Research

The topography, soils, climate, and geographic location of the Hudson Valley provide farmers with opportunities and challenges:

Peter
P. Jentsch – Dept. of Entomology

Opportunities

  • Slopes on hillsides along river valleys provide the soils and frost-free sites needed for fruit production. Organic soils and river bottoms provide ideal land for vegetable production.
  • The Hudson Valley’s proximity to the New York City metropolitan area provides farmers with the opportunity to market horticultural products to millions of local consumers.
  • Increasing awareness of food security issues and interests in locally produced foods is causing more people to seek out Hudson Valley farm products.

Challenges

  • Hudson Valley farmers survive only as they remain competitive with producers in other regions while farming in an increasingly suburbanized environment.
  • The warm, humid climate favors the development of diseases and insect pests not usually found in cooler regions of the state.
  • Pests from the south appear first in the Hudson Valley. • Hudson Valley farmers need pest management strategies for mites, insects, plant diseases, and wildlife pests (e.g., deer) that are compatible with the sensitivities of non-farm neighbors from urban backgrounds.

Objectives of Current Research:

  • Use plant growth regulators to adjust crop load on apple trees so as to maximize fruit quality, tree health, and farm profitability.
  • Increase winter hardiness and reduce cold injury to apple trees through novel use of nutritional supplements and plant growth regulators.
  • Evaluate new strategies and products for improved pest management.
  • Manage postharvest decay of apples to minimize losses during long-term storage.
  • Test disease-resistant apple varieties in a super productive tall-spindle system using organic or sustainable pest management strategies.
  • Assess impacts of plant management systems on plant health and productivity.
  • Develop management strategies for two newly introduced pests, brown marmorated stink bug and spotted wing drosophila, that are destroying fruit and vegetable crops in the Hudson Valley as they move into the state from the south.