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As the land grant university of New York State, Cornell University provides agricultural extension services and information throughout the state through Cornell Cooperative Extension and various departmental programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The departments of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Crop and Soil Sciences, and Horticulture each have extension programs that engage in crop variety testing to provide farmers, seed producers and distributors, and gardeners with information about variety performance in New York State. View a map of crop variety trial locations across New York State.

The Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics conducts crop variety testing on the following groups:

  • Cucurbits and peppers
  • Grain corn
  • Forage grasses and legumes
  • Onion and tomato
  • Potato
  • Small grains - wheat, oat, barley, and triticale
Sliced salt and pepper cucumbers

Cucurbits and Peppers

  • New York is the nation's 4th largest squash producer and 7th largest cucumber producer.
  • Annual crop value: squash - $37M; cucumber - $18.5M.

The cucurbit and pepper breeding program breeds new varieties and evaluates several winter and summer squash, cucumber, melon, and pepper lines for release or pre-release based on yield, quality, novelty, and disease resistance. All variety testing is conducted at a single field site in Freeville, NY.

For more information, contact: Michael Mazourek

Ear of grain corn

Grain Corn

  • NYS is the 21st largest producer of grain corn in the country.
  • Annual crop value: ~$341 million.
  • Wide range of agricultural and industrial uses: food products, animal feed, biofuels.

New and leading hybrid grain corn varieties are annually evaluated for yield, maturity, disease and insect resistance, and stalk and root strength across 10 locations that represent three maturity zones in NY.

For more information, contact: Margaret Smith or visit: Corn Variety Testing Website


Forage Grasses and Legumes

  • NYS is the 26th largest producer of hay in the nation.
  • Annual crop value: $313 million.
  • Forage grasses and legumes make up hay and haylage.
  • Much of NY’s forage is chopped for haylage, a major feed source for dairy cows.

The forage program tests varieties of alfalfa, red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and several perennial forage grass species for yield, nutritional quality, and insect resistance in six different locations. Forage trials are grown and evaluated for multiple years with two to five harvests per plot per season.

For more information, contact: Julie Hansen or visit: Forage Yield Trial Applications and Results

A table full of heirloom tomatoes

Onion and Tomato

  • NYS ranks 5th in onion production in the U.S.
  • Annual onion crop value in NYS: $54.2 million.
  • NYS ranks 11th nationally for tomato production.
  • Annual tomato crop value in NYS: $28.5 million.

For more information, contact: Martha Mutschler-Chu

Potatoes in a field


  • NYS ranks 11th in potato production in the country.
  • Annual crop value: $61 million.
  • NYS potatoes are grown for both the chipping industry and fresh market sales.

The potato breeding program breeds and evaluates adapted potato lines in six field locations for release or pre-release based on yield, quality, novelty, and golden nematode resistance.

For more information, contact: Walter De Jong

Wheat growing against a blue sky

Small Grains – Wheat, Oat, Barley, Triticale

  • NYS is the 9th largest oat and 27the largest wheat producer in the nation.
  • Annual crop values: oat - $8M; wheat - $37M.

The small grains regional variety trials focus on new and leading spring and winter wheat, spring oat, and barley varieties. Annual trials are grown in three to four locations and evaluated for yield, maturity, and resistance to disease, lodging, and pre-harvest sprouting.

For more information, contact: Mark Sorrells or visit: Cornell Small Grains Trials and Fee Testing Programs