Associate professor Steve Reiners assumed the position of associate chair of the Department of Horticulture March 1, 2014. Reiners replaces Susan Brown, Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who last July assumed the position of associate director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Geneva.
“Susan is a tough act to follow,” says Reiners. “She’s done a great job working with Marvin to make the merger of Ithaca and Geneva departments so successful. I’m looking forward to my new position and continuing to strengthen ties between the two campuses.”
Based in Geneva, Reiners research and extension efforts focus on helping vegetable growers enhance their profitability and sustainability by effectively managing cultural practices such as cover crops, soil fertility, irrigation, plant populations and variety selection.
As Department Extension Leader he mentored new faculty and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and organized in-service educational activities. He also plays a leadership role in organizing the annual Empire State Producers Expo.
In addition, Reiners co-teaches Principles of Vegetable Production (HORT 3500), and last fall started a new course,Organic Vegetable Gardening (HORT 1250).
Alan Taylor professor, Department of Horticulture, received one of the five Cornell Center for Materials Research JumpStart awards for the Spring 2014 program. This program is funded by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), designed to assist New York State small businesses develop and improve their products through university collaborations.
Taylor will collaborate with Omniafiltra LLC, Beaver Falls, NY, to test recycled fiber and seed combinations to determine the optimal nutrients, seed concentrations, paper densities, etc. that will produce a seed containing paper with excellent biodegradability and seed germination.
“This foundation of information is of great use for those around the world seeking to breed improved grape varieties. It’s extremely important that this collection be preserved well into the future.”
Bruce Reisch, grape breeder, Department of Horticulture quoted on nature.com (the website of Nature, the international weekly journal of science February 5, 2014) in a story about the uncertain funding to relocate France’s Domaine de Vassal vineyard.
The so-called “Louvre of grape vines” is a 138-year-old collection of 7,500 accessions from 47 countries, representing 2,300 different grape varieties, including wild species, rootstocks, hybrids and mutants important for maintaining the genetic diversity of cultivated grapes.
With the holidays upon us, are you curious to know the most appealing apple varieties to bake with or eager for a new recipe to try. Here are some tips on baking with apples from Susan Brown, Herman M. Cohn Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and one of the world’s leading apple breeders in CAL Notes.
Here’s a taste:
When baking with apples, it is important to use more than just one variety if possible. It adds to the flavor and to the texture. If one variety bakes down too much or releases too much juice, the other often doesn’t and your dessert is better.
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.
RubyFrost™ is the offspring of Braeburn and Autumn Crisp. The fruit has good sugar levels and moderate acid that provide a balance of sweet and tart, and is a good source of vitamin C. They are ideal for both fresh eating and baking, and have excellent storage and shelf life.
RubyFrost™ can be grown only by members of the New York Apple Growers (NYAG), LLC, through an exclusive licensing agreement with Cornell. Members pay acreage fees and royalties on trees purchased and fruit produced, which are used to support marketing and apple breeding. For more information, contact: Robin Leous, NYAG Business Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 478-4288.
Horticulture grad students Judy Lee and Jeremie Blum sell apples at the Farmers Market on the Ag Quad. (Via CALS Notes)
Cornell research orchard seeks the perfect apple [Associated Press 2013-09-27] – Profiles Cornell’s apple breeding program under the leadership of Susan Brown. “The orchards, part of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, are essentially a 50-acre lab devoted to developing apples that are tasty for consumers and hardy for farmers. The station has released 66 apple varieties over more than a century including Cortland, Macoun and two new entries at farm markets this fall: SnapDragon and RubyFrost. See also video (below) and photo gallery.
Ten Cornell specialty crops projects get USDA funding [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-26] – Ten of the 11 research projects announced by N.Y. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Sept. 25, supported by more than $900,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will go to Cornell projects. They range from improving the resiliency of New York’s crops to expanding the reach of New York state’s agricultural sector. This funding includes $154,000 to support the state’s wine and grape industry.
From humble peanut to lifesaving legume [Cornell Chronicle 2013-09-23] – Cornell researchers, students and alumni are working alongside aid agencies in Haiti and Kenya to transform the humble peanut into a lifesaving legume. One is Bryan Sobel, M.S. ’13, who is working as a research and extension programs specialist for Meds and Food for Kids. Sobel, who once worked in the nursery industry and studied agroforestry with associate professor of horticulture Ken Mudge as part of his graduate studies, hopes his hands-on background in agriculture will allow him to adapt well to Haiti’s dynamic agricultural systems.
Dr. Alan Lakso presented a keynote presentation on innovations in fruit crop research to the Mexican Horticultural Congress held September 2-6 in Puebla, Mexico.
A former student of Lakso’s, Dr. Guillermo Calderon PhD ’04, has been elected the President of the Mexican Society for Horticultural Science. As Vice President, he was the head of the organizing committee for the recent Mexican Horticultural Congress. Dr. Calderon is a professor at the Collegio de Postgraduados Montecillo in Texcoco, Mexico teaching fruit production and researching berries and peaches.