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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

‘One-Stop-Shop’ Marks Century of Agricultural Research, Expands LI

About 1,000 impatiens bloomed in a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, pinks and purples on about an acre on Long Island’s eastern tip this summer.

Popular flowers are not decorative, Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC) aims to develop varieties resistant to the downy mildew that has decimated Impatiens sales in New York State. His fall from over $10 million in 2009 to nearly $2 million a decade later hit Suffolk County, where the center is based, particularly hard.

LIHREC scientists develop disease-resistant plants and research slow-release fertilizers to reduce pesticide use and groundwater pollution.

“It was a big economic problem because the greenhouse industry is very strong here,” he said. Mark Bridgen, Director of LIHREC and Professor of the Department of Integrated Plant Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). “And that’s what we’re here for: doing applied research to support Long Island’s agricultural and horticultural businesses.”

On September 22nd at LIHREC in Riverhead, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, officially marking a century of dedication to its mission. A celebratory event with tours and speeches will welcome dignitaries expected to include President Martha E. Pollack. Benjamin Z. Horton, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS. and local elected officials.

Earlier this year, the New York legislature approved resolution Commemorating the Pioneering Research Facility [that] We continue to serve the diverse farming communities of Long Island. ”

Established in 1922 as the Long Island Vegetable Research Farm, LIHREC is pictured here in 1947.

Established in 1922 as the Long Island Vegetable Research Farm, the current 68-acre facility includes fields and research lots. 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art greenhouse space. Plant tissue culture and micropropagation lab. vineyards; acres dedicated to organic research; And a nursery for ornamental plants.

It is the only horticultural center in the country that offers expertise in everything from greenhouses and floriculture to nurseries and landscaping plants, vegetables and fruits, said Bridgin. Our team of 10 scientists provides expertise across the fields of plant pathology, entomology, weed science and plant tissue culture.

“We are a one-stop shop,” says Bridgen. “And we are a true extension center. Most of our stakeholders are within a 50-mile radius, so we want to get hands-on with them and help them solve their disease and bug problems.” I am.”

Early on, the center studied commercially important crops such as cabbage, cucumbers, corn and potatoes. Over the years, the area’s agricultural focus has shifted to fruit, vineyards and ornamental plants.

In addition to the Impatiens project, according to Bridgin, recent research highlights include:

  • Developing disease-resistant plants and researching slow-release fertilizers to reduce pesticide use and groundwater pollution.
  • Disease monitoring to support growers and researchers nationwide.
  • Research on integrated management methods to control diseases caused by intensification of precipitation due to climate change.
  • Evaluation of conventional fungicides and biopesticides for organic production.

Going forward, Brigen said climate change will increasingly drive the center’s research priorities, which are likely to include heat- and drought-tolerant plants. In retrospect, mold has presented a constant challenge for the past 100 years, he said.

Recently, among impatiens, about 50 control strains fell victim to the downy mildew pathogen. The downy mildew pathogen is a fluffy white substance that sheds its leaves and petals within a few days, leaving only the stem. But nearby plants have shown widespread resistance to the disease’s various mutations, Bridgen said.

This research New York Farm Viability Institute, seeking to improve the natural resistance of plants. Landraces that prove to be more mold resistant have been crossed with common impatiens and become progressively more resistant with each generation.

“If we can develop genetically tolerant plants, it will help avoid the need for additional fungicides and chemicals,” Bridgin said.

Early efforts are promising, Bridgen says, but they do require patience. He hopes that within five years the center will be able to develop the breed and bring statewide sales back to previous levels.

“As agriculture evolves on Long Island, we will continue to serve the needs of the horticultural industry, educating and supporting growers with actionable information generated by Cornell experts,” said Bridgin. “

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