New York has great potential to expand the cultivation of sustainable, perennial crops for the production of woody biomass—for heat and bioenergy and as a feedstock for biofuels—on under-used agricultural land.
The primary focus of this project is to support the existing and expanding grape and wine industries in New York and other states east of the Rocky Mountains by increasing the abilities of grape producers and their advisers to manage infectious diseases that limit profitability and preclude sustainable production if not addressed adequately. Additionally, the project has several components that are applicable to the grape industry in the western U.S. and to those in overseas locations.
In March 2008, the Tart Cherry Federal Marketing Order was scheduled for a referendum to authorize continuing operations. A study was conducted for the U.S. Cherry Industry Administrative Board. The purpose of this study was to examine and analyze historical data from the last 35 years (1972-2006) and to answer the following question: Is the tart cherry industry better off operating pursuant to the marketing order, as measured by the farm gate value of tart cherries at the grower level, than it would be operating without the Order?
Summer diseases of apple can result in considerable production losses in warmer New York apple production regions. This project endeavors to understand the persistence and survival of apple summer rot pathogens in addition to summer fruit blemish diseases as a means of refining management recommendations and practices.
Quality wine production depends on maintaining proper microbiological control during the transformation of grape juice into wine and its conservation. Our research provides microbiological techniques that allow winemakers to reduce microbial products, which can cause negative effects—such as headaches—to wine consumers, thus increasing the percentage of consumers able to take advantage of the health benefits related to moderate wine consumption.
Fungicide and antibiotic resistance in populations of apple can result in considerable production losses in the temperate production regions of New York and New England. This project endeavors to understand the prevalence and mechanisms of fungicide and antibiotic resistance in pathogens of apple at both the field level and the individual or molecular level.
Livestock farmers and custom butchers are finding it increasingly difficult to locate off-farm disposal for mortality and meat residuals. Prices for disposal of meat by-products are $20 per barrel or $50 per animal. Bovine mortality is up to $125 per animal in some locations, horses $200, swine $60. More than 20,000 livestock farms and 1,000 custom butchers in the Northeast have been left with increased expenses and/or no rendering service available.
Bacterial canker of cherry is favored by cool temperatures, rain, and high humidity. Disease spread within the orchard is favored by rain and wind. Symptoms include blossom blast, spur blight, twig blight, canker, gummosis, leaf spots, and fruit spots. Infected trees may show barely discernible symptoms or the entire tree may wilt, turn brown and die. The disease is high on the list of research priorities for fruit IPM in New York. It is difficult to manage bacterial canker and prevent tree loss.
Cold-hardy, disease-resistant wine grape varieties are helping fuel the rise of the grape and wine industry in New York and other regions of the U.S. Along with expansion of this agricultural industry comes a significant boost to the economy through tourism (retail, restaurants, winery visitors, hotels, tasting room sales of related products, etc.). There is continuing demand for new, high-quality wine grapes that can reduce pesticide applications, reduce the cost of production, and expand the range of sites on which grapes can be grown.