This 352-acre farm is located along Lake Champlain at the base of Willsboro Point. The farm has both clay and sandy soils, permitting a range of field experiments for optimizing management of agricultural resources. Fifty-two specially constructed field-scale drainage plots provide researchers with a unique opportunity to develop and test crop fertilizer application practices that are agriculturally, environmentally and economically sound. In support of the region's important dairy sector, several studies are designed to improve forage production systems.
The farm was donated in 1982 by E. Vreeland Baker to Cornell University for agricultural research, and was formerly known as Cornell E. V. Baker Research Farm.
- A large Juneberry nursery grows wild and cultivated varieties, to test which do best in the Northeast climate. This blueberry look-alike is praised for its flavor, nutritional value and commercial potential.
- Best management practices are continually updated to optimize crop productivity while minimizing erosion and nutrient losses to neighboring waterways and groundwater. The farm's proximity to Lake Champlain underscores the importance of this research.
- Long-term organic field trials of ancient grains, such as emmer, spelt and einkorn, identify best varieties for baking and economic feasibility.
- An automated weather station provides important data on air and soil temperatures, precipitation, evaporation, light and wind speed.
- Field trials identify crop varieties and management systems that perform well in the soils and climate that are unique to northern New York.
- Cold region wine grape variety trials explore the feasibility of establishing vineyards and wineries in northern New York.
- Non-chemical biological control options are being tested for regionally important crop pests, such as the alfalfa snout beetle.
- The farm is conducting experiments with growing and pelleting grasses for use as a renewable biomass heating fuel.
- Modified greenhouse structures are being tested to extend the growing season for locally produced fruit, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers.
Organic Agriculture at Willsboro
Since 1993, six acres have been dedicated to organic research, and those acres of Willsboro Farm were certified by 'Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC' in 1996.
Willsboro Farm utilizes these acres primarily for organic grain trails, to design ways to incorporate spring and winter wheat rotations, with food grade soybeans, flax and alfalfa / timothy hay. A five year rotation was established, which provides ideal ways to build and enrich the soil and improve soil tilth naturally.
Research at Willsboro has found yields of hard red winter wheat to be comparable to the hard red spring wheat, at about 45 bu. per acre. Soft white winter wheat yields about 60-65 bu. per acre.
Learn more about the Willsboro Research Farm at the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.