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Ag-Tech Symposium March 10

symposium flyerLand O’Lakes will be visiting campus to host two presentations and a panel discussion Friday morning on a precision tool they have developed, the R7.

Ag-Tech Symposium
Friday, March 10
148 Stocking Hall

  • 8:00-8:45 a.m.: Harnessing Innovation to Feed the World – Mike Macrie ’99, Senior VP and Chief Information Office, Land O’Lakes
  • 8:45-9:30 a.m.: Winfield’s Innovative Ag-Tech Journey – Teddy Bekele, Vice President, IT at Winfield
  • 9:30-10:15 a.m.: Panel Interview and Q&A – Mike Macrie ’99, Teddy Bekele, and Joel Wipperfurth, facilitated by Jan Nyrop

No RSVP necessary.

More About the R7 Tool:

Winfield Solutions, the seed and crop protection products arm of Land O’Lakes, has introduced a web-based precision planning tool that allows farmers to get a start in variable-rate seeding and fertility programs. The R7 tool uses satellite imagery as a stand-in for actual yield and soil test data. Working with retailer agronomists, farmers used the tool to develop crop plans on millions of acres scheduled for planting. It is a tool for farmers without extensive yield and grid soil sampling records to use to get started in precision ag. It also improves Winfield’s ability to convey information about crop genetics it gathers from its 200 locations across the U.S.

Horticulture honor society inducts 29 new members

pax key

Phi Alpha Xi key

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted 29 new members at a March 6, 2017 ceremony held in the H. H. Whetzel Room in the Plant Science Building on the Cornell University campus.

This set a record for the number of inductees in a single year since the chapter was revived at Cornell in 2013.  Only the best students in the plant sciences are invited to join this national honor society.

Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 at Cornell University and Cornell is the Alpha Chapter. Originally, it was the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. In recent years it has changed and now honors excellence in all aspects of horticulture.

Since its founding, PAX has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants. PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. But the chapter went dormant for several years until its revival in 2013.

2017 PAX inductees

2017 PAX inductees

PAX members graduating in May -- Lauren Fessler, Jeremy Pardo, and Karl Kunze -- received their honor cords.

PAX members graduating in May — Lauren Fessler, Jeremy Pardo, and Karl Kunze — received their honor cords.

PAX faculty advisors Mark Bridgen, Neil Mattson, Betsy Lamb and Tom Weiler.

PAX faculty advisors Mark Bridgen, Neil Mattson, Betsy Lamb and Tom Weiler. Lamb was a 2017 inductee.

2017 PAX inductees:

  • Cairo Archer
  • Jessica Barbini
  • Hauk Boyes
  • Nana Britwum
  • Yuqi Chen
  • Myles Collinson
  • Allison Coomber
  • Kellie Damann
  • Aliza Doyle
  • Emily Follett
  • Hannah Fuller
  • Garrett Giles
  • Catherine Hanss
  • Sarah Hetrick
  • Bailee Hopkins-Hensley
  • Elizabeth Lamb
  • Margaret Lovier
  • Sarah Marino
  • Kady Maser
  • Roxana Padilla
  • Jonathan Price
  • Nina Sannes
  • Tommi Schieder
  • Samantha Schultz
  • Cynthia Sias
  • George Stack
  • Amanda Sudilovsky
  • Benjamin Sword
  • James Winans
  • Xuying Zheng

Seminar video: Chilean Plant Biodiversity

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Chilean Plant Biodiversity with Mark Bridgen, professor, Horticulture Section, and students from PLHRT 4950 (Plant Biodiversity), it  is available online.


Learn more about the group’s trip at the Biodiversity in Chile blog.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Online organic gardening course starts May 8

Raised bed vegetable gardenThe Horticulture Sections’s online Organic Gardening course is designed to help new gardeners get started and help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens.

The course runs May 8 to June 25, 2017, and covers one topic each week. (See course outline below.) With a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health, we then explore tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques for all different kinds of garden plants including food plants, trees and shrubs and lawn.

Participants read assigned essays and book excerpts, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. 
Most students spend 3 to 4 hours each week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

Questions? Please contact the instructor, Fiona Doherty:

Course outline:

  • Week 1:Introduction: What is Organic Gardening?  Knowing Your Site.
  • Week 2: Soil, Compost, and Mulch
  • Week 3: Vegetables and Flowers: Site Design & Planning for the Season
  • Week 4: Vegetables and Flowers: Early, Mid, Late Season Crops; Harvesting, Herbs
  • Week 5: Maintenance & Managing Pests Organically
  • Week 6: Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Perennials: The Long-Term Landscape
  • Optional Extra Readings: Advanced Topics for the Adventurous Gardener
More information:

The Secret to a Really Crisp Apple

Susan Brown

Susan Brown

Why are some apples mealy while others are crisp?

Cornell apple breeder Susan Brown answers that question in this New York Times science Q&A.

The differences are partly genetic, she explains. Some varieties can be stored longer before they get mushy.

But proper storage at home will help you keep your apples crisp. “If consumers store fruits at room temperature, rather than in the refrigerator, they will soften and get mealy sooner,” she says.

Read the whole article.

New tool gives apple farms hope in fight against spring freezes

Apple blossoms killed by a spring frost in 2012, after a long stretch of warm days. (Photo: Gregory M. Peck)

Apple blossoms killed by a spring frost in 2012, after a long stretch of warm days. (Photo: Gregory M. Peck)

Cornell Chronicle [2017-02-24] :

This February’s warm weather is nice in the Northeast, but apple farmers may pay a price if winter roars back. To help growers assess precarious temperatures in turbulent springs, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions has developed a new Apple Freeze Risk decision tool.

“I think the warm weather we’re seeing this week may push the apple trees into vulnerable stages,” said Art DeGaetano, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and director of Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Read the whole article.

Reminder: Huge houseplant sale today

Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club is holding their blowout sale today (February 25) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouses (map).  They’re selling a huge variety of houseplants from 4″ to fully grown.

Patty watering plants

Patty Chan ’18 waters plants in preparation for the sale.

Update [10 a.m.]: Early sales are brisk. But there are still tons of interesting and unique plants to be had.

hofo plant sale

Signs of spring: First flowers in Minns Garden

Record-breaking temperatures this week fueled early flowering of spring ephemerals in Minns Garden, including winter aconites (Eranthus hyemalis) and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).

winter aconite

Eranthus hyemalis


Galanthus nivalis

If you visit the garden (located between Plant Science Building and Tower Road), you’ll also notice that Cornell Grounds Staff used the exceptional weather to remove much of the failing 80-year-old yew hedge that enclosed the garden, foretelling some major changes for the garden this summer.

Hortus Forum giant greenhouse houseplant sale February 25

From Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club:

Greenhouse Sale
Saturday, February 25
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kenneth Post Lab (map)

Selling a huge variety of houseplants from 4″ to fully grown.

More information, email:


Hortus Forum: cultivating a positive community which fosters a passion for plants and teaches the value of horticulture

SoHo art opening February 22, Big Red Barn

From Hannah Swegarden:

The Society of Horticulture Grad Students (SoHo) is proud to present their horticultural research through an artistic lens at the Big Red Barn.

From the flowers above ground to the mycorrhizae systems deep below ground, the beauty of horticulture is everywhere. This collection of pieces showcases the diversity of horticultural research at Cornell University and seeks to highlight SoHo’s deep appreciation for the intricate connection between people and plants. We hope you’re able to join us for the show’s opening at the Big Red Barn, opening February 22, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM!

Free wine and cheese will be served.


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