Cornell Cooperative Extension’s podcast “Extension Out Loud” released a new episode last week titled How’s it growing? New York State summer crop outlook.
Eight extension specialists from across the state joined the podcast to give updates on berry and vegetable crops, viticulture, tree fruit, and field crop production so far in the 2019 season.
Common themes the specialists shared were difficulties faced with a wet and cool start to summer that kept tractors out of the fields, and in some cases had the effect of pushing the growing season 1-2 weeks later. In the case of vegetable production, this means an increase in the potential for drought stress later in the summer. Soil compaction and rutting is a problem faced in fields where tractors are forced to enter before the field is completely dry.
Kitty O’Neil, a field crops and soils specialist with CCE’s North Country Regional Agriculture team, reports significant winterkill damage from ice sheeting in alfalfa and alfalfa grass, the effects of which can have ramifications felt by the already struggling dairy industry in New York by means of a price surge in dry hay.
The specialists also spoke of the major challenges being faced by farmers in New York State, such as labor shortages and an increase in frequency and severity of major weather events. To address these, labor-saving technologies are being developed and promoted that have the potential to be scale-neutral, such as automated milking machines. Finding scale-neutral labor-saving technologies would be of great benefit to farms in NYS, whose large farms are not considered very large on the global scale in which they have to compete.
A variety of cultural practices were discussed for climate change mitigation, such as hail netting to save apple crops from storms that would devastate yields, and reflective fabrics that can improve apple color to tune of large price premiums from buyers.
The thirty-five minute long podcast makes for an interesting and informative listen, and takes advantage of the internet as a means of getting the voices of extension specialists out to as many NYS growers as possible. Tune into the podcast here, and hear more from Extension Out Loud at extensionoutloud.com.