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Viticulture and enology research and outreach featured in periodiCALS

Drones collect detailed measurements of grape growing operations. Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, is providing New York growers with the tools to understand and make use of the rich data. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

Drones collect detailed measurements of grape growing operations. Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, is providing New York growers with the tools to understand and make use of the rich data. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

The rich history and current cutting-edge viticulture and enology research and outreach is featured in  Perfect pairing: From vine to glass, our science has elevated how grapes are grown—and enjoyed in the latest issue of periodiCALS.

“For decades, our researchers have been transforming how grapes are bred and grown as well as how wine is crafted. From nurturing promising new grape hybrids to shaping the aroma of the wine that fills a glass, our scientists have affected nearly every piece of the grape growing and winemaking process.”

Read the whole article.

Restoration Ecology video: Restoring ecosystem functions and services at Lake Treman

Students in Restoration Ecology (PLHRT 4400) presented findings from their semester-long study of Lake Treman, constructed outside Ithaca in 1930 but now mostly a sediment-filled wetland. The class, led by Tom Whitlow, professor in the Horticulture Section, spent the fall mapping the site and gathering and analyzing soil, sediment and biodiversity data in partnership with the New York State Parks Department.

“Some of their recommendations ranged from large-scale major projects for us, as far as financial and resource commitment, and other recommendations were just very simple things that we could implement just with our existing maintenance crews and things like that,” New York State Park Manager 3 Jim Brophy told the Ithaca Journal after the presentation. “We feel like we have a much better understanding of the resource now because of that, and not only the diversity of the organisms but also soil types and the history.”

More information:

Hop growers face challenges to meet rising brewery demands

Cornell plant disease experts Bill Weldon, left, and David Gadoury inspect a hop plant at a greenhouse at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.

Cornell plant disease experts Bill Weldon, left, and David Gadoury inspect a hop plant at a greenhouse at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.

CALS News [2017-11-30]:

The New York craft beer industry is really hopping. From 2012 to 2016, the number of breweries more than tripled, from 95 to 302, according to the New York State Brewers Association, and the industry contributes $3.5 billion to the state’s economy annually.

Lawmakers seeking to tap into the industry’s economic potential have passed new policies that provide incentives for New York hop growers to jump on the bandwagon and supply the growing demand for local ingredients. As these growers have learned, cultivating hops has its challenges, mainly from pests and two pervasive diseases, and Cornell researchers are lending a hand.

Plant disease experts David Gadoury and doctoral student Bill Weldon, both at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, are providing expertise to help everyone from hops hobbyists to professional farmers through outreach materials, public presentations and field visits.

Read the whole article.

Dec. 5 global soil painting competition illustrates soil’s vital role

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, Kirsten Kurtz creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Here she touches up a painting she made with soils in Bradfield Hall. Photo by Matt Hayes / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

Reposted from CALS news [2017-11-28]:

The soil under our feet may not be top of mind, but it provides the foundation for everything we need to live – and it’s disappearing. Kirsten Kurtz is on a mission to save this essential resource by turning our attention to its natural beauty.

Kurtz, manager of Cornell’s Soil Health Testing Laboratory and a graduate student in the field of natural resources, does this in a profound way: by painting with it.

“You can see how I became inspired,” she says, pulling out soil samples ranging in hue from reddish brown to tan to yellow ochre. “It was being in the lab and seeing all the colors come in.”

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, she creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Kurtz, who first started experimenting with soil painting in 2014, says it’s an effective tool for communicating with the public about the importance of soil.

And thanks to her creativity, the whole world will get the message on World Soil Day, which will feature a global soil painting competition Dec. 5 organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The competition, inspired by an event Kurtz and the Soil Health Lab hosted in 2015 for World Soil Day, aims to showcase creativity in illustrating soil’s crucial role in sustaining life.

Read the whole article.

Chris Smart elected 2017 AAAS fellow

From CALS News [2017-11-20]

Smart

Smart

Three Cornell CALS faculty members — including SIPS director Christine Smart — have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

Smart is the Andrew J. and Grace B. Nichols Professor in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section and director of the School of Integrative Plant Science. She was honored for contributions to the science and practice of plant pathology, and for inspiring and introducing children, youth and adults to science. She divides her time between research and extension activities, including elementary school science education outreach. Her research into the diseases of vegetable crops such as cucurbits, cabbage and tomatoes focuses on population genetics, detection and disease management under field conditions in New York. She develops novel disease management options that promote sustainable agricultural practices for conventional and organic growers.

Read the whole article.

Smart welcomes attendees at Cornell industrial hemp field day, August 2017.

Smart welcomes attendees at Cornell industrial hemp field day, August 2017.

Cornell group explores future of indoor farming

Reposted from CALS News and the Cornell Chronicle [2017-11-21]

Doctoral student Jonathan Allred, center, leads a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Horticulture doctoral student Jonathan Allred, center, leads a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Indoor farming entrepreneurs and experts came to Cornell in early November with a goal: leverage the innovation at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to create viable businesses for local vegetables and produce grown indoors.

Known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA), the systems combine greenhouse environmental controls such as heating and lighting with hydroponic and soilless production, enabling year-round production of fresh vegetables. The process extends the growing season through a range of low-tech solutions – such as row covers and plastic-covered tunnels – to such high-tech solutions as fully automated glass greenhouses with computer controls and LED lights.

Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at left, explains lighting trials during a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / CCE

Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at left, explains lighting trials during a tour of Cornell greenhouses in November. Photo by R.J. Anderson / CCE

Led by Neil Mattson, director of Cornell CEA and associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell has become a world leader in CEA research. In early November, the Cornell CEA Advisory Council, which was formed in 2015 to expand the retail and food service markets for products grown using CEA, hosted on campus more than 80 entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across the Northeast to discuss the state of the indoor farming industry, urban agriculture, supermarket trends and new technology.

Read the whole article.

Urban Eden students plant trees along Cayuga Lake Inlet

‘Urban Eden’ students planting crabapples along Cayuga Lake Inlet. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

‘Urban Eden’ students planting crabapples along Cayuga Lake Inlet. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (PLHORT/LA 4910) planted 15 disease-resistant crabapple trees along the Cayuga Lake Inlet November 9.

The Ithaca Garden Club donated the trees as part of an on-going, seven-year effort to re-establish a deteriorated grove the club donated to the City of Ithaca in 1970. The club planted its first of more than 300 crabapples along the inlet in 1922 – the year of its founding – and have donated several hundred thousand dollars to landscaping projects in the area during its long history.

The City of Ithaca’s Shade Tree Advisory Committee will fence and care for the trees under guidance of Jeanne Grace MS ’10.

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick stopped by to check on the tree planting, along with ‘Urban Eden’ instructor Nina Bassuk (left) and Ithaca Garden Club members Beverly Hillman and Beatrice Szekely. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick stopped by to check on the tree planting progress, joining ‘Urban Eden’ instructor Nina Bassuk (left) and Ithaca Garden Club members Beverly Hillman and Beatrice Szekely. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Planting participants. . (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Planting participants. . (Photo: Carol Eichler)

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

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.

The Emerging Industry of Hard Cider

Greg Peck

Greg Peck

From Cornell Research website:

From the earliest days of the American colonies, hard cider was a common staple. European settlers brought their cider-making skills with them, along with apple cultivars especially suited to the process. Yet, after prohibition ended in 1933, cider making in the United States was all but forgotten—until now. “Since 2011 the growth of the cider industry has been astronomical,” says Gregory M. Peck, School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture. “There’s been more than a 900 percent increase in the volume of cider produced in the U.S. New York has more individual producers than any other state in the country. Right now, we have about 85, and that number is growing constantly. I’m always getting emails and calls for help from new businesses.”

Peck is perhaps the foremost scientific expert in the country on cider apples and cider making. He is at the forefront of the cider renaissance and a large part of his research revolves around this emerging industry. “Cider apple growers and producers need a lot of technical support,” he says. “They need research to help them figure out which cultivars make the best cider, how to grow them, how to harvest them, how to store them. Those are the questions I’m trying to answer for the industry.”

Read the whole article.

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