Funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is enabling Cornell University researchers to evaluate two methods for enhancing fresh market vegetable production in St. Lawrence County and the North Country.
One method involves testing for nutrient levels throughout the growing season. The other is fertigation, the delivery of vital nutrients to crops through drip irrigation systems.
Project leaders say growers who use pre-season soil testing in combination with regular foliar testing (measuring nutrients in plant leaf tissue) throughout the growing season have the opportunity to correct deficiencies before crop yield and quality is damaged.
The trials with pepper and tomato crops were conducted in the 30x96-foot high tunnels at the Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro.
“Our goal is to get more growers to commit the time to season-long testing as an investment in improving their crop yield, quality and income,” said project collaborator Judson Reid, a Cornell University Cooperative Extension Vegetable Specialist. “In my experience, issues such as potassium deficiency need to be corrected before the plant displays symptoms of the problem.”
The two-part Managing Fertility to Increase Yield in Vegetables project report is on the NNYADP website under Horticulture at www.nnyagdev.org.
More information on vegetable production and other agricultural sectors in Northern New York can be found on the NNYADP website at www.nnyagdev.org and is available from local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices.