Cutting Edge Technologies on Agenda for February 2015 North Country Crop Congress in Chazy, Lowville

Chazy, NY; Lowville, NY   Use of unmanned aerial vehicles/UAV and normalized difference vegetation index/NDVI imaging systems are on the agenda of the 2015 North Country Crop Congresses: Tuesday, February 17, at W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, NY, and Wednesday, February 18, at Ridgeview Hotel, Lowville, NY.

Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program Director Dr. Quirine Ketterings will share her experience and latest results from a project using NDVI sensors for on-the-go nitrogen application in corn.  She will also present findings from 2 years of her corn yield potential research studies.

Dr. Elson Shields, Professor of Entomology at Cornell University and a licensed pilot, will moderate a panel of North Country crop consultants and agribusiness leaders in a question-and-answer session about using UAV in crop production and how they may be used in Northern NY agriculture.

Dr. Shields will also discuss recent developments regarding corn insect traits and the importance of insect resistance management to preserve the effectiveness of these technologies. He will also present information about using entomopathogenic nematodes for the biological control of the alfalfa snout beetle.

The 10am-3pm Crop Congress educational program agenda includes Dr. Russ Hahn, a Cornell Crop and Soil Sciences professor, with  an update on current technologies under development for weed control in corn and soybeans as well as management of herbicide-resistant weeds for 2015.

NYSDEC and CCA credits for this program are pending approval. You must arrive on time and stay for the entire program to receive these credits.  Agribusiness vendors are invited to participate in a tradeshow at both locations.  Farm Service and Risk Management Agencies will provide brief program updates during the lunch break.

This year there is a registration fee at both the Chazy and Lowville Congresses.  Registration fees are $20 per person if pre-registered by February 11, or $25 at the door. Lunch and educational materials are included in each registration. Anyone who needs DEC credits to retain a pesticide certification license should pre-register to ensure proper certification forms are prepared.

To register for the Chazy location, call the Clinton County CCE office at 518-561-7450 or visit their website at to register online.

To register for the Lowville location, call the Lewis County CCE office at 315-376-5270 or visit their website at to register online.

Paypal, cash or check registration payments will be accepted at both locations.  Credit card payments can also be accepted by Clinton County CCE.

The North Country Crop Congresses are sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties as well as the W.H. Miner Institute.  If you have any special needs to attend either Crop Congress, please call the appropriate Cornell Cooperative Extension office to request accommodation.

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Head Smut of Corn

From Mike Hunter, Field Crops Specialist – CCE of Jefferson County

​Two local seed industry representatives have found head smut of corn in two corn fields in Jefferson County, New York.  This is a very uncommon disease of corn and the last reported cases were in the 80’s.  We are still unsure why it has shown up in NNY and are continuing to look into this situation.  More information will be distributed when new information is available.  This photo is from one of the samples found in our area.

The following is a detailed description of this disease from the University of Illinois, IPM program:
“Head smut is not evident until the tassels and ears appear. It is characterized by the presence of sori on the the tassels, ears, or rarely, the leaves. A sorus (plural sori) is a compact mass of dark brown to black spores (teliospores) covered with a thin grayish white membrane which soon ruptures to release a powdery mass of spores which are quickly scattered by air currents and rain. A tangled mass of threadlike strands, vestiges of the vascular system of the corn inflorescence, ramify through the sori and are characteristic of infection by the fungus. The presence of the vascular strands, surrounded by the mass of black-brown spores, distinguishes head smut from common smut. Infected tassels are completely or partially covered by a sorus and normally do not produce pollen. The individual florets are replaced entirely by teliospores without the formation of a gall that is characteristic of common smut.”

Head smut corn silage vs. normal corn silage
Head smut corn silage vs. normal corn silage

If you find any head smut in corn please collect samples and contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.  In Jefferson and Lewis Counties please contact me directly at or 315-788-8450 or 315-376-5270.

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