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LERGP CLEREL CLOSED for Thanksgiving Holiday
November 26 - November 27, 2015The CLEREL facility will be closed Thursday, November 26, 2015 and Friday, November 27, 2015 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday. We will reopen on Monday, November 30, 2015. Enjoy the holiday!
2016 LERGP Annual Winter Grower Conference
March 22, 2016Come join us for a great day of learning and camaraderie with your fellow growers. More information will follow as it develops.
LERGP Leads $6M USDA Project in ViticultureCornell University research into precision viticulture will get a $6 million federal funding boost towards a project that gives grape growers access to digital maps detailing the health of their vineyards at a level never before achieved.
Led by Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the project focuses on bringing precision agriculture technology to the juice, wine, raisin, and table grape industries in the U. S.
The grant from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) will fund research over four years to develop and implement digital mapping technology for use by growers of various scales cultivating all grape species.
The project uses a suite of mobile sensors that measure conditions related to the soil, canopy and crop. Software developed by the project team crunches thousands of data points to produce digital maps layered with information detailing specific conditions.
The maps give farmers and vineyard managers an unprecedented vantage point to compare sections within their vineyards. Armed with that information, growers will be able to address areas of weakest productivity and significantly enhance their ability to predict crop size, yield, and quality across their entire vineyard. Bates said that in the past even sophisticated growers have been unable to adequately determine vineyard health at a spatial level. By creating a visual representation of a vineyard, the new technology allows underperforming sections to be spotted, giving growers the information they need to make targeted approaches to decrease variability and increase productivity.
Growers already have the tools needed to improve crop health, from fertilization to pruning techniques, Bates said. Now, growers will have data needed to spot areas of lagging productivity, and inform their decision on how best to deploy resources.
Visually they start to see areas of their vineyard that are not producing as well, and where it’s costing them money,” said Bates. The project aims to increase yield by 20 percent, and decrease the variability across sections by 30 percent.<br>The project is the top priority of the National Grape and Wine Initiative, a national grower-led entity whose membership includes all grape crops, spanning farms of all sizes in all grape producing states. Cornell researchers are joined by Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Newcastle University, and U.C. Davis on this nationwide project.
“On behalf of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I would like to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their support of this incredibly important initiative that will bolster New York’s juice and wine grape businesses by integrating new technology with existing practices for improved production efficiency,” said Kathryn J. Boor the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This project is yet another example of the vital research and extension work initiated in New York that has nationwide impact on local food systems and regional economies.”
It is unusual for a project of this magnitude and national scope to be awarded to and managed by a relatively small regional program in western NY. “We have an excellent project and a talented research and extension team,” Bates commented, “but without the support of the industry groups, university administration, and legislative representatives, we would not have secured funding.” Bates specifically pointed to the support of N.Y.S. Senator Catharine Young, who not only supported the USDA proposal but was also instrumental in building the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland, NY. Western NY boasts one of the largest juice grape production regions in the world growing over 30,000 acres of Concord and Niagara grapes for Welch’s and other juice processors. It is also one of the fastest growing wine regions with 24 wineries in the Lake Erie Wine Trail and 22 wineries in the Niagara Wine Trail.