Archive for the “Extension and outreach” Category
Research associate James Taylor talks about the grape yield monitor at the 2013 Lake Erie Grape Summer Grower Conference. Photo: Terry Bates
Concord grape growers in western New York this season expanded the use of mechanical crop thinning techniques pioneered by three generations of Cornell viticulturists to maximize the value of an abundant harvest in what started as an uncertain year. By removing up to one-third of their crops in late July and early August using mechanical grape harvesters, growers met maturity standards and avoided millions of dollars of crop losses.
Farm business management specialist Kevin Martin of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) estimates that growers in the region will see an overall economic benefit of $9.6 million to $15 million in the estimated 50 percent of vineyards that were mechanically thinned this year.
Read the whole article. [Cornell Chronicle 2013-12-05]
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View a talk Sustainable Gardening in a Changing Climate that David Wolfe, Professor, Department of Horticulture and Faculty Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future gave to the Ithaca Garden Club on November 20, 2013.
For more info, visit the Cornell Climate Change website.
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Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health.
Registration is now open for the online course Permaculture Design: Fundamentals of Ecological Design, offered Jan. 6 to Feb. 20, 2014 through the Department of Horticulture’s distance learning program.
The study of permaculture helps gardeners, landowners, and farmers combine a knowledge of ecology combined with its application to supporting healthy soil, water conservation, and biodiversity.
Permaculture systems meet humans needs while restoring ecosystem health. Common practices include no-till gardening, rainwater catchment, forest gardening, and agroforestry.
The course provides an opportunity for you to build your knowledge about permaculture and ecological design. Participants will explore the content through videos, readings, and activities and complete portions of a design for a site of their choosing.
While the course is online, the format is designed for consistent interaction between instructors and students through forums and live video conferences. Readings and presentations will be directly applied through hands-on activities students will engage with at home.
View the full syllabus for the course and find registration information at the course website.
The instructor, Steve Gabriel, is an ecologist, extension educator, and forest farmer living and working in the Finger Lakes Region of central New York. He currently spends his time working for the Department of Horticulture’s Garden-Based Learning program and coordinating the Northeast Mushroom Growers Network. He also teaches for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and serves on the Board of Directors for the Permaculture Institute of the Northeast. He is currently co-authoring a book on forest farming with Cornell professor Ken Mudge, which is expected to be published in 2014.
Department of Horticulture’s distance learning program offers two other online permaculture design courses:
Completion of a single class gives students a certificate of completion from the Department of Horticulture and continuing education credits. Completion of all three courses gives students the portfolio necessary to apply for an internationally recognized certification in Permaculture Design though the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. The fee for each class is $600, and registration opens about six weeks before courses begin.
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Cornell Media Relations press release:
ITHACA, N.Y. – Farmers, gardeners and students have a new place to learn about climate change and how to be part of the solution.
The website, climatechange.cornell.edu, is a one-stop shop for everything climate change says David Wolfe, faculty fellow at Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and chair of the center’s Climate Change Task Force.
“The Northeast is already feeling the effects of climate change,” notes Wolfe. “There are so many people at Cornell working on practical solutions to these challenges – from research in agriculture to economics, engineering to social sciences, and Cooperative Extension’s work with farmers and communities. Our website will help the public engage with the expertise at Cornell to put these solutions into practice.”
At the core of the site is a searchable directory of climate change research and outreach programs at Cornell with summaries, contact information, and links to more information. In addition, issue-specific pages to help farmers, local government officials, youth educators, and others connect with Cornell’s research-based resources and tools for reliable information.
“Our ultimate goal is to explain the science of climate change so that everyone can understand how it affects their lives, and can start to make changes,” commented Allison Chatrchyan, director of Cornell’s new Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture.
One of Chatrchyan’s favorite features of the site is the frequently updated “What’s with the Weather?”
“We relay information from the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell that helps explain recent weather events within the context of climate change,” she says. “It’s the kind of timely research-based information that you can share around the water cooler when the conversation inevitably turns to weird weather.”
Additional features include:
See also: New website is ‘one-stop shop’ for climate change info [Cornell Chronicle 2013-11-26]
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From Steve Gabriel, Extension Aide, Dept. of Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org:
I’m collaborating with Roger Ort, Cornell Cooperative Extension – Schuyler County, on a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program grant to develop the pawpaw (Asimina triloba) fruit as a niche agricultural crop.
We are seeking existing farmers (with some crops currently under cultivation for sale) in New York State who would consider growing pawpaws on their farm.
We want collaborating farmers to:
- Receive fruits from Cornell and test them in their local markets for saleability
- Plant trial groves 1/4 – 1 acre in size (plant stock would be provided)
We are hoping to have a range of microclimates and demographics (rural/urban markets) in the study. If you know anyone who might be interested, please let us know: email@example.com
Pawpaws are native to much of the Southeast, north to Pennsylvania and Ohio and west to eastern Nebraska. The large fruit have custard-like flesh with easy-to-remove seeds and hints of banana, mango and cantaloupe.
Our Lansing Orchard has a grove of pawpaws that was established in 1999. We will be using this planting to host short courses, provide fruit for tastings at farmers markets, and to share fruit with local farmers, chefs, and others to conduct a study to determine consumer demand and farm feasibility from the farmer perspective.
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From Steve Gabriel, Extension Aide, Department of Horticulture firstname.lastname@example.org
MacDaniels Nut Grove open house
Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 1:00pm to 4:30pm
Mushrooms, fruit, ginseng and other medicinal plants can all be farmed in the forest. Explore Cornell’s crops under the canopy, taste nuts and pawpaws, and take home your own log inoculated with shiitake mushrooms!
The MacDaniels Nut Grove is a forest farming and agroforestry research and education center located in the Cornell Plantations Upper Cascadilla Natural Area. The 5-acre site, just east of Cornell Orchards, was originally planted in the 1930s by pioneering horticulturist Dr. L.H. MacDaniels (1888-1986).
Neglected for decades, researchers and students began renovating the site and establishing new research projects since 2002. The site currently boasts demonstrations of a wide range of crops that can be grown in the forest, including mushrooms, wild leeks, ginseng, ornamental plants, nuts, and fruits like pawpaws.
MacDaniels Nut Grove is located near Cornell Orchards, behind the Library Annex. From Rt. 366, turn at the traffic light onto Palm Road, then take your first right onto Book Road to the Mann Library Annex parking lot.
See a Map & read more at: http://blogs.cornell.edu/mushrooms/nutgrove/
The event is free and open to the public.
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Broccoli Could Be A Week Old When You Buy It On The East Coast — These Scientists Have A Solution
New York State Assembly members visit the East Ithaca Farm on Maple Avenue, featured in Picture Cornell [2013-09-13] Credit: Robert Barker/University Photography
[Business Insider 2013-09-09] – A team of agricultural scientists, led by Thomas Björkman, was tasked in 2010 with breeding a heat-tolerant broccoli that can survive in different growing conditions in the East, from northern Florida to Maine. Many hundreds of crosses have been tried over the last several years, but only five varieties of eastern-grown broccoli have made it to market so far. In the process of adapting broccoli for Eastern growers, breeders are also looking at ways to improve broccoli’s taste, color, resistance to disease, and nutritional value. The stage has been set for creating the world’s best and freshest broccoli.
Cornell Field Day gives tips to farmers, gardeners [Ithaca Journal 2013-09-13] A Cornell University agriculture program has extended a hand to gardeners and small farmers from across the state. They were invited to the Cornell Family Field Day, which was hosted last weekend by Cornell and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York at Cornell’s Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y. Anu Rangarajan is featured in accompanying video.
Farmers who donate to food banks can reap cash [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-06] – New York growers who donate produce to food banks as part of the “Glean NY” initiative will be reimbursed for the cost of harvesting the fruits or vegetables, thanks to a donation from The Wal-Mart Foundation to the Food Bank Association of New York State.
NNY Apple Growers Evaluating Orchard Improvement Techniques [NNYADP news release 2013-09-06] – “Controlling the final fruit number on an apple tree is a critical process for profitable fruit growers,” says Cornell University Horticulture Professor Terence Robinson. “Only 3 to 10 percent of the initial flowers and fruitlets should be carried to harvest for the best economic value.” Robinson and his research team have developed a precision thinning technique that helps growers prevent too many fruits from reducing apple size and yield.
Maintaining High-Wear Areas on Natural Grass Fields [Athletic Business 2013-09] -With foot traffic of athletes comes potential headaches for turf managers. “The soils seal up and don’t let water in, and so they puddle at the surface,” says Frank Rossi, associate professor of horticulture at Cornell University. “If the surface grade is compromised, where the water can’t move along it to get away, then you can’t grow grass. That’s it. It’s not any more complicated than that. It happens in goalmouths. It happens down the center of football fields. It happens every place foot traffic gets focused.”
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More than 120 people attended the Family Field Day at the organic acres of the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm Sunday. Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, welcomed the group, and was followed by sessions focusing on techniques home gardeners (as well as small farmers) can use – such as cover crops, mulches and hand tools to control weeds, seed saving, and trickle irrigation and more – led by Cornell experts and others.
There was also lots of yummy food (roasted peppers, fresh fruit, organic chocolate milk) and activities for the whole family, including an up-close view of birds of prey handled by student volunteers working with the Cornell Raptor Program.
The Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm is managed by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.
Horticulture Ph.D. candidate Megan Gregory (right) shows gardeners how to use cover crops to improve soil.
Charles Mohler, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, demonstrated a wide range of weed control tools.
Student volunteers with the Cornell Raptor Program gave attendees an up-close look at birds of prey.
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The Urban/Home Horticulture Overlap (Hint: It’s all Urban!) [Upstate Gardeners Journal 2013-09-05] – Resources from the Urban Horticulture Institute can help you match the right woody plant to your site, whether it’s street-side or in less stressful locations, says UHI director Nina Bassuk.
Breeders, seed savers advance organics movement [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-04] – Gardeners in search of the perfect, pesticide-free pepper – that can be grown organically under local weather conditions – are unlikely to find seeds in a shop. But they may soon benefit from a participatory plant breeding and seed saving movement that is gaining momentum with help from Cornell scientists and alumni.
New varieties hold promise for New York growers [The Packer 2013-0829] – Fans of the Honeycrisp will likely celebrate the new variety SnapDragon. Cornell University breeder Susan Brown, who developed the variety, says SnapDragon is similar to Honeycrisp in quality, but it is far less prone to many of the production challenges of Honeycrisp, including bitter pit, soft scald and fire blight susceptibility. Plus it has a longer shelf life.
TC3 tackles farming, food with new culinary program [Ithaca Journal 2013-08-21] – Tompkins Cortland Community College is planning new academic programs in culinary arts and sustainable farming and food systems, with a farm near the Dryden campus and a restaurant in downtown Ithaca to help give students hands-on practical experience in both fields.
Meet the Juneberry [CALS Notes 2013-08-21] - If a new research effort beginning at Cornell’s Willsboro Research Farm is successful, the juneberry, a Canadian cousin of the eastern serviceberry, may soon find a new home among the commercial berry patches of New York State.
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