Archive for September, 2009

Ron White cutting ribbon

Ron White wrapped up his 31-year career at Cornell September 23 by cutting the ribbon on a new office facility at Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility. “When we started this project, I thought I’d be long gone before it was done,” recalls Ron, who praised Jill Freidmutter (foreground, right), CALS Assistant Director of Facility Operations, for helping to expedite the process.

New offices at Bluegrass Lane

White was lauded for his years of service, bringing a diverse skill set and exemplary work ethic to the job. While at Bluegrass Lane, he oversaw construction of a new irrigation pond, hoophouses and an ornamental plants research area protected by deer fencing. He supported researchers with his electronic and mechanical ingenuity, including design and construction of a mobile ‘rain-out’ shield for turf research.

Ron White

Best wishes, Ron.

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Updated [10/8/2009]: Registration is now open for the Short Course. Visit the events page at the Cornell Turfgrass website for more information.

Cornell Turfgrass Short Course
December 7-11
Cornell University Campus
Ithaca, N.Y.

Cornell turfgrassThis week-long course is designed to provide an overview of the latest research-based information regarding the art and science of turfgrass management. World-renowned Cornell University faculty and staff as well as national experts on lawn, golf and sports turf management will provide more than 30 hrs of instruction in both classroom and hands-on laboratories.

This course has historically been attended by new professionals or for those seeking to refresh their knowledge. However with the volume of new information regularly coming on-line even the most seasoned professional will benefit from hearing new ideas on fertilization, mowing, irrigation as well as the latest IPM strategies.

Look for program schedule and online registration coming soon to the events page at the Cornell Turfgrass website.

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Social Networking, Local Economies, and Agroecosystem Health
Dr. Casey Hoy
Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management at The Ohio State University
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
10:30 am to 11:30 am.
Videolink to this seminar Geneva available in 102 Mann Library

Abstract:

Social Networking, Local Economies, and Agroecosystem Health
Casey Hoy, Agroecosystems Management Program, OARDC

Agriculture in its many forms still accounts for approximately one third of the Ohio economy. Sustainability in agriculture, however, requires a reconnection of people with the land and farming, and economic opportunities that not only sustain farms economically but also forge strong bonds between farms and communities and protect and enhance the soil and biodiversity on which agriculture depends. Through grants from the USDA SCRI Regional Partnerships for Innovation program and the Fund for Our Economic Future, the Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is working to build local economies starting with food systems but also the advanced energy and renewable bioproducts that come from agriculture. This seminar will review a methodology we have explored for describing and mapping agroecosystem health in terms of both people and the land. Our approach to and experience with building partnerships using social networking tools and curriculum will be shared and participation in growing networks will be invited. Finally, a generic model will be described for building local economies that provide a needed counterbalance to the global economy and provide economic incentive for healthy and sustainable agroecosystems.

Casey Hoy holds the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management at The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. His background is in economic entomology, quantitative ecology and systems analysis. He currently works with colleagues in both the natural/physical and social/behavioral sciences and a wide range of stakeholder partners in leading the interdisciplinary Agroecosystems Management Program.

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Round up of recent news items …

    David Wolfe

  • “They’re no longer farming in a static environment,” says David Wolfe (right) in an article in a Sept. 4 story about the effects of climate change on farming in the Raleigh News & Observer (Farmers Warned to Get Ready). “They can’t rely on the calendar to tell them when to plant, they can’t rely on the variety of seeds they have always used, and they can’t rely on dealing with the same insect pests, because it’s all a moving target now.”
  • A forbidden fruit stages a comeback – Cornell Alumni Magazine chronicles the return of black currants, a crop on hiatus for years after being deemed a public nuisance in 1911.

    “The federal ban—a legacy of the timber lobby’s muscle amidst a turn-of-the-century building boom—was lifted in 1966, but New York State kept its own on the books until 2003, when a campaign by Hudson Valley farmer and Cornell extension agent Steven McKay brought science to bear. ‘The market value of Ribes in New York State could be higher than the whole pine timber industry,’ says McKay, who notes that today, rust-immune cultivars and improved management techniques substantially mitigate risk. ‘Not that we don’t need lumber,’ he says, ‘but there are places for Ribes and places for pines.’”

  • Plant Science Day

  • CALS clicks – eCALSconnect features Plant Science Day at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC) in Riverhead, N.Y. (right), Art of Horticulture class’s sod sofa, and the Organic Twilight Tour at Freeville in its monthly photo gallery.

  • New Cornell lab in Portland, N.Y., specializes in vines, wines – “Cornell deepened its century-long commitment to western New York’s wine, grape and juice industries when it officially opened its new $5.4 million Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) in Portland, N.Y., Aug. 25,” according to a Cornell Chronicle article.

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Sept. 14, 2009 Department of Horticulture seminar on the benefits of high tunnels for extending the season early and late for vegetables, flowers and berries. Presenters: Dr. Marvin Pritts, Dr. Chris Wien, and intern Elizabeth Buck.

High tunnel seminar, Dept. of Horticulture, Cornell University from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

For more information, visit the Cornell High Tunnels website.

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Fred CowettAn article in the Cornell Chronicle details Cornell’s first comprehensive tree inventory.

Conducted this summer, the survey found that the campus’s 7,000-plus trees store millions of pounds of carbon and provide more than half a million dollars in benefits to the university.

“The tree inventory of main campus — excluding the vast wooded areas within the gorges and campus natural areas — was conducted by Cornell graduate students Fred Cowett in horticulture (right) and Chris Gruber in landscape architecture …

“Tree data was run through a software program called STRATUM that estimates energy savings, carbon sequestration, storm water mitigation and the replacement value of trees.

“The software calculated, for example, that campus trees store a total of almost 15 million pounds of carbon; sequester 740,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year that would otherwise add to greenhouse warming in the atmosphere; provide total annual benefits in ecosystem services of more than $570,000 per year; and would cost $19 million to replace.

“‘The university has been very interested in obtaining an up-to-date tree inventory to enable running STRATUM and using the metrics from the program as part of the campus climate plan,’ said Cowett.

Read the whole article to find out the oldest and largest trees on campus.

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Update [9/25/2009]: See also Cornell Chronicle article, Class-sized sod sofa satisfies whims, builds teams.

Sod sofa in 60 seconds from Cornell Horticulture on Vimeo.

Marcia Eames-Sheavly‘s Art of Horticulture class — with the assistance of turf specialist Frank Rossi and Cornell Plantations staff — spent the afternoon of September 8 creating a sod sofa in the pond area of the F.R. Newman Arboretum.

Sod sofa in Cornell Plantations arboretum.

Students raked and shoveled to shape the sofa in a slope near the pond’s edge. Then under Frank’s tutelage put the sod in place. In 2007 and 2008, the class built sod sculptures at Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility adjacent to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

Art of Horticulture students laying sod.

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Field day at  Norwich Meadows Farm NYFVI photo.8/28/2009 news release from the New York Farm Viability Institute featuring High Tunnels project led by Chris Wien:

The opportunity to extend New York’s growing season, and produce crops that are bigger, better looking and higher yielding has many growers considering high tunnels.

“Living in the northeast, we have a lot of weather that is not good for growing crops. The more high tunnels I can put up, the more I will,’’ said Zaid Kurdieh, owner of Norwich Meadows Farm, in Norwich, NY. …

For the past few years, Cornell University has been conducting on-farm research trials to be able to make recommendations about production practices, crops, varieties, pest management, economics, and more. An outreach campaign to share information with farmers includes field days, a website, blog, farm visits by Cooperative Extension educators, and more. …

“A cool, wet season is a good argument for high tunnels, especially if you are growing warm-season crops – tomatoes, eggplants, and so on,” said Judson Reid, a vegetable specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The chance to increase yields, or attract premium prices for, say, fresh and local lettuce in April, or strawberries in September, has attracted the interest of numerous growers and start-up farmers.

Read full news release.

Visit Cornell High Tunnels website.

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There’s a bonanza of learning opportunities for berry growers this fall:

Hardy kiwifruit

Hardy kiwifruit

Berry Webinar Series – Starts Sept. 9. The first of the dozen inter-active, hour-long ‘webinars’ will focus on growing strawberries on plastic and in high tunnels. Join in these free (pre-registration required), interactive online seminars roughly twice a month through next winter or view archived webinars.

Raspberry High Tunnel Field Day and Demonstration – Sept. 24, 2009, 2 to 6 p.m. See primocane fruiting raspberry trial in a multi-bay commercial tunnel system at the Lucy-Robbins Farm in the town of Geneva, N.Y.

Hardy Kiwifruit Open House – October 2, 1 to 3 p.m., Lansing, N.Y. Learn how to plant, train, prune, pollinate and manage kiwifruit pests. Tour a large planting of trellised kiwifruit just prior to harvest and taste the vine-ripened fruits.

Raspberry and Blackberry High Tunnel Open House – October 15, 1 to 4 p.m., East Ithaca Farm, Maple Ave., Ithaca. Observe primocane-fruiting raspberries and blackberries, see the growth that can be obtained with black raspberries and thornless blackberries under a high tunnel, meet with researchers, and taste fruit.

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Learn insect identification at Greenhouse IPM “In-depth” Hands-on Workshops

Learn insect identification at Greenhouse IPM “In-depth” Hands-on Workshops

Opportunities abound for greenhouse growers looking to learn lower-risk ways of dealing with pests:

Greenhouse IPM Hands-On Workshop

Binghamton (10/2), Rochester (11/5) and more locations to be announced this winter.

Gain hands-on experience on 3 topics taught by Cornell and NYS IPM specialists:

  • Insect identification
  • Disease identification
  • Measurement of water and soil characteristics

Greenhouse Biological Control On-Farm Workshops

Learn how to use beneficial insects to manage thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, and whitefly, in your greenhouse.

7 locations around N.Y. Sept. – Nov.:

  • September 17 – Plattsburgh
  • October 1 – Syracuse
  • October 22 – Long Island
  • October 23 – Hudson Valley
  • October 29 – Albany
  • October 30 – Cooperstown
  • November 6 – Buffalo

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