Author Archive

Mary Thurn, research support specialist with the Cornell Turfgrass Program, demonstrates how she uses the [make and model] drone to get an aerial view of turf research plots.

Above: Mary Thurn, research support specialist with the Cornell Turfgrass Program, demonstrates how she uses a DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter with GoPro camera drone to get an aerial view of turf research plots.

Cornell Turfgrass Program researchers are employing a drone this summer to take aerial photos of their research plots.

“Of course we still collect data. But with the bird’s-eye view, you can see things that you can’t see readily — or at all — from the ground,” says research support specialist Mary Thurn. “We can also send pictures to collaborators who can’t visit the site in person and they can still see treatment differences for themselves.”

Drones may prove to be a practical tool for turf managers, too, Thurn points out. For example, a golf course superintendent could fly one around the course to spot stressed grass that may need water, fertilizer or pest management attention before the problem gets too severe.

Aerial images can show differences not readily visible at ground level.

Aerial images can show differences not readily visible at ground level.

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Organic Seed School
Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 8:00am to 4:00pm
Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm (CUAES) 133 Fall Creek Rd. Freeville, NY

Come learn from growers, breeders, and seed companies to better understand organic seed quality topics and how it affects your farm at the third annual Organic Seed School. The first school was organized by High Mowing Seeds in 2012.

Up to eight regional seed companies will present their new developments related to the needs of organic producers. These will include new varieties, breeding projects, seed treatments, company-specific innovations, and trialing under organic conditions.

There will also be an hour exhibition time and coffee break in which participants can visit table displays for each company and a tour of breeding plots on the farm. In the afternoon, we will have a series of moderated group discussion sessions focusing on the issues surrounding organic seed quality and availability. Bring your questions on organic seed and talk directly to the experts!

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is appreciated at: http://goo.gl/zpR5UG. The $10 registration fee can be paid by cash or check at the door.

Contact Michael Glos at mag22@cornell.edu or 607-227-7793 with any questions.

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Dr. Kathryn Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS

Dr. Kathryn Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS

Via CALS Notes [2014-07-24]:

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today the appointment of Dr. Kathryn Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS, as an inaugural member of the board of directors of the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Dean Boor will serve as one of 15 appointed and 5 ex-officio directors of the Foundation.

Established by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Foundation will foster research, innovation and partnerships important to the nation’s agricultural economy. It will aim to address problems of national and international importance in plant and animal health, production and products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and the environment; agricultural and food security; agriculture systems and technology; and agricultural economics and rural communities. It will also work to foster collaboration among agricultural researchers to meet unmet and emerging research needs through grants, contracts, cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding.

The Foundation will operate as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations in order to fund research activities. Congress also provided $200 million in research dollars to be matched by non-federal funds as the Foundation identifies and approves projects.

The board of directors will have broad responsibilities to establish policies, governance structures and set priorities for the new Foundation.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Kathryn Boor of New York was appointed to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This new foundation will provide much needed resources to our nation’s farmers and industry leaders in the areas of food safety, nutrition, energy, agriculture systems, technology, economics and rural communities. I supported her nomination and commend her leadership at Cornell University, providing resourceful tools, technology and information to New York farmers.”

See also Cornell Chronicle [2014-07-24].

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Tree of 40 Fruit
Art meets horticulture in this artist’s grafted stone fruit trees, using varieties gleaned from orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

The Tree of 40 Fruit Is Exactly as Awesome as It Sounds [epicurious.com interview]

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Sarah Pethybridge

Sarah Pethybridge

Via Station News:

It was announced earlier this week that Dr. Sarah Pethybridge will be joining the Station faculty as assistant professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology. Pethybridge comes to Cornell from Down Under, where she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Tasmania, Australia in 2000. Since then, she has held positions as Agricultural Research, Development and Extension Manager for Botanical Resources Australia Pty, and served as Science Group Leader (Field Crops) at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research.

Dr. Pethybridge has made substantial contributions in the epidemiology and management of virus diseases in the hop plant, an essential ingredient in beer production. She has received numerous awards, including the American Phytopathological Society’s Syngenta Award, the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology’s Agri-Industry Award, and the University of Tasmania’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Graduates.

Her research and extension program at the Station will focus on understanding and managing diseases of vegetable crops.

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From Christopher Dunn, Ph.D., the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations:

Our big-leafed magnolia, sadly, has many serious structural and disease issues, which combined pose a significant risk of failure. And so it is with great regret that our treasured big-leafed magnolia will come downby the end of season.

Read the whole article. [Cornell Plantations news 2014-07-18]

Lee Dean, Lead Arborist, discusses his careful and thoughtful decision to remove this much beloved specimen from the collection at the end of the 2014 growing season:

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend… from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.

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Research at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility is in full flower …

Technician Pat MacRae tends more than 600 varieties of David Austen roses in a newly planted five-year trial.

Technician Pat MacRae tends more than 600 David Austin roses (representing 80 varieties) in a newly planted multi-year trial.

Flower Bulb Research Program's lily variety trial.

Flower Bulb Research Program’s lily variety trial.

Pallet planters

This year’s annual flower trials also features edibles, some in planters made from recycled pallets.

Perennial flower plots

Perennial flower plots.

The Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility is not open to the public. But you can register for the annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day August 5, which also features the 11th annual Kathy Pufahl Container Design Competition.

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factsheet coverFrom the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program:

Having trouble with pests in your greenhouses and high tunnels? Interested in learning more about using biological control to manage them? Read SARE’s new fact sheet, Sustainable Pest Management in Greenhouses and High Tunnels, to learn how beneficial insects can protect crops in season-extending structures and enhance the sustainability of your operation.

SARE-funded researchers at Cornell University found that with a combination of controls, greenhouse and high tunnel pests could be managed effectively and, in some cases, eradicated.

Highlights of 23 New York case studies include the development of an effective combination of parasitic wasps (Aphidius colemani and Aphidius ervi) to eradicate an aphid infestation on winter greens and peppers. And predatory mites (Amblyeius cucumeris) used in conjunction with minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus) helped eradicate thrips on cucumbers. Researchers also found that the two-spotted spider mite was effectively managed by applying a parasitic mite (Phytoseiulus persimilis) on eggplant and strawberries. The Nile Delta wasp (Encarsia formosa) helped manage, and in some instances, even eradicate whiteflies on tomatoes.

The fact sheet includes an introduction to biological control, along with colorful photos that can be used to identify pests and their associated crop damage. It also provides specific how-to information on scouting for pests along with detailed release information, including optimal temperature, quantity of natural enemies and timing of release relative to pest populations. Management strategies for control agents, such as predatory mites and parasitic wasps, and a supply list for obtaining biological control agents are also found in the fact sheet.

Download the fact sheet now.

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We’re we’re looking for a talented individual Assistant/Associate Professor of Sustainable Fruit Production (60% research, 40% teaching).

The candidate is expected to develop and direct an externally-funded, nationally-recognized research program on deciduous fruit production systems with emphasis on understanding interactions between the fruiting plant, management practices, and ecosystems, and applying this knowledge to improve the sustainability of fruit crop production systems.

While the candidate can conduct research within any relevant fruit production system, sufficient expertise in tree fruit systems is expected to enable the candidate to teach both Ecological Orchard Management and Fruit Crop Physiology, and to develop an additional course to be offered to support the plant science curriculum. Participation in curriculum development, student recruitment, and undergraduate and graduate student advising will be a component of the teaching responsibility.

Application review begins August 1, 2014 and continue until the position is filled.

Full position description and application instructions.

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From Marvin Pritts, Horticulture Section chair:

Last Monday, 15 interns from Cornell Plantations and Cornell Orchards visited the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., to learn more about the research conducted there, including the berry, grape and apple breeding programs and the USDA germplasm repository. Interns also toured the food science processing plant, walked the station grounds to learn about the landscaping, and were joined for lunch by about 20 summer interns from the experiment station.

Cornell Orchards and Cornell Plantations interns sample  berries growing in high tunnels at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., June 30.

Cornell Orchards and Cornell Plantations interns sample berries growing in high tunnels at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., June 30.

 

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