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Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

New 6-County Agricultural Plastics Recycling Initiative [Empire Farm Days news release 2015-07-14] – A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities. Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space. The program also serves farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Read the full release.

Cornell team readies for national ‘Weed Olympics’ July 21 [Cornell Chronicle 2015-07-15] – After enduring practice through thistle and flashcards, the Cornell University Weed Team will send four graduate students and seven undergraduates for two days of agronomic combat at the 2015 National Collegiate Weed competition – affectionately dubbed the “Weed Olympics.” The contest will be held at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center at South Charleston, Ohio, July 21-22. Horticulture graduate student Vinay Bhaskar is among the students representing Cornell under the tutelage of Antonio DiTommaso, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science. Read the whole article.

Stopping Pests Earns Greenhouse Pro ‘Excellence in IPM’ Award [NYSIPM Program news release 2015-07-16] – : Nora Catlin, floriculture specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, has received an “Excellence in IPM” award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). The award honors Catlin for her work with commercial greenhouse growers who, on Long Island alone, contribute nearly $80 million to New York’s economy. Catlin received her award at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center’s Plant Science Day on July 15. Read the full release.

Titan arum timelapse videos

If you missed last week’s bloom — or would just like to see the whole thing — check out these videos:

View more timelapse videos or learn more about ‘Stinky Science’ on our YouTube channel.

New spacious greenhouses support research

Greg Inzinna, greenhouse grower with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, is tending cassava plants in the new greenhouses. This breeding project aims to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.

From Anja Timm (ait4@cornell.edu), Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES):

Cornell researchers now have a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse facility available to house tall crops important to New York State growers, such as corn, trellised peas, alfalfa and biofuel grasses.

Part of the Guterman Greenhouse Range east of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the 8,000-square-foot facility is also home to research projects with international impact, such as the cassava breeding project.

Precision environmental controls, 16-foot double-pane glass side walls, and shade- and insulation-curtains in all eight compartments create a highly energy-efficient research environment.

CUAES manages 179,000 square feet of greenhouse space on and around the Cornell Campus, making it the largest non-commercial greenhouse facility in New York. They house 200 to 300 research projects at any given time. The facilities are supported by a dedicated greenhouse team that is committed to sustainable practices and continues to implement new ways to reduce energy use and waste.

Right: Greg Inzinna, greenhouse grower with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, is tending cassava plants in the new greenhouses. This breeding project aims to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa.

young plants in greenhouse

One of the Best Fields for New College Graduates? Agriculture.

USDA news release [2015-05-11]

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”

The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.

Read the whole release.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Is it safe to plant impatiens?

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

Impatiens downy mildew disease is still around and may devastate plantings of this bedding plant, long a favorite for shady locations.

From Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University. She is based at the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center, Riverhead, N.Y. Click on images for larger view.

Everyone is asking about impatiens: Is it safe to plant them again?

Beginning in 2008, a new disease, impatiens downy mildew, started showing up in the landscape in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. By 2012, it was wreaking widespread havoc all season long for gardeners in New York and many other states.

With a few exceptions, the disease only plagues the impatiens commonly used as a bedding plant in shady locations (Impatiens walleriana) and a close relative, balsam impatiens (Impatiens balsamina). But the disease can also infect native jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

The disease is most devastating on the bedding impatiens. They stop flowering, drop all their leaves, and keel over. Balsams just show spots on their leaves with the characteristic white “downy” spore structures coating the undersides of the leaves.Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

Infected impatiens show characteristic white “downy” spore structure coating on the undersides of the leaves.

 

The dramatic outbreaks of this disease have not been as widespread in recent years. But that is because greenhouse growers and landscapers and have shied away from producing a plant that they knew wasn’t going to perform reliably. Fewer plants grown means fewer instances of the disease.

But impatiens downy mildew hasn’t gone away. In 2014, my helpful network of impatiens-watchers reported the disease in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and the Hudson Valley in June, in balsam impatiens flower beds in Lockport, N.Y., and Buffalo in July, on bedding impatiens in central New York and on Long Island in August, and in Rochester in September. The disease also turned up in 20 other states last year.

balsam-impatiensx400

Balsam impatiens are also susceptible to the disease, but aren’t affected as dramatically. There are many other shade-loving annual and perennial alternatives to impatiens.

So, no. The disease is not gone. But we are using less of its host plant so we don’t hear as much about it.

Here’s the problem: Impatiens downy mildew can persist in frost-free parts of the country, and also the mildew can form special spores called oospores that we expect may help it to survive New York winters and re-infect plants the following season. Cornell researchers are focusing on the oospores to learn more about the overwinter survival of the downy mildew, and on breeding new hybrid impatiens that are less susceptible to the disease.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem will be found by breeding downy-mildew-resistant impatiens. In the meantime, gardeners can grow New Guinea impatiens and the new hybrid Bounce™ impatiens with full confidence, knowing that they will resist the downy mildew and flower colorfully all season.

And it’s perfectly OK for gardeners to add in a few bedding impatiens in shady areas, along with begonias, coleus, torenia and other great bedding plants that flourish under similar shady conditions. (Nora Catlin, Floriculture Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, created a great factsheet on Alternatives to Garden Impatiens.)

The luckiest of the impatiens will escape downy mildew. We just need to realize that they are still susceptible to the disease, and that the disease is still a possibility, subject to the variation in weather from year to year.

For more information on impatiens downy mildew, visit the CCE Suffolk County floriculture website.

Dilmun Hill is starting a CSA!

From the managers at Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm:

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a business system that allows farmers and eaters to build a local food system based on trust, shared goals, and common values.

Our CSA members receive a share of the harvest. We provide organic produce, grown right on campus, and together with our members we share a commitment to the land, local economies, and environmental and agricultural education.

Our Summer CSA runs for 10 weeks, from June 21-August 30th.

For more information, or to sign up, please visit our blog or contact the farm managers at dilmunmanagers@gmail.com.

famshare poster

Soil comes to new conservatory

Wednesday, workers began filling the Palm House section of the newly constructed Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory on Tower Road with 180 yards of soil. The growing medium is a mix of coconut coir, biochar and Turface (a clay-based soil conditioner). It is designed to resist compaction over the long term, says Andy Leed, greenhouse manager for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Workers blow growinig medium into the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Workers blow growing medium into the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

 

Andy Leed, greenhouse manager for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, inspects the growing medium.

Andy Leed, greenhouse manager for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, inspects the growing medium.

 

Another big stink coming with titan arum bloom

Paul Cooper, head greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, poses with 11 young titan arum plants, all offspring of the university’s world famous ‘Wee Stinky’ plant’s first bloom in 2012 (the first of two).

Paul Cooper, head greenhouse grower for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, poses with 11 young titan arum plants, all offspring of the university’s world famous ‘Wee Stinky’ plant’s first bloom in 2012 (the first of two).

[Cornell Chronicle 2015-04-23 via CALS Notes]

Researchers working with Cornell’s collection of rare titan arum plants are hoping three blooms will point them toward answers.

For those who may have missed it, one of Cornell’s titan arums – a tropical plant native only to Sumatra and famed for its giant corpse-scented flower – famously bloomed for the first time in the spring 2012. The event drew international media attention and thousands of visitors to the Kenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouses.

It also offered researchers throughout the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences a rare chance to study the complex biology of this unique reproductive spectacle. The massive bloom stayed open for days, lines of visitors snaked along hallways and sidewalks, and nascent insights into the subtle biochemistry of the bloom were born.

Read the whole article.

Cornell joins Land Grant peers in announcing new ‘Impacts’ website

Cornell berry breeder Courtney WeberReposted from Station Notes, [2015-03-02]

March 2, Cornell University joined a number of its peers nationwide in announcing the official launch of the National Land-grant Impacts website, a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by Land-grant universities.

The website provides access to university or regional-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed,and implemented by Cornell and other land-grant universities. The website, as a cooperative effort of these institutions, represents a collective voice for the agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension arms of the land-grant universities.

“The Land-Grant Impacts website is a new tool that will better inform the American people and the international community of the significant agricultural research, education and extension impacts taking place at land grant universities across our nation, which offer practical solutions to today’s critical societal challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”

Read the whole article.

Student research opportunities at Dilmun Hill.

dilmun logoDilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm,  is currently looking for students who would like to conduct research at the farm. This is a great opportunity for students interested in agroecology, soil science, horticulture, agronomy or other related fields.

If interested, please fill out the application and submit to Betsy Leonard by Friday, March 13th.