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Onions

Onions Onions are one of the most important vegetable crops in New York State with annual sales of approximately $52 million. New York accounts for 97% of the onion production in the North Eastern United States and ranks sixth in the nation. Approximately 12,000 acres of yellow pungent cooking onions are grown from direct seed, predominantly on organically rich muck soils. This crop is stored and marketed until April. Sweet and red varieties are also grown, mostly from transplants. Hundreds of small-scale diversified farms grow onions intensively on plastic beds on less than an acre. These onions can grow very large and be lucrative in the market place where they are sold through produce auctions, farmer's markets, roadside stands and CSAs.

Continued intensive production of onions in New York has led to an array of perennial pest challenges, as well as the introduction of new pests, so that management of the onion complex in New York requires a very strategic research-based approach. Cornell Cooperative Educators and Cornell faculty work together to conduct research on many aspects of onion production in the state. Below you will find educational information and results of our research trials.

Most Recent Onions Content

Pink Root on Your Onion Transplants: To Plant or Not to Plant?

Anne Mills, Field Technician
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: April 11, 2017
Pink Root on Your Onion Transplants: To Plant or Not to Plant?

Word on the Black Dirt in Orange County is that many growers are receiving Arizona-grown onion plants that are heavily infected with pink root.

Relative Performance of Onion Fungicides

Christy Hoepting, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: March 17, 2014
Relative Performance of Onion Fungicides

Botrytis leaf blight (BLB) and purple blotch (PB) are two of the most common and important leaf diseases of onions in New York. BLB is favored by cool and wet conditions, optimum: 59-65 degrees F + 12 hours leaf wetness, infection greatly reduced above 81 degrees F. PB is favored by warmer and humid conditions, optimum: 77 degrees F + 90% RH, minimum 55 degrees F; maximum 97 degrees F. Several fungicides are labeled in New York for control of both of these diseases.

To determine which fungicides were best for controlling BLB and PB in New York, head to head comparisons of the different fungicides were evaluated in four on-farm small plot trials, in Elba (2006), Sodus in (2007), Pembroke (2008) and Linwood (2008). Seven to eight weekly fungicide sprays were made per season starting in mid- to late-June using a back pack sprayer. Quantitative evaluations were made including number of BLB and PB lesions per plant, % leaf dieback, plant health ratings, yield and grade.

Responding to Hailstorms

Crystal Stewart, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

Last Modified: June 26, 2013
Responding to Hailstorms

While no one wants to think about the possibility of hail hitting their beautiful crops just as they start to respond to the heat and take off, the likelihood that we will see more hail seems pretty high. So let's talk about it.


More Onions Content

Role of Adjuvants in Bacterial Diseases of Onions
Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables
2009 Elba Muck Soil Nutrient Survey Summary
Exploring the Relationship Between Nitrogen, Plant Spacing and Bacterial Disease
Preventing Muck Soil Erosion by Reducing Tillage in Onion Production
O-zone Injury on Vegetables
Leek Moth Control and Information
Seed Treatments for Onion Maggot Control in Onions
Stop the Rot! - Using Cultural Practices to Manage Bacterial Diseases of Onion
Fall Application of Dual Magnum for Yellow Nutsedge Control in Muck Onions
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Upcoming Events

Berry Crops Field Workshop

August 29, 2017
5pm-7pm
Stephentown, NY

These workshops are directed at the commercial berry grower.
Monitoring for pests, designing an effective pest control program, understanding cultural and chemical SWD management strategies and general troubleshooting will all be part of this workshop.
There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
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Best Management Practices for High Tunnel Nutrition and Soil Health

September 13, 2017
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Poughkeepsie, NY

Soil tests, foliar tests, foliar feeds, fertigation, managing for yield...long term soil health in a high tunnel isn't a simple process. It can have a lot of components and require a fair amount of analysis. Cornell Cooperative Extension, partnering with NOFA-NY in a New York Farm Viability Institute funded project, have been working to identify long-term soil health and fertility best management practices. We will share what has been learned.
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Announcements

Welcome Jim Meyers: New Viticulture Specialist!

Jim has been working with wine grapes for 10 years, first as a Viticulture Ph.D. student at Cornell then as a Research Associate. Prior to coming to Cornell, Jim studied Chemistry and Biology (B.S. West Chester University of Pennsylvania), Computer Science (M.S. Brown University), and had a successful career as software technology entrepreneur. This background is reflected in his viticultural research which has focused on computational tools for mapping canopy and vineyard variability, quantifying relationships between variability and fruit chemistry, and optimizing efficiency of vineyard operations. As an Extension Associate, Jim will continue some of these research activities while also looking for new projects that provide targeted benefits to appellations in Eastern New York. Jim will kick off his new appointment by visiting growers at their vineyards to gather first hand knowledge of the sites and to discuss vineyard operations, goals, and challenges. Building a complete catalog of vineyards in a territory that runs 300 miles along the Route 9 corridor may take a little while, but Jim feels that the effort will lay a solid foundation for future program activities while also clearly differentiating the needs of each appellation.


New Resources for Berry Crops

Berry Crop Diagnostics Tool - Much information exists on controlling plant pests and problems, but one must first identify the cause before intervention can occur. This diagnostic tool was developed to assist the student, grower, and extension educator in identifying potential causes of plant problems in berry crops

Cornell Berries YouTube Channel - Webinars and other videos that support our commercial berry production Extension and outreach

Coming soon: New NEWA berry pest forecasting tools


White Rot Update

NOW AVAILABLE: White Rot Fact Sheet: Click Here

Earlier in June I sent a garlic sample to the diagnostic lab hoping that I was wrong. The sample was covered in small black sclerotia, the size of poppy seeds, and white fungal hyphae crept up the stem. The results, unfortunately, matched the field diagnosis: White Rot. Within a couple days additional calls came from up and down the Hudson Valley as well as one in Western NY with similar suspicions. These samples have also gone to the lab for verification, but it looks like the latest pest to move back into the state is this nasty fungus. 

White Rot, Sclerotinia cepivorum, decimated the onion industry in New York in the 1930's before being eradicated through careful management. More recently, in 2003, it infected 10,000 acres of garlic in California, leading to the abandonment of some garlic fields and adoption of strict containment rules. White rot has been confirmed in Northeastern states over the last decade as well, with New York being one of the last to discover the disease.

The primary reason that White Rot is such a concern is because the sclerotia, or reproductive structures, can remain dormant in the soil for up to 40 years, attacking any allium crop planted into the soil under favorable conditions. This spring was ideal for infection due to the period of cool, moist weather we had. Optimal temperature for infection is 60-65 degrees F, but infection can occur anywhere from 50-75 degrees F.
Once garlic has white rot, it generally declines rapidly. Leaves will yellow and the plant will wilt, not unlike a severe fusarium infection. However, unlike with fusarium, white rot infected bulbs are covered in black sclerotia and white fungus. To add to the confusion, another disease CAN look similar. Botrytis also causes black sclerotia and white fungal growth. However, Botrytis sclerotia are quite large, often larger than a pencil eraser.

So, what do we do now? We're still working on long-term management strategies, but the most important steps to take now are vigilance when culling (look at the plants you are pulling for symptoms like you see in this article, and if they are present, call us to take a sample and have the disease verified) and, if you see anything suspicious, reduction of movement of inoculum. The main ways diseases get moved around are by dumping culls (compost, field edges, etc) and my moving soil on equipment. Throw away your culls, and wash equipment that may have come in contact with suspicious garlic or the soil it is growing in. Everything from cultivation equipment to harvest bins should be cleaned. 

We will keep learning about this disease and will keep sending out information, particularly to help you make decisions about what to sell and buy. For now, remember that the west coast has learned to manage the disease, and we will too. -Crystal Stewart, ENYCHP




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