New North Country crop trial data ready to help farmers plan for 2013
Friday, December 28, 2012 - 11:47 am

New data that northern New York farmers can use to plan their 2013 crop production for dairy and livestock feed and cash crop sales is online on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at

The report New York Forage Legume and Grass Variety Yield Trials Summary for 2012: Season Totals includes data for more than 200 varieties of alfalfa, red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and perennial forage grasses such as 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 in Chazy, Ithaca, Cobleskill, and 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 in 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,” says Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Coordinator Margaret E. Smith, with the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University.

“Trials that identify the varieties that do well and those that can not tolerate the regional conditions are valuable to both producers and the seed companies that provide the seed for evaluation.”

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

For more information on the Northern New York’s diverse agricultural sectors, visit the website at