St. Lawrence County farmers part of group researching plant-based energy crops, high tunnels to extend growing season
Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 5:50 pm

St. Lawrence County farmers are among those participating in 12 regional on-farm research projects.

The projects focus on growing corn and grass-based energy crops, producing Northern New York-branded cold hardy wine grapes, using high tunnels to extend the growing and sales seasons for fresh greens, and developing alfalfa varieties resistant to damage to brown root rot and highly-destructive alfalfa snout beetle.

The research is coordinated by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

Farmers from St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson and Lewis counties prioritized the region’s agricultural production research needs and select projects for funding under the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. The program was established in 1961 with funding through the New York State Legislature.

The Northern New York agricultural industry contributes nearly $600 million in farm product value to the local economy and supports a regional payroll of $52.9 million.

Northern New York farmers credit the research program with providing the region’s agricultural industry with practical results that benefit farms, communities and the regional economy.

“The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program’s on-farm trials provide farmers with real-life experiences and data specific to our soils, our climate, and our shorter growing season,” said Program Co-Chair Jon Greenwood, a Canton dairyman.

The 12 projects are supported by funds provided by the New York State Legislature, Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson and Lewis counties.

The 12 Northern New York Agricultural Development Program projects are:

• Breeding Alfalfa Varieties with Resistance to Alfalfa Snout Beetle

• Corn Hybrids for Grain and Ethanol Production in NNY Variety Trials

• Cover Crops in Corn Silage Systems in NNY: Can Farms Conserve Nitrogen Fertilizer and Save $$ by Using Cover Crops Under NNY Growing Conditions?

• Evaluating Soil Test Phosphorus Variation on Farms: A Preliminary Investigation

• Grass Biomass Potential for NNY

• Hands-on Training for On-Farm Application of Nematodes to Control Alfalfa Snout Beetle

• Improving Apple Orchard Management Systems and Rootstock for NNY

• Management Strategies for Fall/Winter Greens Production in NNY (High Tunnels)

• Managing Fertility to Increase Yields in field-grown Vegetables

• On-Farm Rearing of Nematodes for Alfalfa Snout Beetle Control: Improving Communications with Multimedia Approaches

• Optimizing Grass Biomass Yield and Quality for Combustion

• Soybean Variety Trials in NNY

To learn more about the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, its projects, and practical results, visit