Current Projects

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs

IPM is a comprehensive approach to pest management for the agricultural community. It considers pest life cycles, reproductive behaviors, and their interaction with the environment to better control pests and reduce the use of pesticides.

Tree Fruit Scouting

Overview: This program provides participating tree fruit producers in Suffolk County with pest traps, mating disruption ties, and in-season pest scouting reports from a Program technician. Pest traps allow for monitoring of which pest are present and in what numbers at any given point during the season. Mating disruption ties are distributed throughout orchards, utilizing pheromones for pest control. Pest scouting reports are sent weekly to growers, informing them of current pest issues so they know what and when to spray for, for more effective pest control. This program helps reduce the number of pesticide applications made by growers during the season.

IPM Tree Fruit lure trap

Nutrient Management programs

Soil Health testing services

Overview: This program aims to provide soil health testing services to local farmers interested in monitoring and managing their farms overall soil health over time. Standard soil tests provide farmers with basic soil nutrient information for fertilizer recommendations, whereas soil health tests provide information on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. Soil health is a more comprehensive and holistic view of soil, emphasizing all components of the soil system. By offering soil health testing services to Suffolk County farmers we are gaining a better understanding of exiting soil conditions, which will allow us to monitor changes over time and provide better management recommendations for farmers. This project is in collaboration with Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District (SC – SWCD)

sample of soil

Northeast SARE funded study aims to investigate the effects of biochar on nutrient availability and water retention in field and container nursery production on Long Island. 

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Resin bags for nitrate leaching

Resin bags will be placed in the soil under field plots and used to measure nitrate leaching. Resin bags are fabric bags filled with anion exchange resin beads. The anion exchange resin beads attract and hold nitrate in the soil. The nitrate held on the beads can be rinsed off and the resulting leachate can be analyzed for nitrate. The nitrate analysis will indicate the amount of nitrate leached in a specific area of soil across the growing season. The resin bags are novel approach to measuring nitrate leaching at LIHREC. This study will serve as a pilot study to see if resin bags are less costly and labor intensive and more reliable and consistent method to monitor nitrate leaching compared to lysimeters and ground wells.

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Resin Bags as a Method to Assess Nitrogen Leaching Report

Evaluating the efficacy of arbuscular mycorrhizae fungal inoculants in sweet corn

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are fungi that have a mutualistic relationship with most agricultural crops including corn (Zea mays). These endomycorrhizal fungi grow within root cells and create arbuscules, where most soil plant nutrient exchange happens. The fungi also create an extraradical mycelium, which colonizes new areas in the soil to increase the absorption potential of the root system. In return, AMF receive photosynthates, sugar, from the plant. AMF are found naturally in soil, but recently commercial AMF products have become popular. However, studies have found mixed results of the ability of commercial AMF products to colonize plants and increase the biomass, yield, or nutrient absorption to help the producer. This study will test the efficacy of three commercial arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi (AMF) products to improve nutrient absorption and improve soil health in sweet corn in field conditions with 2 nitrogen rates. We will evaluate if AMF products increase soil fungal colonization as well as nutrient absorption and soil health and cause plants to be less stressed. This study will allow CCE to test these relatively new mycorrhizae products and inform growers of the results.

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2023 Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Sweet Corn Report

FIGURE 1 •  FIGURE 2

Determining optimal nitrogen rates for dahlia cut-flower production in sandy soils on Long Island, NY

This program was funded by the Friends of Long Island Horticulture

Dahlias are an important, high demand flower on Long Island. There is not a known optimum nitrogen application rate for dahlias grown in sandy soils in our maritime climate. Determining the optimum nitrogen application rate will help growers take the guess work out of fertilizing as well as minimize any unnecessary nitrogen inputs. This will help growers and protect our sensitive Long Island environment. Understanding optimum application rates will also help growers produce the highest standard, most profitable flowers. Too much nitrogen can result in overly leafy plants while too little nitrogen may result in decreased growth rate.

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Optimum Nitrogen Rate for Café au Lait Dahlias

Determining optimal nitrogen rates for dahlia cut-flower production in sandy soils on Long Island, NY

Soil Health Equipment Loan Program

Overview: This program assists farmers in conserving and improving the health of Suffolk County’s soils for the long-term by covering the costs of purchasing and maintaining conservation oriented agricultural equipment. It aims to promote greater adoption of agricultural best management practices among Suffolk County farmers. This program is in partnership with the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District (SC – SWCD)

Reduce Tillage Equipment


Last updated April 11, 2024