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December 30, 2012

Farm briefs: Dec. 30, 2012

Forage variety trial data now online

CHAZY — Data that Northern New York farmers can use to plan their 2013 forage crop production for dairy/livestock feed and cash-crop sales is now online on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. 

The New York Forage Legume and Grass Variety Yield Trials Summary for 2012 — Season Totals report includes data for more than 200 varieties of alfalfa, red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and perennial forage grasses including timothy, orchardgrass, tall fescue, bromegrass and perennial ryegrass.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Don Viands and Dr. Julie L. Hansen of the Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics conducted the trials at Miner Institute in Chazy, the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station in Ithaca, SUNY Cobleskill and a farm in Perry.

Plant breeders, who provide seed for the trials, continue to develop new and improved cultivars. Funding from the farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program supports the variety trials that provide critical forage quality and yield evaluation under regional growing conditions.

Data from several years of trials at Miner Institute is being used to identify the varieties that can be successfully grown on Northern New York soils and those that have more tolerance to weather conditions and pests found in the region. Some of the trials evaluated varieties of alfalfa for resistance to the potato leafhopper pest. 

The most recent alfalfa variety trial at Miner Institute suffered from ice sheeting. 

“Winterkill is a common problem for crops in Northern New York when snow cover shrinks and leaves crops with less insulation against extreme cold. Trials that identify the varieties that do well and those that cannot tolerate the regional conditions are valuable to both producers and the seed companies that provide the seed for evaluation,” said Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Coordinator Margaret E. Smith with the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-led research, outreach and technical-assistance program specifically for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

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