Brad Rickard
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Greater yield while using less land. Precision planting of transplants allows for cultivation/weed control both parallel and perpendicular to rows. Pumpkins rank in the top three crops produced by NY vegetable growers (following sweet corn and tomatoes) and are often grown on small acreages.
Funding Source(s): Cornell University Graduate School
|The Cornell grape breeding program is developing new wine grape varieties adapted for the northeastern U.S. One important feature of this effort is the selection of new varieties in vineyards receiving no fungicide or insecticide treatments. Disease pressure is severe and yet there are selections that grow well and produce fruit of good quality under such conditions. Disease resistance genes are being sought from a variety of wild species of North American grapes. Highly disease resistant selections are being tested for wine quality with Dr. Henick-Kling in the Food Science department. Further trials with interested growers are just beginning. This project is expected to help small farm operators make good use of easy to grow grapes that require little or no pesticide application.
For More Information: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/reisch/grapegenetics/grapeinfo.html
|Duration: Began 1988, ongoing
Funding Source(s): USDA Viticulture Consortium-East; NY Wine and Grape Foundation
BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS FOR GRAPE DISEASES
|The objective of this research is to determine how prevalent Agrobacterium vitis, the cause of grape crown gall, is in grape propagation material and whether specific biological controls for the disease are effective.In the laboratory, researchers developed a new, sensitive method for indexing grape cuttings according to the presence of the pathogen, and have been using it in collaboration with stakeholders. Nurseries provide the lab with materials used to test biological control strains.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: The project’s newly developed, highly sensitive indexing method is now being tested with plant material from northeastern nurseries.
Project Leader: Thomas J Burr, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Partners: Amberg Nursery, Weimer Nursery, Dr. Frank Nurser
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: The benefits include important knowledge on whether A. vitisis present in grape propagation material. Also in development is a biological control that can be implemented by commercial nurseries and grape growers.
Funding Source(s): Hatch, FFF, USDA National Clean Plant Network
|A conﬂuence of economic, social, and scientiﬁc conditions has created an opportunity to make broccoli a signiﬁcant crop in the eastern U.S. Broccoli hybrids are evaluated in ﬁve eastern trial locations. Results provide feedback to broccoli breeding programs, identify top material for commercial release, and inform production recommendations for growers. Nutrient analysis on trial material provides insights to genetic and environmental bases for improved nutritional quality. Commercial partners, including Bejo Seeds USA, Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Syngenta Seeds, and Johnny’s Selected Seeds, will identify new varieties for commercial release based on trial performance. The companies will assume responsibility for scaling up seed production and marketing new releases to eastern growers. Several lines that were advanced in the pipeline were released as varieties and became available for the 2012 season. Extension partners are working to develop grower networks along the Eastern Seaboard that together will be able to supply eastern broccoli year-round. GAP certiﬁed growers manage small production trials and will eventually scale up to ﬁll a supply slot for distributor partners. Economic analysis, including crop budgets and a variable transshipment model, allows cost-of-production benchmarking and guides growers to the most competitive production and post-harvest practices. Project partners are working with distribution and retail collaborators to build acceptance for eastern-grown broccoli among produce buyers and general consumers. Consumer surveys will provide feedback to broccoli breeders on the acceptability of various product attributes that may differ from western norms.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Release of new lines of seeds in the 2012 season
Project Leader(s): Thomas Bjorkman, email@example.com
Project Partners: Jeanine M. Davis, Miguel Gómez
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of new techniques to produce greater yields of quality broccoli in the eastern U.S.
Funding Source(s):USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Specialty Crops Research Initiative
ADOPTION OF ADAPT-N TECHNOLOGY ON FARMS
|The web-based Adapt-N tool was designed to improve corn nitrogen use efficiency by shrinking the uncertainty around the agronomic optimum nitrogen rate. It accounts for the dynamic, complex and locally-specific interactions among weather, soil, and management that affect crop-available nitrogen by using field-specific information supplied by users, and near real-time high resolution climate data, as inputs for a dynamic simulation model (Precision Nitrogen Management model). The Adapt-N web-interface provides a sidedress nitrogen recommendation and additional information to the user. In collaboration with consultants, extension staff, and growers in the Northeast (mostly NY) and Midwest (mostly IA), researchers beta-tested the Adapt-N tool to compare Adapt-N recommended rates with current grower practices in 84 replicated on-farm strip trials in grain and silage corn in 2011 and 2012. On average, nitrogen application rates were reduced by 53 lb/ac with the use of the Adapt-N tool. Yield losses from reduced nitrogen rates were negligible, except in a few cases where the tool was improperly used, model adjustments were needed, or unpredictable late season factors influenced outcomes. Adapt-N use increased grower profits by an average $27/ac (79% of trials had increased profits). Adapt-N also significantly reduced estimated leaching and denitrification losses. On-farm testing shows potential for Adapt-N to improve nitrogen use efficiency in corn, increase grower profits, and reduce environmental impacts of nitrogen use.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Farm strip tests showed that adoption of Adopt-N successfully decreased need for addition of nitrogen to soils.
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of new techniques to reduce amount of soil nitrogen inputs
Funding Source(s):New York Farm Viability Institute; International Plant Nutrition Institute
For more information: http://climatesmartfarming.org/tools/adapt-n/
|To identify varieties that perform well in both field and market, 310 specialty potatoes were evaluated, 48 of which were trialed by a network of 113 small-scale growers. Through multi-year, free-choice trialing, the growers documented relative yield of 27 potato varieties. By project’s end, 46 growers had adopted one or more of ten varieties new to the region. These high-performing potatoes include an American heirloom variety and cultivars originating from Europe, Peru, Alaska, and Cornell University in New York. They exhibit an array of tuber sizes, shapes, and skin/flesh colors, thus substantially adding to the diversity of potato choices for both growers and consumers in the Northeast. One double-certified (i.e., organic and state certified) potato seed grower started production in 2009 and is focusing on specialty varieties. As indicated by an end-of-project survey, 23 growers adopted one or more improved potato pest management practices (including extended rotation, increased row spacing for improved air flow around plants, rouging of volunteer potatoes, and use of clean seed and resistant varieties) that had been advocated at project outreach events.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: The increased variety of potatoes available to growers helps diversify small farms.
Project Partners: Elizabeth Dyck, Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of new potato breeds that have been field-tested for the Northeast region
Funding Source(s):SARE, grant #LNE08-272
REDUCING CLIMATIC AND DISEASE RISKS THROUGH MINIMUM TILLAGE SYSTEMS FOR VEGETABLES
|Reduced and modified tillage (RT) systems (e.g. no-tillage, zone-tillage, strip-tillage) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. This project has shown that zone and deep zone tillage systems can provide the environmental and economic benefits of an RT system for many vegetable crops without the harvest delays or losses observed in no-tillage systems. Each season, more vegetable growers express interest or try RT on their farms. The intent of this research is to evaluate the ability of RT systems to ameliorate large fluctuations in water supply which may result from climate change and to explore the role of RT in reducing crop losses to flooding, drought, and vegetable diseases like Phytophthora capsici.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Researchers hosted a series of workshops for farmers new to RT to learn more about how to successfully implement it on their farms.
Project Leader(s): Anusuya Rangarajan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of reduced and modified tillage systems which can facilitate increased management flexibility and timeliness and improved profitability
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # LNE10-301
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE10-301
|The objective of this project was to improve quality and production of sweet potatoes on 8 – 10 farms in the Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program. Fifty additional growers attended workshops and meetings and twenty of them added sweet potatoes to their operations, helping diversity the industry. Researchers worked with 8 vegetable growers currently growing sweet potatoes as part of their crop plan. Of the 8 growers, all of them added at least 2 new varieties (Covington, O’Henry, and Beauregard), and 4 growers actually changed their variety selection completely from Georgia Jet and Centennial to Beauregard and Covington as a direct result of this project’s variety trial studies. These growers verbally reported that the selection changes resulted in a higher percentage of marketable roots (less growth cracks and more uniform roots), but could not give specific yield data. All of the growers continued to increase their acreage according to how early they sold out of sweet potato roots in the winter. One doubled his acreage from 3 to 6 acres and another from 1 to 2 acres.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: By January of 2013, sweet potato slip sales had tripled from 2009. Nine out of 10 sweet potato growers who were given slips and instructed on how to plant, manage, and harvest the roots said that they would purchase slips in 2013.
Project Leader(s): Charles Bornt, email@example.com
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Increased production of sweet potatoes
Funding Source(s):SARE, grant # LNE10-292
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE10-292
SUSTAINABLE PEST MANAGEMENT IN HIGH TUNNEL WINTER GREENS PRODUCTION
|This project seeks to enhance farm sustainability by researching which greens varieties are more attractive to aphids and to promote early fall releases of parasitoids, late fall and winter applications of biorational pesticides, specifically Beauvaria bassiana, a naturally occurring fungal pathogen of aphids (OMRI approved). A farmer-developed technique of mixing diatomaceous earth with the spray, as well as neem oil, will also be evaluated. On-farm demonstrations, winter meetings, and newsletters will promote these techniques across New York State. Judson Reid, project leader, has successfully implemented numerous projects on biological control and high tunnels. A project technician will survey grower adoption of biological/biorational controls during the project.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: On-site grower trials have been successful thus far in reducing aphid populations.
Project Leader(s): Judson Reid, firstname.lastname@example.org
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Enhanced farm sustainability
Funding Source(s):SARE, grant # LNE10-302
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE10-302
|As the number of garlic growers and acreage in garlic have increased, the number of diseases associated with this once trouble-free crop have also increased. Nearly 25% of growers surveyed indicated they have lost 30% or more of their garlic crop at least once in the last five years. To reduce these losses and increase productivity, this project seeks to develop best practices for garlic in the Northeast through a series of research trials. A trial will examine marketable yield and disease incidence after post-harvest treatments, including heated curing, cutting garlic tops and roots prior to curing, and washing immediately following harvesting.A weed control trial will compare both organic and conventional options to determine which weed controls are the most efficient, effective, and feasible for organic and conventional growers. A fertility trial will compare available recommendations from the Northeast to determine optimal timing and rates of fertilizers. These trials will be replicated from the Albany, NY area down to Long Island, providing a diversity of soils, environmental conditions, and hardiness zones which will be applicable throughout the Northeast.||Duration: Ongoing
Project Leader(s): Crystal Stewart, email@example.com
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Increasing garlic yields
Funding Source(s):SARE, grant # LNE12-319
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE12-319
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Widespread dispersion of garlic growing publications provided farmers with in-depth explanations of beneficial growing techniques.
|This project evaluates alternative strategies for undertrellis (under-vine) management through research plots and demonstration plots that explore a range of management options including mowing and the use of seeded perennial ground covers. This work will include a detailed examination of management practices on vine growth, fruit composition, and nitrate leaching to groundwater. By incorporating data and observations from research and demonstration plots, growers will possess the knowledge and tools for evaluating and implementing alternative strategies in their own vineyards.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Project results concerning green covers and reducing need for pesticides in vineyards continue to be widely distributed to Northeastern grape growers.
Project Leader(s): Alice Wise, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Partners: Elizabeth Tarleton, email@example.com
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Decreasing pesticide usage in vineyards
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # LNE12-322
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE12-322
USING CANOPY MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE FUNGICIDE USE AND IMPROVE FRUIT COMPOSITION IN WHITE WINE GRAPES
|The goal of this project is to develop, demonstrate, and implement grower-identified practices in NY/Northwestern PA vineyards that reduce fungicide use and improve wine quality, resulting in increased economic returns to wine grape growers and decreased environmental impact. Through collaboration with grower-partners, researchers will introduce low-cost practices (shoot thinning, leaf removal) with potential to increase fruit quality and reduce pesticide demand. Researchers expect these practices to result in a more open canopy and improved air circulation, which in turn will reduce fungal pressure by decreasing the duration of wetness events, and improve penetration and efficacy of pesticides. Furthermore, they expect improved fruit composition resulting from optimized light interception by clusters. The project will consist of the following components: initial survey of grower practices, applied research comparing canopy management practices to control vines, on-farm demonstrations of each of the practices (also implemented in combination) compared to traditionally-managed canopies, on-farm workshops, newsletters, other educational opportunities, and final project assessment including a survey and interviews.
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: At least 15 vineyards have become newly involved in experimentation with canopy management practices.
Project Leader(s): Justine Vaden-Heuvel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Adoption of canopy management practices to improve fruit composition and lower disease pressure
Funding Source(s):SARE, grant # LNE09-289
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE09-289
Cornell University Department of Horticulture
The Department of Horticulture generates and extends knowledge about fruits, vegetables, and landscape plants for the purpose of sustaining the environment, enhancing economic vitality, and improving the quality of life for individuals and communities. 134A Plant Science Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. 607-255-4568. email@example.com | http://hort.cals.cornell.edu/
Cornell Small Farms Program
The Cornell Small Farms Program maintains current resources pertaining to fruit and vegetable, greenhouse, and ornamentals production. Visit www.smallfarms.cornell.edu and click on Resources > Production.
Geneva Agricultural Experiment Station
The NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva serves millions of NY consumers, agricultural producers, food businesses and farm families throughout the state by translating state-of-the art research into industry innovation and economic growth. 630 West North Street, Geneva, NY 14456. 315-787-2011. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/communities/d30a07d2-96b9-44ff-867d-ed1404000304
Horticultural Business Management and Marketing Program
This program in the Department of Economics and Management places emphasis on adaptation of new technologies to enhance productivity while maintaining environmental quality and sustainability. Contact: Wen-fei Uva, Senior Extension Associate, 607-255-3688 firstname.lastname@example.org | http://hortmgt.aem.cornell.edu
PALS – Plants and Life Sciences Publishing (Formerly NRAES)
PALS produces publications and conferences on: horticultural production, dairy, livestock, and poultry production systems, agricultural waste management, consumer education, natural resources management, farm safety, biological engineering, environmental engineering, and more. For more information: PALS, Cooperative Extension, PO Box 4557, Ithaca, New York 14852-455. PALSpublishing@cornell.edu | http://palspublishing.cals.cornell.edu