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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Genome-wide Association Mapping of Bio-fuel Traits in the Energy Crop Model, Brachypodium Distachyon

 All food crop varieties, regardless of species, must meet certain quality standards related to their role in food production. Humans have achieved these quality standards through millennia via the processes of domestication and breeding for improvement. Because use of plants for fuel is relatively recent, energy crops lack similar quality standards. There is a desire to create energy crops that will provide high biomass and high fuel yields while growing with few inputs on marginal land.

Development and Dissemination of Best Practices for Catch-and-Release of Fishes in New England

Fishing is highly popular worldwide and a dominant use of many fish stocks (Cooke & Cowx 2004). While recreational fisheries were traditionally harvest-dominated, catch and-release has become a major practice in many developed countries, and is growing in popularity in developing countries due to a combination of increasing harvest regulations and shifting angler priorities. (Cowx 2002; FAO 2012; Freire et al. 2012; Brownscombe et al. 2014a).

Development of sustainable management strategies for large-fruited hybrid cranberry cultivars

Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station Project MAS00488
Duration: October 2015 - September 2019

Threats to the sustainability of cranberry production in MA and elsewhere in the U.S. come from many sources: consumer demands for sustainable but inexpensive products, commodity pricing in an industry that is currently over-supplied with juice concentrate, changes to industry fruit quality standards, rising costs for energy and pest management products, and changing standards in pesticide use to accommodate global marketing.

Climate Change in Massachusetts: Land Use for Adaptation and Mitigation

The causes of climate change are global, but the impacts are experienced locally. Communities across the New England region and the country are facing challenges from climate change including more extreme storms, hotter and longer-lasting heat waves, more rain in winter and less in summer, as well as the slower but significant effects of sea level rise. Given the incremental development and long lives of the built environment, changes in municipal regulations take years to significantly change the buildings and infrastructure that make up our cities and towns.

Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Honey Bee Health (II)

During bloom, pesticide use pattern is changing rapidly in many crops owing to phase-outs of some chemistries and introduction of new ones. In cranberry, two new fungicides now dominate applications of choice during bloom; the recommendation is to use the two modes of action simultaneously to slow evolution of resistance by fungal pest species. In order to save time and money, growers frequently add an insecticide simultaneously to the fungicide mix in order to manage the key pest, cranberry fruitworm. Alone, all of the compounds are considered 'bee safe' and bloom sprays are allowed.

Environmental Impacts of Equine Operations

This projects involves two aspects of equine operations: manure handling and a comparison of footing materials. Proper manure handling and disposal is a special concern for the horse owners operating on small acreage in close proximity to neighbors and water bodies. Rather than a liability however, horse manure can be a valuable asset to equine facilities. In this project we will evaluate two simple low cost aerated static composting systems for typical small acreage horse and/or livestock operations. Establishment of sacrifice lots are crucial to pasture management in horse farms.

A Rapid Response System for Prediction and Management of Phytophthora Diseases in Massachusetts Farms Using Risk Mapping and Real Time PCR

Phytophthora species consistently rank as some of the most devastating disease agents in Massachusetts farms. Two species, P. infestans and P. capsici, attack regionally important vegetable crops, including cucurbits, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. In 2007, over 8,000 acres of vegetable crops susceptible to infection by P. capsici and P. infestans were harvested in Massachusetts.

Optimizing Food Storage Systems for Quality, Safety and Energy Efficiency

The food industry in the United States is a major consumer of energy, with the majority of energy consumption related to food handling and storage. Many Americans experience food insecurity and depend on food banks, which must attempt to minimize food spoilage and expenses. Energy costs are a major expense for food banks, so reductions in energy use are critical to increasing the availability of food for the most vulnerable.

RiverSmart Communities: Supporting Ecologically Restorative Flood Prevention and Remediation in New England

This project will link fluvial geomorphology to New England-specific climate, landscape, ecology, population, and infrastructure to develop best management practices for flood prevention. Also, it will uncover challenges and constraints caused by distinct jurisdictional and institutional fragmentation, highlighting successful strategies for overcoming these. The extension aspect will take this much-needed scientific and institutional knowledge and disseminate it among towns, government officials, landowners, businesses, environmental organizations, road crews, and others.

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