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Cornell Fruit Field Day, July 20, Geneva, N.Y.

fruit compositeFrom Art Agnello, Dept. of Entomology, NYSAES:

Mark your calendars for the Cornell Fruit Field Day, to be held in Geneva on Wednesday, July 20.  The 2016 version of this triennial event will feature ongoing research in berries, hops, grapes, and tree fruit, and is being organized by Cornell University, the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, CALS Fruit Program Work Team and Cornell Cooperative Extension.  All interested persons are invited to learn about the fruit research under way at Cornell University.  Attendees will be able to select from tours of different fruit commodities.  Details of the program presentations are still being finalized, but the event will feature a number of topics, including:


  • Spotted wing drosophila research update in berry crops
  • Hummingbird use, monitoring network
  • Use of exclusion netting for managing spotted wing drosophila in fall raspberries
  • Monitoring spotted wing drosophila for management decisions in summer raspberry and blueberry
  • Behavioral control of spotted wing drosophila using repellents and attract & kill stations
  • Effect of habitat diversity on ecosystem services for strawberries
  • High tunnel production of black and red raspberries
  • Day-neutral strawberries/low tunnel production

 Tree Fruits

  • Apple breeding and genetic studies
  • Research updates on fire blight, apple scab, mildew
  • Bitter pit in Honeycrisp
  • 3D camera canopy imaging
  • Ambrosia beetle management trials
  • Malus selections for potential use in cider production
  • Precision spraying in orchards
  • Role of insects in spreading fire blight in apples
  • Bacterial canker of sweet cherries
  • Rootstocks & training systems for sweet cherry
  • NC-140 rootstock trials on Honeycrisp and Snap Dragon
  • Pear rootstocks & training systems

 Grapes & Hops

  • Sour rot of grapes
  • VitisGen grape breeding project
  • Precision spraying in grapes
  • Managing the spread of leafroll virus in Vinifera grape using insecticides and vine removal
  • Early leaf removal on Riesling
  • Overview of NYSAES hops planting
  • Powdery and downy mildew management in hops
  • Hops weed mgt; mite biocontrol
  • Update on malting barley research


  • FSMA Produce Safety Rule

Field Day details

The event will take place at the NYSAES Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm South, 1097 County Road No. 4, 1 mile west of Pre-emption Rd. in Geneva, NY.

Arrive at 8:00 AM to get settled in. Tours begin promptly at 8:30 AM and are scheduled in the morning from 8:30 to 11:30 and in the afternoon from 1:30 to 5:00. Lunch will be served at the exhibit tent area between 11:30-12:30.

Visit sponsors anytime from 11:30-1:30

Learn about products and services from:

  • Agro Liquid
  • Arysta Life Science
  • Dow AgroSciences
  • Dupont
  • Farm Credit East, ACA
  • Finger Lakes Trellis Supply
  • LaGasse Works, Inc.
  • Lakeview Vineyard Equipment
  • NY Apple Sales
  • OESCO, Inc
  • Red Jacket Orchards
  • Superior Wind Machine Service
  • Valent USA Corp.
  • Wafler Farms
  • Tastings from War Horse Brewing

To participate as a sponsor, see the registration website or contact Shelly Cowles (315-787-2274;

Register now!

Admission fee is $50/person ($40 for additional attendees from the same farm or business), which covers tours, lunch and educational materials. Pre-registration is required. Walk-in registration may be available for a $10 surcharge on the day of the event.  Register on the Cornell Fruit Field Day Event registration page,

Strawless strawberries? Cornell research explores the possibility

Charlotte Leape ‘18 holds up a Honeoye strawberry variety harvested from the research fields of Marvin Pritts. The honeoye strawberry breed was first released by Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1979. Photo: Matt Hayes / Cornell

Charlotte Leape ‘18 holds up a Honeoye strawberry variety harvested from the research fields of Marvin Pritts. The honeoye strawberry breed was first released by Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1979. Photo: Matt Hayes / Cornell

CALS Notes article by Gwen Aviles ’17, a student writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Marvin Pritts wants to know just what happens when the straw is taken out of strawberry growing.

Pritts, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, and his team of summer interns are exploring how inputs into the soil affect the quality of the strawberries produced.

Adding straw to the field seems like it should be beneficial to growth: after all, straw provides the soil with the organic matter plants need to thrive. The practice has long been utilized in strawberry growing operations: “Growers use the straw as protection for the berries and put the straw between the rows of plants so they can be easily harvested,” Pritts explained. But he wanted to know just how this practice impacts strawberry growth.

Last season Pritts and graduate student Maria Gannett, M.S. ’16 incorporated varying levels of straw, grass clippings, and wood chips — all differing in carbon/nitrogen ratios — into different plots of soil to test how plants reacted as the amendments decomposed.

The only plots that showed negative growth were the ones with straw in their soil.

Read the whole article.

Video: Minisymposium tribute to Peter Davies

Peter Davies, now and then. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS Communications)

Peter Davies, now and then. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS Communications)

If you missed Friday’s minisymposium in honor of Peter Davies’ 46 years of research and teaching in the Plant Sciences at Cornell highlighting the changes that have taken place in plant hormone biology over the last 40 years and how Davies contributed to progress in the field, it’s available online.

The symposium featured three talks:

  • Hormones and Plant Development – Jim Reid, Distinguished Professor, University of Tasmania
  • Global Aspects of Plant Biotechnology – Sarah Evanega, Director, Cornell Alliance for Science
  • Plant Politics – Ron Herring, Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University

Read more about the symposium in CALS Notes.

Atkinson Center funds SIPS researchers in diverse initiatives

From Discovery that Connects (SIPS blog):

Four interdisciplinary projects involving SIPS researchers are included among the 2016 Academic Venture Fund Awards from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Boosting Maize Yields Sustainably

2016 AVF maizeFarming systems that use ecological principles—rather than expensive chemicals—are helping African farmers raise more food sustainably. One method protects maize from destructive moths with two partner crops: a legume that repels the hungry moths and a grass that attracts them for a tasty meal. This “push-pull” approach improves soil fertility and can triple yields, but some farms have seen much smaller gains. This team will find out why. Their answers about how surrounding landscapes and soil affect results will help more smallholder farmers benefit from sustainable practices that are helping their neighbors.

Investigators: Katja Poveda, Entomology; Andre Kessler, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Laurie Drinkwater, Horticulture; Magdeline Laba, Soil and Crop Sciences

Big Pool, Little Pool

2016 AVF poolFlooding in urban areas is a growing problem, as the world’s cities expand and storms become more intense and variable. Piscinões (big pools) are São Paulo’s primary strategy for reducing flooding. While often effective for flood control, these single-purpose basins also divide neighborhoods, concentrate pollutants, and require costly maintenance. With officials and experts in São Paulo, this team will create landscape-based design guidelines for piscinões that can work at large and small scales to enhance human communities and urban ecosystems. These multifunctional pools offer a new model for urban living with water.

Investigators: Brian Davis, Landscape Architecture; Raymond Craib, History; Tammo Steenhuis, Biological and Environmental Engineering; Thomas Whitlow, Horticulture

Crop Disease and Climate Change

2016 AVF rustSome plant pathogens spread through the air—and the effects on staple food crops can be devastating. Climate change could mean more frequent plant epidemics, as extreme weather may move pathogens more easily across continents. This project brings together experts in atmospheric science, plant pathology, and computational sustainability to model how climate change, weather events, and changing agricultural landscapes will influence the future long-distance transport of fungi affecting global food security, such as wheat stem rust fungus. The team will coordinate with Cornell’s Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat program and international disease management programs to safeguard the world’s wheat.

Investigators: Natalie Mahowald, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Gary Bergstrom, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology; William Fry, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology; Christopher Myers, Physics

Conservation Incentive Programs for Latin America

2016 conservationSome biodiversity hotspots in Latin America have lost more than half of their forests to agricultural development. Several nations are considering market-based conservation solutions to forest restoration. Programs that reward environ-mentally sustainable practices—growing coffee and other crops beneath trees, for example—can support struggling rural communities, restore degraded land, slow forest loss, and help countries meet international carbon commitments. Working with Rainforest Alliance and industry partners in Nicaragua, the researchers will develop a portfolio of practical incentive programs to help Nicaragua meet its international pledge to restore 2.8 million hectares of degraded lands.

Investigators: Amanda Rodewald, Lab of Ornithology/Natural Resources; Mark Milstein, Johnson School; Viviana Ruiz Gutierrez, Lab of Ornithology; Miguel Gómez, Applied Economics and Management; Stephen DeGloria, Soil and Crop Sciences

Liberty Hyde Bailey Lecture video: Genomics and the Future of Agriculture

If you missed Friday’s  Liberty Hyde Bailey Lecture, Genomics and the Future of Agriculture, it’s available online.

The lecture and panel discussion, in honor of professor emeritus Steve Tanksley, winner of the 2016 Japan Prize, featured three former lab members — Greg Martin, Jim Giovannoni, and Susan McCouch — introduced and moderated by Kathryn J. Boor, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They celebrated Tanksley’s contributions to plant breeding and genetics and the spirit of genomic discovery in the School of Integrative Plant Science with a panel discussion on genomics and the future of agriculture.

Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso awarded $272,078 by USDA

Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso

Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso

Jenny Kao-Kniffin, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, and Antonio DiTommaso,  professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, received a $272,078 USDA grant to develop new ways to uncover novel compounds isolated from soil microorganisms that could be effective in weed management.

Using DNA analysis of soil to isolate bacteria that produce weed-suppressing compounds, the researchers hope to grow microbes and isolate the beneficial compounds they make. Kao-Kniffin and DiTommaso may then design experiments to understand how such compounds might be applied in agriculture to suppress weeds. The project is a response to growing concern about herbicide resistance in cropping systems.

The grant, announced June 2, were part of $14.5 million in funds handed out through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundation program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Four Cornell projects received $1.65 million from USDA [Cornell Chronicle 2016-06-09].

Grape bud imaging

Al Kovaleski, PhD student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science, used X-ray phase contrast imaging to create this video of a grapevine bud.

Kovaleski is using the technology to visualize the inner portions of buds to observe how they are damaged by freezing temperatures, a critical issue with the increase in extreme weather events — like late spring frosts — brought on by climate change.

Imaging was performed at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source which is supported by the NSF & NIH/NIGMS via award DMR-1332208.

Geneva recognitions

Photos from Thomas Björkman from NYSAES horticulture recognitions June 3:

PhD student Archana Khadgi won the 2016 Perrine Award. The Perrine award recognizes excellence in pomological research by a graduate student. Archana is studying with Professor Courtney Weber (right), using genomic techniques to create phythophthora-resistant raspberries.


The Nelson Shaulis scholar for 2016, Corrigan Herbert (right), is congratulated by her supervisor for the summer, CCE Viticulturist Hans Walter-Peterson. Corrigan is a student in the wine program at Finger Lakes Community College. The FLCC wine program operates from a new dedicated building at the Ag Tech Park adjacent to the Station.


Jim Ballerstein, Research Support Specialist, received a 30-year service award from Horticulture Chair Steve Reiners. Jim runs one of the premier vegetable variety trial programs in the country. The program brings in substantial funding, and takes Jim on trips to conferences and company visits at home and abroad.


The Horticulture Section’s Summer Scholars arrived at the Station this week. The Geneva Summer Scholar program brings in excellent undergraduates from around the country for six weeks of research experience and a field course in agriculture. Many go on to graduate programs at Cornell and elsewhere.  Left to right: Brianna Moore (William Smith College/Smart Lab), Lisa Kime (Penn State/Griffiths Lab), Anna Agloro (Saint Martin’s University/Smart Lab), Sofia Gonzalez-Martinez (University of Puerto Rico/Brown Lab), Alexi Nystrom (Newberry College/Xu Lab), Ari Heitler-Klevans (Oberlin College/Smart Lab), Catharina Ortiz-Thomazella (University of Wisconsin-River Falls/Taylor Lab), Carlie Leary (The New School/Smart Lab).

Plant researchers get powerful new resource

Matthew Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS)

Matthew Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-31]:

Matthew Willmann wants to partner with Cornell scientists to make plant research faster, cheaper and more productive.

And he has just the equipment to make those partnerships bloom.

Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility, is harnessing precision technology to create transgenic and gene-edited plants on campus for Cornell researchers. The facility, housed in Weill Hall, uses Agrobacterium, biolistics (also known as “gene guns,” two of which are available for use by other researchers) and protoplasts to make transgenic plants, and CRISPR/Cas9 technology for gene editing. Those tools will benefit Cornell scientists as they work to breed hardier and more productive crops with a focus on New York agriculture.

Willmann gave an open house May 25 to showcase the resources available to Cornell plant researchers.

Read the whole article.

In the news

From Picture Cornell May 4:

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Boots on the farm: Helping military vets enter agriculture [CALS Notes 2016-03-03] –  Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Cornell Small Farms Program (CFSP) are helping military veterans find new career opportunities in agriculture.

New toolkit clarifies agricultural economic assessment [Cornell Chronicle 2016-03-03] –  A Cornell University economist has teamed up with the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other researchers to provide a standardized toolkit to evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local and regional food systems.

Jim Giovannoni elected to the National Academy of Sciences [Discovery that Connects (SIPS blog) 2016-03-03] – Jim Giovannoni (SIPS Section of Plant Biology Adjunct Faculty) was among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3. Giovannoni, BTI staff member and plant molecular biologist with ARS, researches the genetics and regulation of fruit ripening, with particular focus on tomato.


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