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Cover crop meeting draws big crowd

SIPS director Chris Smart welcomes the cover crop crowd to Cornell

SIPS director Chris Smart welcomes the cover crop crowd to Cornell

More than 170 researchers, educators, farmers, and agricultural service providers attended the Northeast Cover Crops Council’s (NECCC) Annual Meeting at The Statler Hotel on November 8 for a day-long program featuring more than 40 speakers and an evening poster session.

Speakers reported on the latest research and farmer-proven practices on a wide range of topics including techniques for establishing and terminating cover crops, their benefits, and how to get more farmers interested in cover cropping. Bianca Moebius-Clune (MS ’06, PhD ’09), Director of the USDA-NRCS Soil Health Divisiondelivered the opening keynote address. Moebius-Clune was formerly a Senior Extension Associate in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section.

“The great turnout we had is more evidence of the growing interest in using cover crops to prevent erosion, manage nutrients, suppress weeds, and increase both soil health and farm profits,” says Matt Ryan, assistant professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section and head of the Cornell Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab, who helped organize and hosted the meeting.

The second day of the meeting featured a field tour of the cover crop demonstrations at the USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center, Big Flats, N.Y.

The meeting was the first for the NECCC, whose mission is to support the successful implementation of cover crops to maximize economic, environmental, and social benefits.  The group facilitates regional collaboration between farmers, researchers and the public to foster the exchange of information, inspiration, and outcome-based research, and serves as a central clearinghouse for cover crop research in the Northeast.

Big Flats field tour at the NECCC Annual Meeting

Big Flats field tour at the NECCC Annual Meeting

Bulb planting made easy

Cornell’s Flower Bulb Research Program made short work of planting more than 30,000 bulbs into sod in demonstration strips totaling more than 2,000 feet at The Cornell Botanic Gardens and the NYSIP Foundation Seed Barn.  The entire job was completed in less than 3 hours on November 3.

How’d they do it? They used a tractor-drawn bulb planter imported from The Netherlands that slices open the sod, drops in the bulbs and then replaces the sod over them.  In these “naturalized” plantings, the bulbs will push up through the turf before the grass begins to grow in spring. The bulb mixes included daffodils, crocus, camassia, chionodoxa, allium and muscari.

“This machine greatly reduces the labor required to establishing naturalized bulb plantings,” says Bill Miller, the program’s director and a professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. Miller was assisted by Dutch intern Jos Kroon and Bluegrass Lane field assistant Jonathan Mosher.

“Some people might be concerned about the lack of precise placement of the bulbs,” notes Miller. “But our research has shown that most bulbs are forgiving about how deep they are planted, despite what you might see on the labels. They also do fine if not planted right side up.”

Miller hopes that planters like this might catch on with commercial landscapers and municipalities and result in more naturalized bulb plantings.  A benefit of this approach can be less mowing of turf areas due to the need to let the bulb foliage die back naturally.  In such areas, landscapers could substantially reduce carbon emissions from maintenance activity leading to a more sustainable landscape, Miller says.


Seminar video: Hortus Forum: Turning a New Leaf

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Hortus Forum: Turning a New Leaf with Hauk Boyes ’18 and Sarah Hetrick ’18, officers, Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Rossi to receive GCSAA Award for Environmental Stewardship


Frank Rossi

Frank Rossi

Source: Golf Course Management [2017-10-31]

Frank Rossi, associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, and one of the world’s leading experts on turfgrass science, has been selected to receive the 2018 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship by the board of directors of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Rossi, 55, will officially receive the award Tuesday, Feb. 6, during the Opening Session of the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio (Feb. 3-8).

The GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship was established in 1991 to recognize “an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf; a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent’s image as a steward of the land.”

“Dr. Rossi’s passion and hard work have helped drive the golf industry to a more environmentally focused future,” says GCSAA President Bill H. Maynard, CGCS. “He has not only been at the forefront of sustainability in the golf industry, but as a former superintendent himself, he has been a great source of information and support for superintendents around the world. We are pleased to honor him for his accomplishments.”

Rossi says, “Of course I am filled with gratitude to the GCSAA and all my colleagues and students over the years. I am quite humbled receiving this award. While I’ve spent my career working in the environmental area, I never thought or imagined it would ever be recognized.”

Among Rossi’s accomplishments, he served as a consultant for the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black, and developed sand and grass specifications for the 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro. He has also done consulting work for Central Park, the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers.

“I am very fortunate to work in a field where every day there is a new challenge,” Rossi says. “Of course, these high-profile venues and events leave little margin for error, but when you work closely with professional golf and sports turf managers, you know you have expert problem solvers — can-do individuals who, when they commit to something, will make it happen.”

Read the whole article.

Rossi (right) explains robotic mower research at Bluegrass Lane Turf Field Day in 2015.

Rossi (right) explains robotic mower research at Bluegrass Lane Turf Field Day in 2015.

Thinking about graduate school in Plant Sciences?

From Patty Chan, Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society:

Here’s your chance to learn the ropes.

Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society will host a Plant Sciences Grad School Panel for all CALS students on Wednesday, November 8th, 5:00-6:30 p.m. in 404 Plant Science.

The program is specifically tailored to students currently applying, or considering applying to grad school for programs related to plant sciences.  This panel will feature members of faculty and staff involved with graduate programs and admissions in the field as well as current graduate students studying in plant sciences.

This will be a great opportunity for anyone with questions about the application process or wondering whether graduate school would be a good fit for them.

Refreshments will be served. Come join us.

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