Research Stations - Peanut Belt Research Station
In terms of complexity and magnitude of research programs, PBRS is the principal station for peanut breeding and research throughout the state. PBRS utilizes specialized harvesting and drying equipment for the peanuts, and a sophisticated solar crop drying facility. The station relies heavily on irrigation, which includes a 7-acre pond, diesel pumps/linear irrigation machines, set sprinkler systems, a hose reel, and gated pipe.
Approximately 80 precernt of Virgina-Type peanuts grown in the sate were developed through the breeding program at the Penaut Belt Research Station. PBRS currently has more than 40 acres of peanuts under research by plant breeders from N.C. State University. They work to breed peanut lines that have better yields, better USDA grades and better resistance to diseases such as tomato spotted wilt virus, leafspot, Cylindrocladium black rot, Sclerotinia blight, and web blotch. These new lines are also evaluated for flavor and appearance before being released for growth by peanut growers.
High oleic lines are also being researched. These peanuts have a longer shelf life, which increases marketability. Several peanut lines are evaluated for resistance to insect damage. Since peanuts grow underground, they are very susceptible to insect damage.
Peanut Breeding also includes several seed nurseries that increase the number of seed needed to release a new variety to growers. There are between 300 and 500 new lines each year with near 150 advanced lines in ongoing research each year. The average time to get a new variety from start to release is from 10 to 14 years.
Plant and harvest dates are studied in peanuts, cotton, and corn for effect on yield and grade. Pest control is studied for both insecticides and herbicides and is tested for rates and timing of application, while herbicides also include combinations with other herbicides for best immediate and/or residual weed control. Official variety tests are conducted at PBRS in both corn and cotton. These tests compare performances of varieties grown in the area and give growers the opportunity to choose the best variety. Soybean sentinel plots are also located at PBRS to provide early detection of soybean rust. Corn breeders from NCSU also have more than 30 experiments on more than 30 acres of land to develop new corn varieties. These varieties are also evaluated for yield and quality.
PBRS is used by researchers to conduct numerous agronomic, pest control, and disease management experiments. These experiments are conducted on more than 35 acres of peanuts and 45 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans, sorghum, cukes, and small grains. Agronomic practices include:
- Long term rotation effects on peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, fescue, and small grain
- Effects of gypsum and types of gypsum on peanut production
- Soil ph effect on crop production,
- Timing and application of nutrients for crop production.