Skip to main content

Martinson receives Extension and Outreach award

Senior Extension Associate Tim Martinson received the CALS award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension and Outreach at the CALS Research, Extension and Staff Awards ceremony November 3.  The award “recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership in developing a highly innovative and responsive extension/outreach program that addresses stakeholder needs.

The Awards Committee cited Tim’s leadership in developing and promoting sustainable viticulture practices, which has been recognized throughout New York and has served as the foundation for extension programs in other states as well.  They also noted the significant economic and environmental benefits that have accrued to New York’s grape industry as a result of his educational efforts.

Those efforts include Appellation Cornell and Veraison to Harvest newsletters and the Northern Grapes Project.

Martinson talks with growers at field day.

Martinson talks with growers at field day.

Seminar video: Chlorophyll fluorescence as a tool for biofeedback control of photosynthetic lighting

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Chlorophyll fluorescence as a tool for biofeedback control of photosynthetic lighting with Marc van Iersel, Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

$1 million USDA-DOE grant fuels shrub willow rust-resistance research

Fred Gauker, Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Field of Plant Breeding, performs DNA extractions while project PI Larry Smart looks on.

Fred Gouker, Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Field of Plant Breeding, performs DNA extractions while project PI Larry Smart looks on.

A Cornell research project applying cutting-edge genetic and genomic approaches to rust resistance in shrub willows has received a $1 million grant from the Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy program, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

The project, “Genomics-Assisted Breeding for Leaf Rust (Melampsora) Resistance in Shrub Willow (Salix) Bioenergy Crops,” is one of five funded by the program in 2015. The awards were announced on National Bioenergy Day October 21.

Shrub willow (Salix spp.) is emerging as a superior bioenergy crop. But advanced regional breeding programs began only in the last 20 years. Increased yield is the primary breeding goal, but a major trait needed to produce consistently higher yields is stable disease resistance, say plant breeder Larry Smart and plant pathologist Christine Smart, the Cornell investigators heading up the project.

More information:

Farmers, business leaders will bring politicians to the table on climate change

David Wolfe in The Hill [2015-11-02]:

David Wolfe

David Wolfe

“… Farmers are on the front lines of climate change, and while they may not all call it by that name or agree about the causes, the vast majority recognize they are the first generation of farmers, ever, who cannot rely on historical weather patterns to tell them when to plant, what to plant or how to grow it.

“Many farmers have told me that if the changes were as straightforward as a few more days of heat stress or drought each year, they could plan around that. But the changes are all over the map. One year, farmers may face record-breaking spring rain that delays planting. The next year could bring a record-breaking drought near harvest. Another year, their fruit crops bloom weeks early and get blasted by a spring frost. As a result of this unpredictability, many are hedging their bets, staggering planting dates, planting a wider range of crops and considering investments such as irrigation or drainage systems.”

Read the whole article.

McLoughlin awarded LIFGA scholarship

Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin

Patrick McLoughlin ’16 was one of 17 students nationwide awarded scholarships from the American Floral Endowment. The senior Plant Sciences major received the Long Island Flower Growers Association (LIFGA) Scholarship.

McLoughlin is interested in the application of tissue culture for ornamental production, specifically in Impatiens. He plans to start his own business in the future. “I would also like to use local farmers to start a hops breeding program to find novel forms of disease resistance to mildew,” McLoughlin said.

The LIFGA Scholarship was established in 2010. LIFGA members represent growers and retailers promoting research, education and sales of ornamentals in the local market. The scholarship is intended for students in the Long Island/New York area studying ornamental horticulture at a community college or a four-year institution.

Fall 2015 issue of periodiCALS

Larry Smart examines a willow seedling from his breeding program. Photo: Robyn Wishna

Larry Smart examines a willow seedling from his breeding program. Photo: Robyn Wishna

The Fall 2015 issue of periodiCALS. Some of the articles of horticultural interest include:

Eden’s gardens of broccoli become poster child for farm-to-table movement

Thomas Björkman

Thomas Björkman

The Buffalo News [2015-10-23]:

…California has long been the top producer of the nutritiously dense and once maligned vegetable. That state produces more than 95 percent of all broccoli grown in the United States.

But agricultural experts and farmers are working to develop a year-round broccoli industry on the Eastern United States, from Florida to Maine. And Eden farmers are poster children for what agriculture experts want do in New York State and the East Coast.

“We hope to replicate parts of that in other locations,” said Thomas Björkman, a Cornell University professor. “This is a great thing right here in Western New York.”

Read the whole article.

New publication: CU-Structural Soil® – A Comprehensive Guide

CU-Structural Soil® installation at Zuccotti Park, New York City

CU-Structural Soil® installation at Zuccotti Park, New York City

CU-Structural Soil® – A Comprehensive Guide is a new 56-page publication that covers the why’s and how’s of using CU-Structural Soil® to support trees, turf and porous pavement, and includes six case studies.

CU-Structural Soil® (also known as CU-Soil®) was developed at by Nina Bassuk, director of Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute, as a way to safely bear pavement loads after compaction and yet still allow root penetration and vigorous tree growth. It was patented and trademarked to insure quality control.

Read more about CU-Soil® at the Urban Horticulture Institute website.



Dreer Award offers opportunities to pursue interests abroad

Plant breeding graduate James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, will study impatiens Thailand.

Plant breeding graduate student James Keach, one of three 2015 Dreer Award winners, is studying impatiens Thailand.

From Nina Bassuk:

The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers a wonderful opportunity once a year, the Frederick Dreer Award, that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture.

See the application and instructions that spells out the procedure for applying. Basically it is quite simple. Submit a written proposal to the Dreer Committee by the deadline (March 1, 2016 in this cycle), which is followed by an informal interview, generally in a week or two. The faculty receives the recommendation of the Dreer Committee and votes on the nominee.

The only obligation of the Dreer award winner is to write to the Dreer Committee monthly while overseas, and upon return to the United States, give a presentation about their time abroad to students and faculty.

Please look into this opportunity seriously. It can be taken as a summer and a semester’s leave or a year’s leave of absence during school or upon graduation. If you would like to talk over a potential idea for the Dreer with a member of the Committee (and we encourage you to do so), please contact Nina Bassuk (Horticulture) Josh Cerra (Landscape Architecture) or Marvin Pritts. (Horticulture).

Grape research boosted by $6 million USDA grant

A vineyard map image showing data layered on Google Earth.

A vineyard map image showing data layered on Google Earth.

Cornell Chronicle [2015-10-22]:

The ancient art of grape growing is getting a high-tech boost thanks to Cornell University research and a $6 million federal grant.

The grant money, part of the USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative, will fund a four-year project to develop and implement digital mapping technology. The project aims to bring precision viticulture technology to growers of various scales, cultivating all grape species, with the potential to spur gains for the U.S juice, wine, raisin and table grape industries.

The project will be led led by Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Project leaders plan to utilize a suite of mobile sensors that measure conditions related to the soil, canopy and crop. Software developed by the project team will crunch thousands of data points to produce digital maps layered with information detailing specific conditions.

Read the whole article.