Back to top

Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen

Senior Research Associate

101 Love Lab
(607) 255-5043

I conduct research in plant breeding on forage and bioenergy crops. Research involves variety development for pest resistance and improved forage quality, evaluation, and collaborations with other institutions.

Research Focus

I conduct research on forage crops and bioenergy feedstock crops. Research involves variety development and genetic improvement, variety and germplasm evaluation, and research collaborations with other institutions.
As a part of the Forage Breeding Project research team, I work on seven major research objectives: 1) yield and quality evaluation of experimental forage populations developed in the Cornell Forage breeding program, 2) yield and quality evaluation of forage varieties from seed companies marketing in the Northeast, 3) research on breeding for improved forage quality in alfalfa, and 4) cooperative research with NE-1010 Regional Research Project 5) research and breeding for resistance to potato leafhopper (PLH), alfalfa snout beetle, and brown root rot in alfalfa 6) bioenergy feedstock research on switchgrass and 7) industrial hemp variety trials.
Eighteen new forage varieties have been developed and are commercially available for producers in New York and in other states. Research and variety development on PLH-resistant alfalfa has been conducted since 1997. Six grants from the New York State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program and one from Northeast Regional IPM Competitive Grants Program have been awarded for PLH-resistant alfalfa research. For variety development, 23 PLH-resistant alfalfa populations have been developed from field nursery and plot selections from eight diverse alfalfa germplasms from the Cornell alfalfa breeding program. Trials are established each year for accomplishment of the NE1010 regional project objectives. Genetic improvement in alfalfa is an ongoing breeding project for reduced total cell wall concentration and/or higher proportion of the more digestible cell wall components to enhance the efficiency of utilization of its high protein and dry matter digestibility by ruminants. Since 1989, I have coordinated and managed the Cornell University Forage Yield Testing Program. This program tests forage varieties and experimental populations for yield and other characteristics in several locations throughout New York State. With funding from Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, alfalfa populations with tolerance to alfalfa snout beetles are being tested in field trials, and alfalfa cultivars are being tested for resistance to brown root rot. In collaboration with several faculty members at Cornell, a proposal was funded by New York Farm Viability Institute to test perennial grasses and legumes for bioenergy feedstock production. Several high yielding warm season grass varieties have been identified that are well adapted to New York. Breeding switchgrass for biomass yield, low seed dormancy, pest resistance and tolerance to marginal lands in New York is proceeding with funding from the Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium. In collaboration with Rutgers, four new switchgrass populations have been developed and will be further tested for biomass yield and other characteristics. For the Alfalfa and Forage Research Program, a USDA grants program, we are Co-principle investigators on two alfalfa grants concerning fall dormancy, genomic selection for yield, drought and salt tolerance. In 2016, initial studies on industrial hemp varieties and adaptation to New York were begun.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Outreach activities are reports and websites of forage yield trials results including the Cornell Guide for Integrated Field Crop Management, and presentations at symposiums and meetings organized by extension educators, seedsmen, and by other Cornell faculty. The reports and websites are updated annually as new field data are available. The presentations for extension educator organized meetings are conducted in the educator's home county usually in the winter months each year. The seedsmen’s field day is a field tour at the Plant Breeding research fields in July and inservice training for extension educators is in November in Ithaca. The constituents served are producers, extension educators, and seedsmen. The impact of the outreach activities is to provide data on and encourage use of new forage varieties and new genetic traits available in forage varieties on NY farms.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

  • Viands, D. R., Hansen, J. L., & Crawford, J. L. (2012). Registration of 'Ezra' alfalfa. Journal of Plant Registrations. 6:225-228.
  • Fonseca, C. L., Viands, D. R., Hansen, J. L., & Pell, A. N. (1999). Associations among forage quality traits, vigor, and disease resistance in alfalfa. Crop Science. 39:1271-1276.
  • Fonseca, C. L., Hansen, J. L., Thomas, E. M., Pell, A. N., & Viands, D. R. (1999). Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy prediction and heritability of neutral detergent-soluble fiber in alfalfa. Crop Science. 39:1265-1270.
  • Hansen, J. L., & Viands, D. R. (1989). Response from phenotypic recurrent selection for root regeneration after taproot severing in alfalfa. Crop Science. 29:1177-1181.

Research Reports

  • Hansen, J. L., Viands, D. R., Deubler, R., Crawford, J., & Schiller , J. (2011). New York Forage Legume and Grass Variety Yield Trials - 2011 Harvest and Total Season Summary. p. 18 Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  • Hansen, J. L., Viands, D. R., Deubler, R., Crawford, J., & Schiller , J. (2011). New York Forage Legume and Grass Variety Yield Trials Summary for 2011 - Season Totals. p. 13 Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Trade Publications

  • Richards, B. K., Stoof, C. R., Hansen, J. L., Crawford, R. V., & Crawford, J. L. (2014). Growing perennial grass bioenergy feedstocks on marginal soils of the Northeast. p. 7-8 Progressive Forage Grower, Jerome, Idaho.

Presentations and Activities

  • Grass for Bioenergy. Class in BEE 6940. February 2016. Cornell . Ithaca.
  • Untapped Potential: Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of NY and the Northeast. Northeast Region Certified Crop Advisor Annual Training Meeting. December 2015. NRCCA/ASA/NYS. Syracuse, NY.
  • Development of Gall Midge Susceptible and Resistant Cave-in-Rock Switchgrass Populations. Switchgrass III. October 2015. Knoxville, TN.
  • Grass for Bioenergy. Class in BEE 6940. February 2015. Cornell . Ithaca.
  • Grass for Bioenergy. Class in BEE 6940. February 2015. Cornell . Ithaca.
  • Marginal Lands and Bioenergy. NEWBio Project Webinar Series. November 2014. NEWBio.
  • Development of sustainable perennial grass bioenergy on marginal soils of New York. Perennial Bioenergy Feedstock Tour and Persentation. July 2014. USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center. Big Flats, NY.
  • Switchgrass breeding overview and projects at Cornell. Perennial Bioenergy Feedstock Tour and Persentation. July 2014. USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center. Big Flats, NY.
  • Effect of fertilization on N2O emissions from a marginal soil used for perennial grass bioenergy production. EGU General Assembly Conference. April 2014. European Geosciences Union. Vienna, Austria.
  • Second generation bioenergy production on marginal lands of NY & the Northeast. 2014 Northeast Biomass Heating Expo. April 2014. Portland, Maine.