Research at LIHREC

Suffolk County is leading New York State in the market value of crops that are produced. It is the top region in New York State for the sale of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod products, and it accounts for half of all statewide sales in these products. The almost 600 farms remaining in Suffolk County are covering more than 34,000 acres.

Agriculture on Long Island is thriving, because:

  • It has plenty of fresh water available for irrigation from a single underground aquifer
  • The weather is ideal for farming: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7
  • It has high light intensity for crop growth
  • The sandy loam soils are excellent for cultivation
  • One of the world’s largest markets, New York City, is only about 100 miles away

Cornell University has been serving the agricultural industries in Suffolk County since 1922 and has leadership and extension professionals in all areas of crop agriculture (vegetables, fruits, grapes, floriculture and greenhouse, nursery and landscape) as well as in entomology, plant pathology, weed science and plant tissue culture. It is the only research center in the United States of its kind.

Research Programs at LIHREC

  • Vegetable Pathologyoptimizes the management of diseases affecting vegetables grown on Long Island within organic and conventional production systems. An extensive online photo gallery and disease information is one of many tools developed for vegetable growers. Researcher: Meg McGrath
  • Weed Scienceevaluates new and alternative weed management methods to effectively control weeds, while protecting Long Island's aquifers from potential contamination from pesticides. Researcher: Andrew Senesac​
  • Viticulture: supports grape growers to sustain and strengthen their wine business, both economically and environmentally, and keeps growers informed on cutting-edge research and new technology. A research vineyard focuses on variety trials and vineyard management. Researcher: Alice Wise
  • Floriculture: provides Long Island's greenhouse and floriculture growers with up-to-date information on best management practices and recommendations for crop selection, crop production, pest management, business management, environmental issues, and regulations. Researcher: Nora Catlin
  • Nursery & Landscape: educates and supports professionals in the horticulture industry by offering individual consultation, conferences, educational programs, and publications. Large-scale horticulture trial and demonstration projects are housed at LIHREC. Researcher: Mina Vescera​
  • Ornamental Horticulture & Plant Breeding: develops new varieties of ornamental herbaceous plants and flowers by collecting and breeding wild varieties with cultivated ones. New varieties include the winter-hardy Alstroemeria 'Tangerine Tango' and the earlier Inca lily 'Mauve Majesty'. Researcher: Mark Bridgen
  • Ornamental Pathology: improves management of ornamental crop diseases that are problematic in greenhouses and nurseries, and develops information on reduced-risk chemicals, and cultural and biological methods of control. Researcher: Margery Daughtrey
  • Vegetable Program: addresses issues that impact the vegetable industry, focusing on variety development, pest and disease management, and cultural practices of more than 100 different vegetables. Provides information and programs to growers, processors and others. Researchers: Sandra Menasha
  • Entomology: conducts research and diagnostics, and provides the most current information about insects and their control to Long Island's agricultural professionals. Researchers: Dan Gilrein, Faruque Zaman