My research and extension efforts are designed to maintain and enhance the profitability and sustainability of New York vegetable farmers, both for the short and long term. My short-term projects are designed to provide growers with the best cultural methods to grow crops, i.e., fertility management; irrigation; optimizing plant populations; and variety selection for the processing vegetable industry. Long-term projects include fine-tuning cover crop use to maximize nutrient recycling and reduce disease incidence; improving fertilizer recommendations; and determining how variety selection and fertility practices affect disease tolerance.
Currently, my research is focused on several areas. Since 2001, a devastating virus has reduced yield in snap beans causing significant and costly losses. We are looking at existing and new snap bean varieties that exhibit tolerance to the disease and that growers can use to minimize losses. I am also evaluating a preseason nitrogen test currently used in field corn production for its usefulness in vegetable systems, particularly sweet corn. I am also testing cover crops to determine effective types and ways to incorporate them into farming systems in an effort to minimize Phytophthora blight in vine crops and peppers. Finally, our work identifying little utilized but potentially profitable crops in New York (sweet potatoes, seedless watermelons) continues, as does research to determine optimum plant populations and stand establishment for more traditional crops.
I serve as the Cornell liaison to grower organizations and organize annual advisory meetings to gather industry priorities for use by faculty and extension educators for grants and projects. I organize the annual Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo, a 2-day statewide meeting that attracts more than1,000 people. The meeting is designed to communicate the newest innovations in the industry to our stakeholders. I am co-team leader for the Western N.Y. CCE Cornell Vegetable Team and the Capital District Vegetable and Small Fruit Program. As Department Extension Leader, I mentor new hires (faculty and CCE educators) in programs and resources available to them and organize in-service educational activities. I also provide science outreach to local elementary schools which includes a Science Summer Camp for students entering 4th grade.
Nutrition of vegetable crops and general vegetable culture.