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Research at the Hort. Farm

Current Research at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center

2011 Agricultural Research and Teaching at the UVM Horticulture Research Center

 The University of Vermont Horticulture Research Center (UVM Hort Farm) is a 99-acre facility supported by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station which serves as a field laboratory for numerous applied agriculture research projects. Infrastructure at  the Hort Farm includes field plots with irrigation access, a fleet of tractors, tillage, and planting equipment, produce coolers and drying ovens, field laboratory and classroom space.

 In 2011, the following supported projects are active on the farm:

 1.      Apple Research and Outreach.

 The Hort Farm has supported applied apple research and outreach since it was purchased by the University in 1952. Current projects include 4.6 acres of observation and demonstration Integrated Pest Management (IPM) orchards that provide ecology data for publication in industry newsletters; assessment of high-density tall spindle training systems; and evaluation of rootstocks and varieties.

 In addition, the Organic Apple Research and Demonstration (OrganicA) project, comprised of 2.6 acres in four orchards, is a long-term project that assesses the horticultural and economic feasibility of adoption of organic apple production in the northeastern U.S.


2.      Wine and Table Grape Research

 Viticultural research is conducted in the 0.4 acre research vineyard associated with the national coordinated NE-1020 Multi-state Evaluation of Winegrape Cultivars and Clones trial. This vineyard also supports a U.S. EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Project grant which helps grape grower develop best pest management practices in their vineyards.


3.      Common Ground Student Run Educational Farm

 Sponsored by the UVM Student Government Association, this club manages a three-acre vegetable farm and community supported agriculture (CSA) program whose mission is to provide the UVM community with fresh, local, organic produce through education and hands on experiences for students and the community.


4.      Farmer Apprentice Program

This five-month, full-time certificate program run through UVM Continuing Education began in 2011, with a one-acre plot at the HRC supporting its vegetable CSA farm. The goal of the program is to create small farm business owners, teaching the concepts and practices of diversified agriculture production. This program will provide an intense, supportive experience where participates leave with a deeper understanding of agriculture management and small –scale farm business within the local community, and the entrepreneurial skills to start their own operation. Participants will be prepared to enter the world of small, organic, sustainable farming as farmers, activists, educators, and policy makers impacting our food system in a positive way.


5.      Small Grain, Biofuels, and Agronomy Projects

 Dr. Sid Bosworth uses about five acres of the farm for several research projects involving agronomic crops including spring wheat disease management, switchgrass production for biofuels, and other turf and forage plant assessment. Sid also uses the farm for his courses in Weed Ecology, Turf Management, and Forage Production.

6.      Branch Out Burlington Community Tree Nursery


Dr. Margaret Skinner manages this plot in conjunction with arborists from the city of Burlington as a nursery to provide street trees to the city and surrounding community.


7.      National Elm Tree Evaluation

 This research project is cooperative between 15 different sites/regions of the United States with the University of Vermont representing the New England region. The study is evaluating 19 Dutch elm disease resistant elm species/hybrids for: resistance to other diseases and insects, geographic adaptation, meteorological tolerance, growth rate, form and ornamental features, over a 10 year period. A poster, summarizing the results to date, was presented at the Vermont Division of Forestry's Urban and Community Forestry workshop, "Return of the American Elm to the Community Forest" held at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, Woodstock, VT on September 24, 2010.


8.      American Chestnut Germplasm Conservation Orchard

 The project is a collaboration between the American Chestnut Foundation and UVM.  Students in PSS 138 Commercial Plant Propagation learn grafting techniques using American Chestnuts and then the plants are planted at the Hort. Farm for long-term germplasm evaluation.


9.      The Hort Farm also hosts Apple Sales on Fridays in the fall. Proceeds from fruit sales are the primary source of operational funding for the facility.



Last modified July 08 2011 08:58 AM

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