On farm demonstration projects provide an opportunity for growers to implement a recommended practice on a small scale, allowing them to weigh the costs and benefits of the new practice against their standard practices. Having seen the results on their own farm, growers can then make an informed decision about implementing the new practice on a larger scale.
Since the beginning of the Agricultural Stewardship Program, many of Suffolk County' s leading growers have participated in voluntary on-farm demonstration projects. The number of requests for information continues to rise. Growers from each of the commodity groups represented on Long Island have expressed interest in getting involved.
In 2011 the Agricultural Stewardship Program reports the following achievements in on-farm demonstration projects:
The applied research project using pheromones to disrupt Japanese beetle in commercial nursery production completed its 6th year and was expanded to include a neighboring nursery. The pheromone product has not been approved for the retail market, although results continue to prove positive, eliminating the need for pesticide application to control Japanese beetle.
The first year using suction lysimeters in to measure the amount of nitrogen leaching below the root zone. Results are inconclusive and will need further study.
The first year Ag Stewardship Technicians assisted 16 growers in the calibration of their fertilizer spreaders to assure proper measurement of fertilizer application. Growers were positive with this intervention.
18 commercial growers participated in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) scouting program, results were published weekly to inform growers.
10 farms participated in soil health, Laboratory results used to establish crops' nutrient needs.
9 tree fruit growers participated in an IPM scouting program designed specifically for the Long Island tree fruit industry.
4 farms participated in reduced tillage trails to improve soil health, reported positive results. This project will continue in 2012 growing season.
3 greenhouse growers participated in the evaluation of an IPM program using Biological Controls to reduce or eliminate the need of chemical sprays. Results were published weekly to inform growers.