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Ricardo Hernandez

Department of Horticultural Science

Associate Professor

Kilgore Hall 170


Ph.D. Plant Physiology/Control Environment Agriculture University of Arizona 2013

M.S. Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management Texas A and M University 2009

B.S. Agronomy/Crop Consultation New Mexico State University 2005


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Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/25
Amount: $5,294,195.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

The capacity of strawberry nurseries to develop clean plant material in a timely manner is crucial to the $2.6 billion US strawberry production industry. However, strawberry propagation in North America is a costly multi-year and multi-location operation, leading to a multitude of challenges: (a) Dependency on methyl bromide (MB) for soil disinfestation; (b) Plants as symptomless carriers of plant pathogens; (c) Significant inefficiencies, leading to higher costs for duplicative infrastructure, equipment, labor costs and transportation. There is a critical need for the strawberry nursery industry to reduce overall costs, minimize the spread of pathogens and find alternatives to MB. We propose to address these needs through a coordinated and systematic approach in close collaboration with national and international stakeholders. We have the long-term goal to accelerate the development of optimized, clean propagation techniques, using precise indoor propagation (PIP) practices and genetic tools. Our specific objectives are (1) Development of PIP protocols to optimize strawberry propagation; (2) Determine plant propagation capacity using genetic and morphological tools; (3) Determine socio-economic structure and supply chain of the US strawberry industry; (4) Develop fully functional PIP system and transfer technology into on-farm solutions. We propose to develop nursery specific services, products and on-farm technology, and we will extend our research through a multitude of activities, including yield prediction tools for strawberry farmers in the US. The main outcome of this project is the development of cost-effective strawberry propagation systems, leading to reduced use of MB and the mitigation of diseases and pathogen spread.

Date: 01/01/23 - 12/31/24
Amount: $10,000.00
Funding Agencies: Plenty

CEA - Consortium

Date: 01/01/23 - 12/31/24
Amount: $10,000.00
Funding Agencies: Hort Americas

the NCSU-CEA-Coalition ( is an industry??member-supported research program within NC State???s??Plant Science Initiative. The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Coalition is a multidisciplinary, controlled environment research group based out of North Carolina State University. Composed of research scientists, engineers and in close partnership with industry, the CEA Coalition aims to develop controlled environment agriculture (CEA) as an economically and environmentally sustainable option for agricultural practices by performing evidence-based, transformative research. NCSU-CEA-Coalition??has unique expertise across colleges including engineering, horticulture, plant physiology, economics, marketing, etc. There are several ways to engage with the coalition including via the Consortium (membership based); one-on-one research projects; and service agreements The Consortium provides an opportunity to leverage research dollars as your??membership??fee is matched by??membership??fees from multiple companies. Consortium research projects are suggested by consortium??members??and will be in the pre-competitive space. Any intellectual property generated from the consortium is available to??members??in good standing for non-exclusive license.????NCSU-CEA consortium Bylaws and??Membership??agreement can be found on our attached to this email. Neither document is negotiable, as we must keep a single set of guiding principles that applies to all our members.

Date: 09/15/22 - 9/14/24
Amount: $311,986.00
Funding Agencies: BASF Corporation

Soybean Research Objective: Increase plant compactness and decrease growing cycle (seed to seed) Proposed research: Photoperiod and Spectral light environment optimization for three maturity groups of soybeans. Rationale 1 (spectrum): The light spectrum is known to have a significant impact on plant morphology, with LED technology it is possible to optimize the spectrum to achieve the desired plant architecture. The expected outcome is to provide a spectrum that creates a more compact plant while maintaining or decreasing growing cycle. Rationale 2 (Photoperiod): Investigate the impact of different photoperiods (before reproductive stage) and same cumulative light (daily light integral) on reducing growing cycle

Date: 01/01/22 - 6/30/24
Amount: $85,840.00
Funding Agencies: Agricultural Marketing Service - USDA

We propose to develop research protocols, tools and techniques fundamental to the development of Precise Indoor Vine Conditioning (PIVC) technology at NC State University. We envision PIVC to use Controlled Environment (CE) and data technology to optimize fruiting capacity of vines, leading to game-changing systems of perennial fruit production. PIVC would allow to grow traditionally perennial crops as fully annual culture, as well as the use of vines as ???????????????starter plants??????????????????. Such a system would address major concerns of stakeholders and persistent problems in the fruit growing industry, leading to improved economics and cost recovery, less pesticide and labor input, and improved adaptability to markets. Our objectives are to investigate light recipes, fruiting capacity and economics of PIVC treated vines, while developing collaborations, involving nationwide stakeholders, leading to funded multi-state, national research and extension projects in the future. The outcome of this project are environmental protocols and tools, ready to be used by industry.

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