Incubating New Ideas

Testing a Cow-Side Blood-Calcium Meter to Identify Subclinical Hypocalcemia. On average, 47% of second and greater lactation cows will experience subclinical hypocalcemia without treatment. Given these numbers, and the risks associated with the condition, many dairy farms administer costly whole herd intravenous or oral calcium products. Dr. Mark Thomas of Dairy Health & Management Services thinks there’s a better approach.  Thomas has identified a commercial Ionized Calcium Meter, originally designed to measure water quality, which can determine iCa concentration of whole blood.  NYFVI has awarded Thomas $47,995 to test its use as a cow-side blood-calcium meter.  If successful, this instrument will allow for rapid testing and selective treatment within the herd.  The project will also establish cut-points for the accurate determination of normal versus subclinical and clinical hypocalcemia.

Integrating Spatial Maps to use Variable Rate Technology in Mechanized Concord Vineyards. Mechanical crop load management in Concord vineyards has proven to lower production costs while maintaining or even increasing vineyard yield and fruit quality. However, current pruning techniques are applied uniformly across a planting without responding to differences in soil, canopy growth or potential crop size.  Over the last several years, mobile sensors have been developed that can identify and map these factors to inform variable rate production practices.  Dr. Terry Bates of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory has been awarded $43,968 to integrate these spatial maps with the current equipment to perform on-the-go differential shoot thinning to maximize production of this valuable NY crop.

Engaging Growers for NY Production of Chinese Medicinal Herbs. NY has thousands of practitioners of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (A&OM) who purchase and dispense Chinese herbs to their patients The value of these imported herbs is estimated to be $30 million in NYS alone. Jean Giblette of High Falls Foundation Inc. will use $40,872 to teach and build a network of NY growers to provide A&OM practitioners with a safe, quality choice for their patients.  These herbs, many of which can be grown in underutilized forests and hedgerows can offer farmers new sources of income and a diversified revenue stream.