Senior Extension Associate
I lead the application technology group.My responsibilities include 10% teaching, 60% extension/outreach, 30% research. My primary role is to provide effective leadership and take administrative responsibility for a team of researchers to enable them to conduct research/extension and develop educational packages via lectures, papers, fact sheets and multi-media to improve pesticide application in the State of New York and the North-East of the USA.The pesticide application technology group comprises a multi-disciplinary team of entomologists, plant pathologists, human ecologists and engineers. Within the engineering group I employ technicians, writers, illustrators, research associates and post doc. researchers.
To develop methods to improve deposition within the canopy and reduce off-target drift. Research includes the factors affecting airflow, speed and direction within the canopy. To develop new methods to apply pesticides precisely such as the use of GPS, GIS, RFID etc and improve traceability and management of sprayers.
My research group has filed for a patent on the adjustable airflow louvre via CTEC. We currently have 7 development sprayers working in NY and NJ orchards and vineyards.
Our research thrust is on developing precision spraying techniques for horticultural crops. Notable milestones include a fully autonomous sprayer in citrus in Florida with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon and Univ. of Florida. We have developed a fully automatic sprayer controller for adjusting liquid and airflow on orchard and vineyard sprayers.
Alternatives to spraying pesticides are also studied such as hot water/foam and mechanical methods. We also research engineering methods to reduce operator contamination and environmental pollution.
Our research income is with collaborative grants with colleagues in other departments, universities and comes from a wide array of Federal, state and commodity groups, e.g EPA, SCRI, NY IPM, NY Wine and Grape Foundation, NY Apple Research and Development Fund.
Recent activities include the development of a fixed sprayline system to address the Spotted Wing Drosophilla (SWD) outbreak in the NE USA.
Outreach and Extension Focus
The use of engineering methods to optimise pesticide use, improve deposition and reduce drift. To develop new methods to assist growers apply pesticides whilst reducing environmental pollution and operator contamination.
To show growers via field demonstrations, workshops and conference presentations how to monitor pesticide use, air direction and droplet penetration. An average of 45 presentations are made nationally and internationally each year.
To show growers novel and interesting methods of applying pesticides precisely. I wish to inspire growers to adopt new technology.
To improve the construction and use of existing crop sprayers.
To use interesting methods for teaching engineering science in an applied manner for farmers and growers.
Working in collaboration with Soil and Water conservation districts I have organised various Ag Environmental grants for fruit growers:-
1. 50% cost share for 10 orchard owners to buy sensor sprayers, Orleans Co.2006
2. 50% cost share for 70 orchard and vineyard owners to buy sprayers/sprayer components to reduce environmental pollution in the Finger Lakes counties, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY and Yamhill Co., Oregon. 2011-2016
The use of engineering methods to optimize pesticide use on fruit and vegetables is the goal of my program at Cornell and I endeavour to transmit my enthusiasm for this goal to the students I teach. My focus is to illustrate good and poor practices to students, via a global view of application techniques via an interesting, challenging and exciting syllabus. I am one of a team of three teachers for the Grape Pest Management course at CU (PP/ENT/VIEN 3200), covering application technology. I also teach other CU courses as a visiting speaker, e.g Orchard Management and IPM classes. I am also a visiting teacher for the Finger Lakes Community College, Viticulture course, NY:Brock University and Niagara College, Ontario, Canada IPM class.