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Learn the latest at industrial hemp field day August 14 at Cornell AgriTech

Join Cornell researchers and other industrial hemp experts to learn the latest about this emerging crop at an Aug.14 field day at the Cornell AgriTech Fruit and Vegetable Research Farm, 1097 County Road 4, in Geneva, New York. The Cornell Industrial Hemp Research Team Field Day is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

Researchers in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) have expanded their efforts during their second year of field testing to improve agronomic outcomes for farmers. Cornell has been funded to identify and breed cultivars suitable for New York and to establish certified seed production in the state. They have expanded cultivar trials to the northernmost and southernmost parts of New York, and have initiated a long-term hemp breeding program aided by $2 million in new state funding.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. for the field day, which includes research and policy updates as well as field tours where Cornell scientists will describe the research trials underway.

The morning program includes:

  • Hemp disease update from Cornell plant pathologist Gary Bergstrom..
  • Hemp seed review by Cornell seed scientist Alan Taylor, who will provide an update on seed quality and coating studies plus information on the current status of the hemp seed certification program in New York .
  • Updates on the NYS Hemp Pilot Program, including procedures for licensing and other regulatory issues, led by Tim Sweeney of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Field tours starting at 10:30 a.m. include:

  • Cultivar evaluation trial: Members of Cornell plant breeders Don Viands’ and Larry Smart’s labs will describe the 2018 cultivar evaluation trials, including the 35 cultivars under evaluation at Cornell AgriTech. A member of Cornell entomologist Elson Shields’ lab will provide an update on insect pest surveys they have been conducting in New York hemp fields in 2018.
  • Pollination distance trial: Larry Smart will describe a study to better understand the risks to CBD production due to pollination from adjacent hemp fields with male plants.  Members of Cornell entomologist Katja Poveda’s lab will describe the bee surveys they are conducting in NYS hemp fields.
  • CBD production trial: Members of Larry Smart’s and Cornell plant pathologist Chris Smart’s labs will describe trials to evaluate cultivars selected for CBD production.

Bridgen receives innovative teaching award

Mark Bridgen

Mark Bridgen, horticulture professor and director, Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, and Farmingdale State College Assistant Professor Nick Menchyk were named winners of an Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) 2018 Innovative Teaching Award. The awards program encourages new faculty to expand their scholarship of teaching and learning by creating projects with more senior faculty from other institutions.

Bridgen and Menchyk will use the $5,000 award to produce short, educational videos about techniques in plant propagation, and to post them on-line for their students to use.  In recent years, it has been recognized that students are more likely to watch on-line videos as a learning tool rather than read books and articles.  By developing short, educational videos that focus on the procedures and techniques of plant propagation, students will have the opportunity to watch the protocols before attempting the exercises during the laboratory.  The videos will also stimulate more interest in the various plant propagation topics.

Those topics will include bud grafting (both T-buds and chip buds), wedge grafting, cactus top grafting, tomato and cucumber seedling grafts, mist system construction, seed sowing, seed stratification, seed scarification, micropropagation, leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, root cuttings, influence of leaves on rooting, rooting media evaluation on propagation, controlling potato morphogenesis in vitro, and air layering.

First New York Soil Health Summit harvests collaboration

Donn Branton of Branton Farms illustrates the connection between water quality and soil health by showing two samples of water, one cloudy with sediment from the creek entering his property and the other with clear water that exits his farm.

Cornell Chronicle, CALS News [2019-07-27]:

New York government policy and nonprofit leaders, researchers, farmers and agricultural professionals from 40 organizations attended the first statewide Soil Health Summit July 18 in Albany, New York. It was organized by New York Soil Health, which is funded by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and coordinated by Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

“The setting of this soil summit next to the state capital was by intention,” said David Wolfe, Cornell professor of plant and soil ecology and program lead for New York Soil Health. He said New York has been at the forefront of the global soil health movement and summit participants would discuss where to go from here.

“We were pleased to have representatives from Gov. Cuomo’s administration and agency partners as well as representatives from the state Senate and Assembly in attendance,” said Wolfe. “The summit goals were to expand collaboration among the many farmers and organizations working on soil health issues, and also to identify research, outreach and policy priorities for the future.”

Topics included economic analyses of soil health costs and benefits; the relationship between soil health and climate change; addressing challenges of reducing tillage on vegetable farms; soil health for apple orchard systems; fortifying biochar with manure wastes as marketable fertilizer; and research on cover crop interseeding and perennial grains.

Read the whole article.

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