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Photos and video are from Kinderhook Creek Farm, Stephentown, NY, producer partner on the grant.

In 2018, the NYFVI (New York Farm Viability Institute) awarded a grant to the LRC to investigate the use of UV to suppress pathogens in summer squash. This project will demonstrate that UV lighting technology can easily and cost-effectively be used by farmers to prevent or reduce powdery mildew, and perhaps other pathogens and pests, in squash and other vegetable crops in New York State (NYS). The project will involve farmers in designing and building the apparatus that will be used to provide the UV lighting. This will help to ensure that the technology is readily available and easy to assemble for farmers.
Farmers will also be involved in using the technology in field applications and in evaluating its ease-of-use and effectiveness in preventing or reducing powdery mildew. The project team will also widely disseminate the information developed in the project among farmers and extension personnel across NYS. Regional, hands-on workshops will be held and educational materials produced for farmers and extension agents so that farmers can build the UV lighting device in their own workshops using commercially available components, and use it in their fields. UV lighting is an alternative and effective approach to existing chemical control measures for control of powdery mildew.

The project is led by Dr. Mark S. Rea, Professor of Architecture and Cognitive Sciences at the Lighting Research Center. He served as LRC Director from 1988 to 2017. Dr. Rea is well known for his research in circadian photobiology, mesopic vision, psychological responses to light, lighting engineering, and visual performance. He is the author of more than 250 scientific and technical articles related to vision, lighting engineering, and human factors. He has been elected Fellow of the Society of Light and Lighting (UK) and Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society.


A recent LRC field study at Kinderhook Creek Farm, funded by NYFVI (New York Farm Viability Institute) evaluating UV light as an alternative form of pest management to prevent or reduce powdery mildew in vegetable crops