Research Stations - Central Crops Research Station
Swine research is conducted in a grant-supported facility that is industry driven and accepts animals from outside. No herd is maintained at the station providing researchers the ability to bring in animals the size needed for specific research. When trials are completed the facility can be completely cleaned, sanitized and decontaminated before the next trial begins. The research program focuses on animal health, dietary needs, gut health and improving the commercial industry. Research is also conducted on animal waste management. The world record Hampshire boar, “Last Laugh “gained 3.2 pounds per day on test at Central Crops Swine Evaluation Station.
Central Crops host breeding nurseries for Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Small Grains, Sweet Potato, Tobacco and Winter Cover Crops. In the corn breeding program more than 100 corn lines have been released in addition to early research on molecular markers that lead to current methods of DNA-based selection techniques. Many soybean varieties have been developed by the plant breeding program. Pickett the first soybean with resistance to soybean cyst nematodes, was developed at CCRS. Other soybean varieties released include Ransom, Young, Vance, Nitrasoy and Satelite, a heartsmart soybean with half the saturated fat. Central Crops was the site of the first documentation of male sterility in soybeans. The first documentation of drought resistance in soybean occurred at CCRS. The tobacco breeding program has led to the release of numerus Burley and Flue-Cured varieties. North Carolina tobacco varieties dominate more than percent of the acreage in the southeast United States. The initial cross of the Covington variety of sweet potato was performed at Central Crops. The horticulture breeding program has released Muscadine grape varieties such as Noble, Carolos, Doren, Regal, Dixie, Sterling and Nesbit. Tomato varieties including Venus and Saturn for fresh market, and Wolfpack I and II for processing, additionally the watermelon variety Sweet Princess was developed at CCRS.
CCRS currently conducts research on strawberries, watermelons, specialty melons, lettuce, peppers, squash, basil, cucumbers, hops, carrots and sweet potato. Research is focused on pathology, soil borne pathology, entomology, weed management and variety evaluations for adaptation to central North Carolina environment. Fields are maintained for soil borne pathology research in vegetables, watermelons and sweet potato. Soil borne pathogens cause diseases that lead to diseases that can cause catastrophic loss in vegetables, watermelons, and sweet potato. Central Crops host regional sentinel plots for determination of when disease moves into the region. Strawberry research focuses on variety development, disease resistance, weed and insect control, alternative fumigation measures for disease control, fertility and cover crop utilization. Research focused on sweet potato curing and storage issues.
Research is conducted in Corn, Cotton, Grain Sorghum, Hemp, Soybean, Small Grains, Forage and Biofuels Crops, and Tobacco – Flu-Cured, Burley and Cigar Wrapper. Research focused on variety evaluation, entomology, pathology, fertilization and weed management. Thirty-Four plus acres are dedicated to weed science, weed management, and efficacy evaluation of new herbicides and weed control technology. Dedicated field space allows the station to create and maintain weed seed banks for critical weed research. Central Crops host long-term, multi-year, tillage trials in cotton.
More than 40 project leaders annually conduct research on site with more than 140 research objectives. Projects are generally highly technical with high labor input. For example: more than half the station resources are devoted to plant breeding and genetic research. Nematode research in the micro plots led to the development of damage thresholds for six major crops, leading North Carolina to become the first state to offer a Nematode Advisory Program. CCRS currently maintains three fields for nematode research in addition to the micro plots. The station host numerous studies in disease, insect, nematode and weed control, environmental interactions, variety evaluations, and alternative energy crops. Recently research has expanded to include soil biome studies and the evaluation of field cameras and sensors for collecting data within the crop canopy.