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Apple, dairy, field crop, grape, and vegetable research receive NYFVI funding

Wine grape growers in the Finger Lakes region will be getting a high-tech view of both their vineyards and bottom lines thanks to work from Justine Vanden Heuvel.

A project from the associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science will help select growers use drone technology to collect remote sensing measurements known as normalized difference vegetation index, or NDVI images. Her research is one of 11 projects led by Cornell scientists who received a total of more than $1.1 million from the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) in their latest round of funding, announced April 12.

The Cornell projects focus on several key agricultural sectors in New York, including apples, dairy, field crops, vegetables, and, like Vanden Heuvel's project, grapes.

The NYFVI said that growers equipped with NDVI images are better able to develop data-based selective harvest plans and maximize the economic potential of their fruit. Computational and information technologies are increasingly being deployed to improve the probability of food systems, known as "Digital Agriculture."

The projects are meant to benefit farms of all sizes and production and represent a cross-section of New York agriculture, according to NYFVI. Project work is beginning immediately.

The following Cornell projects received funding:


  • Srdan Acimovic, Development of Effective Spray Program for Post-Infection Fire Blight Management in Apples and Cost-Benefit Analysis of its Key Components: $149,950
  • Jaume Lordan Sanahuja, Improving Apple Grower Profitability Through Precision Management by Developing and Implementing a Smart App: $127,297


  • Julio Giordano, Increasing Dairy Farm Profitability by Reducing the Interbreeding Interval and Optimizing Conception Rate of Lactating Dairy Cows: $110,953
  • Julio Giordano, Improving Dairy Cow Health and Reducing Dairy Farm Labor Cost by Automating Health Monitoring and Management: $139,676
  • Kathy Barrett, Dairy Workforce Online Educational Program: $16,652

Field Crops

  • Quirine Ketterings, Decision Agriculture: Managing Nitrogen and Yield in Corn and Forage Sorghum Utilizing Drone NDVI Imaging: $148,192
  • Elson Shields, Biological Control of Corn Rootworm using Native NY Entomopathogenic Nematodes: $99,979
  • Ken Wise, Open Field Study with Avipel Shield Seed Treatment on Field Corn to Deter Birds from Feeding on Corn Seedlings: $25,358



  • Steven Beer, Trials to Reduce Onion Rot: $119,715
  • Faruque Zaman, Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk County, Evaluation of Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Insecticides for Controlling Cabbage Maggot in Brassica Vegetables: $38,135


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