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Grape vine management work nets Cornell doctoral student three awards

Anne Kearney

Doctoral student Anne Kearney earned a trio of awards for research into a vineyard technique to control vine growth and improve grape composition. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

Innovative research on a vineyard technique to control vine growth and improve grape composition earned a Cornell doctoral student three high-profile awards this year.

Anne Kearney, a doctoral student in viticulture in the field of horticulture, studies palissage, an alternative to hedging grape vine shoots in order to control excessive growth. Palissage consists of either wrapping shoots on the top catch wire or tucking shoots back into the catch wires.  The management technique may be beneficial by reducing vegetative growth of the vine and increase the efficiency of pesticide application.

Her research has earned her a 2018–19 American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) Traditional Scholarship, a 2018–­­19 ASEV Eastern scholarship and a 2018 American Wine Society Educational Foundation scholarship.

Working with associate professor Justine Vanden Heuvel in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, Kearney has been looking at the effects of palissage on vine growth and fruit composition, with an emphasis on the physiological mechanisms behind these responses. It has the potential to be used as a canopy management tool in wine grape vineyards given that it reduces extra vine growth in the fruit zone as well as cluster compactness, according to Kearney.

“Palissage is emerging as a new alternative for winegrowers looking to fine-tune their cluster morphology and microclimate, allowing them to further improve fruit quality,” said Vanden Heuvel. “It’s great to see Anne’s research efforts being rewarded with these scholarships.”

The process has showed promise as way to reduce fruit losses to disease, particularly in tight-clustered cultivars.

Anne Kearney


Palissage is a technique of wrapping shoots on the top catch wire or tucking shoots back into the catch wires in order reduce vegetative growth of the vine and increase the efficiency of pesticide application. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

Cornell research is growing the hard cider industry in New York

Gregory Peck, assistant professor of horticulture, tags apple trees as part of a research trial at Cornell Orchards.

Gregory Peck, assistant professor of horticulture, tags apple trees as part of a research trial at Cornell Orchards.

Cornell Chronicle 2018-05-15:

To say that hard cider has been making a comeback is an understatement. In the U.S. alone, the hard cider market has increased more than 10-fold in the past decade, with sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2017. And Gregory Peck, assistant professor of horticulture, has been paying attention.

Taking advantage of this upward trend, Peck has been tapping cider’s full potential to grow New York state’s apple market. Now he’s at the forefront of a hard cider renaissance.

“The industry has been booming because cider producers are innovative,” Peck said. “Consumers want to experience something different in their food and drinks. Cider has a rich depth of flavor and range of products that appeal to a large and growing consumer base.”

Read the whole article.

Seminar video: Grapevine Winter Survival Guide

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Grapevine Winter Survival Guide with Al Kovaleski, Graduate Field of Horticulture, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Boor: Increased Ag Research Funding Needed To Provide A Bright Future For Our Next Generation

Dean Kathryn J. Boor

Dean Kathryn J. Boor

In  a post for FedByScience, Kathryn J. Boor, Ph.D., the Ronald P. Lynch Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, cites CALS’ controlled environment agriculture (CEA), apple and honeybee research as examples of how publicly funded food and agriculture research that is so critical to our future.

Agriculture faces grand challenges on a global scale, with a projected two billion more mouths to feed by mid-century. Some estimate that we will need to double our current food production capacity in the next 30 years to ensure that the global population has enough healthy and safe food to eat.

Yet, since the early 2000s, federal spending on U.S. agriculture and related research has declined. The United States has slipped from our position as the world leader in food and agricultural research. China has outpaced us in public support for agriculture research and development since 2009, and Brazil and Argentina now outspend us on agriculture R&D entirely.

Read the whole article.

Michael Dickson, breeder of orange cauliflower, dies

Michael Dickson

Michael Dickson

CALS News [2018-04-05]:

Michael Hugh Dickson, professor emeritus in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, died March 28 at age 85.

Dickson gained fame for his work as a breeder of orange cauliflower, a variety high in beta carotene, which is used by the human body to make the essential nutrient vitamin A.

“Although Mike was known worldwide for his cauliflower work, he did so much more,” said Steve Reiners, professor and chair of the Horticulture Section. “He was a great collaborator; he worked with plant pathologists to develop disease-resistant snap beans and cabbage and he worked with entomologists to develop insect-resistant crucifers. He also developed beans that grew better in our cool New York soils.”

Read the whole article.

 

Seminar video: Diversified weed management in NY vegetable crops

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Diversified weed management in NY vegetable crops – Challenges and opportunities with John Wallace, Horticulture Section, Cornell University, it is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Rossi recognized for environmental efforts

Frank Rossi and McGraw Tower

Associate professor and turfgrass specialist Frank Rossi has been an intellectual force behind some of the most environmentally conscious concepts embraced by the golf industry. A profile in GCM Magazine celebrating Rossi’s selection as the GCSAA’s 2018 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship notes that he is “renowned for his hands-on work with golf superintendents and  reputation for challenging convention at every turn.”

Read the whole article.

Restoration ecology class surveys Lake Treman

Students Stevanica Augustine, left, and Jonas Soe examine invertebrates along the streams that feed into Lake Trema

Students Stevanica Augustine, left, and Jonas Soe examine invertebrates along the streams that feed into Lake Trema

Cornell Chronicle/CALS News [2018-02-06]

Far above Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca sits a reservoir dam impounding Lake Treman. Hiking trails wend through the area, which for eight decades has slowly accumulated enough sediment to turn the lake into plodding marsh. Sometime in the next 30 years, it will completely fill and become a riparian marsh.

Cornell students in Tom Whitlow’s Restoration Ecology class spent the fall semester examining Lake Treman’s many components, and they worked with the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation to develop a plan for managing it.

The students presented their research to state parks officials in December. (View presentation video.) Generally, the class found no compelling reason to remove the dam, in spite of the increasing sediment, said Audrey Stanton ’19, a teaching assistant for the course.

Read the whole article.

In the news

Kalenga Banda and professor emeritus Chris Wien, M.S. ‘67, Ph.D. ‘71 in the Kenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouse complex. Photo by Matt Hayes.

Kalenga Banda and professor emeritus Chris Wien, M.S. ‘67, Ph.D. ‘71 in the Kenneth Post Laboratory Greenhouse complex. Photo by Matt Hayes.

Some recent articles of horticultural interest:

The sweet gift of knowledge [periodiCALS 2017-11-28] – A gift in 2006 from professor emeritus Chris Wien created the Cornell Assistantship for Horticulture in Africa (CAHA), which provides a doctoral assistantship to one student from sub-Saharan Africa who completes coursework at Cornell but conducts dissertation research in the region. The position is contingent upon the student returning to his or her home country after their doctoral degree is complete. “Too often you see students get really involved in some fascinating project at Cornell and lose sight of the fact that they came from a country that could really use their help,” says Wien, who in the 1970s spent time working in Africa at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. That experience awakened him to the continent’s need for greater support in horticulture education.

Cornell program trains new farm owners for business success [CALS News/Cornell Chronicle 2017-12-12] – The Cornell Small Farms Program is preparing the next generation of farmers and ranchers to scale up their operations and reach key business milestones by preparing them to hire, manage and retain skilled employees, thanks to a USDA grant. “Our long-term goal is to ensure that all new farmers in our region can access high-quality information, supportive networks and proven tactics essential to starting and scaling viable farms,” said Anu Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) and senior extension associate in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science

Northeast farmers weigh warm climate, drenched fields [CALS News/Cornell Chronicle 2017-12-13] – Farmers in the Northeast are adopting production habits tailored to longer, warming climate conditions, but they may face spring planting whiplash as they confront fields increasingly saturated with rain, according to a new Cornell-led paper in the journal Climatic Change, November 2017. Climate change in the Northeast could present two faces. “Climate change can easily intensify agricultural susceptibility, but also present fresh, surprising opportunities,” said David Wolfe, professor of plant and soil ecology and senior author of the paper.  Earlier this fall, Wolfe also delivered the prestigious 2017 John MacLeod Lecture at the Royal Horticultural Society in London, where he detailed how gardeners can adapt to climate change as well as help mitigate its effects. View video.

Herbs From the Underground [New York Times 2017-12-06] – A hydroponic garden in a TriBeCa basement is growing rare herbs and edible flowers, and many prominent chefs are flocking to it. “People who find it weird to eat food grown in a basement have no reason to worry, said Neil Mattson, associate professor and greenhouse extension specialist at Cornell University. ‘There is nothing icky about it. Plants don’t care whether they get light from the sun or the lamps. It’s the same thing.’”

Honeynut Squash Is a Tiny Squash with a Big History [Bon Appétit 2017-11-30] – The fascinating story of how Cornell plant breeder Michael Mazourek created the shrunken butternut squash that’s increasingly popular in farmers’ markets and elsewhere. “Whether it’s farmers, chefs, or food enthusiasts talking about it, it’s clear that word of mouth is what boosted the popularity of the Honeynut. Two years ago, half the farms in the Northeast that grew squash had it, Mazourek revealed. ‘Now 90 percent of the farms grow it—you see it moving beyond regional to Cleveland going west and Virginia going south,’” he added.

Trees – the True Urban Warriors [Scientia 2017-12-12] – Trees benefit cities in many often-overlooked ways. They not only beautify concrete backdrops, but also improve the quality of our urban lives by providing shade, reducing storm runoff, filtering air and providing homes for birds and insects. Trees face big challenges, however, growing up in cities, largely because of drought and poor soils. To help trees survive these concrete deserts, Nina Bassuk and her colleagues at Cornell University have been evaluating trees and shrubs for their ability to adapt, including developing resilient hybrid oak trees. A parallel research track aims at remediating urban soil conditions to reduce urban tree stress.

 

Viticulture and enology research and outreach featured in periodiCALS

Drones collect detailed measurements of grape growing operations. Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, is providing New York growers with the tools to understand and make use of the rich data. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

Drones collect detailed measurements of grape growing operations. Justine Vanden Heuvel, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, is providing New York growers with the tools to understand and make use of the rich data. Photo by Chris Kitchen.

The rich history and current cutting-edge viticulture and enology research and outreach is featured in  Perfect pairing: From vine to glass, our science has elevated how grapes are grown—and enjoyed in the latest issue of periodiCALS.

“For decades, our researchers have been transforming how grapes are bred and grown as well as how wine is crafted. From nurturing promising new grape hybrids to shaping the aroma of the wine that fills a glass, our scientists have affected nearly every piece of the grape growing and winemaking process.”

Read the whole article.

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