PROJECT CLOSED: Optimizing vegetable production in New York's breadbasket

Worksite Location
Albion, Orleans County
Project Dates
June 15- August 20
Faculty Sponsor
Thomas Björkman
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Christie Hoepting
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The project has two goals. The first is to better understand new broccoli hybrids that are better adapted to the New York climate. This project will evaluate how they perform in commercial production relative to the current best, as part of a multistate Eastern Broccoli Project. The second component involves field trials optimizing onion production, particularly on highly fertile muck soils in the face of weed, insect and disease pressure.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student will work with one of the most effective and decorated extension educators, and will thereby be immersed in excellent extension. The activities will include considerable hands-on data collection, assisting with outreach demonstrations and interacting stakeholders (growers and other researchers) Travel to research plots on commercial vegetable farms in Western New York to assist in set up, data collection and harvest of research trials. Scout for insects, diseases, weeds and crop damage in research plots and commercial vegetable fields and maintain good records.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Experience or course work in vegetable production, entomology, plant pathology, weed science, horticulture, agronomy and/or statistics.

Benefits and Skills

How to conduct precise field trials in the face of constant unpredictability of weather and cooperators. How to ask research questions that reflect both the growers' information need and the current state of knowledge to get maximum value from a trial. How to communicate with stakeholders to accurately and precisely identify problems, to gain the trust of stakeholders, and to provide information in ways that are likely to be implemented. Becoming familiar with the highest standards of commercial vegetable production. Develop a good sense of whether to have a career in Extension, or one being a stakeholder of Extension.