Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cornell names viticulture specialist for Eastern NY counties

James Meyers at work (photo provided)
Cornell Cooperative Extension's Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program (ENYCHP) has named a new viticulture and wine specialist for its 17-county region. James  Meyers will provide grape growers in the region with a combination of on-the-ground grape production assistance and some "high flying technology," according to a news release.

Meyers earned a Ph.D in Viticulture at Cornell University and also has a master's degree in computer science from Brown University. He has used satellite imaging and drone technology to map canopy and vineyard variability to help growers in the Finger Lakes region and California optimize the efficiency and profitability of vineyard operations. He will continue the use of that technology in eastern New York.

‘Images taken by a drone-mounted camera can be used to identify areas of inconsistency in a vineyard and create variability maps to guide ground level assessments of vine performance for potential remediation such as soil amendments, canopy management activities, or rootstock changes," Meyers explained. "This technology can also be used to add harvesting and processing efficiency."

Meyers will be working with growers in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington counties.

The 300-mile Eastern New York region experienced a 34% increase in the number of grape-growing operations and a 50% increase in grape acres from 2007 to 2012, according to the October 2016 report titled "Grape Production in the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Region," issued by the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
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