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Research Stations - Horticultural Crops @ Clinton

Research Program Melon production research project @ the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Sampson County

Breeding Long-term breeding programs continue to be conducted on cucumbers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. These breeding programs look for plant materials which offer disease or insect resistance, better quality and/or greater yield. When new materials are proven to offer desirable traits, they are provided to seed companies for release as breeding material or as new varieties. Public breeding programs have declined in the past 15 years; therefore, we are fortunate to have these programs to support the growers, industry and residents of North Carolina. The breeding program at HCRS-CL also provides valuable training to N.C. State University and N.C. A&T graduate students. Students receive hands-on experience in growing practices, controlled pollination and evaluation of various treatments.

Frost protection of crops in the early spring is essential to production

Cultural Evaluations With increasing concerns about the environment, it is important that we find better ways to utilize and track nutrients applied to crops. Research is directed toward learning the amount of nutrients to apply, when to apply them and how these nutrients move through the soil profile. Cover crops are grown to retain nutrients in the upper soil profile. Also, use of legume cover crops as sources of organic nitrogen for vegetable crops are under investigation. Plastic culture and drip irrigation are utilized to prescription feed and water various crops which are grown on the station.


Pesticide Screening Vegetables are minor acreage crops. Most chemical companies will not obtain the information required by EPA for labeling these materials for vegetable crops. The IR-4 research projects are conducted to determine residue levels of various chemicals on numerous crops. If it is determined that an insecticide, fungicide or herbicide does not present a residue problem, the company may petition for labeling. Materials are also evaluated to determine their effectiveness for controlling insects, diseases and weeds. Without this program, the availability of beneficial pesticides to vegetable growers would rapidly diminish.

Biotechnology Research using fungi, nematodes, beneficial insects and gene splicing is increasingly prevalent in the search for environmentally safe disease and pest management practices. The use of biological materials such as beneficial insects and genetic engineering to control disease and insects reduces the amount of chemical inputs into the environment. The application of this technology is evaluated to determine if it can be integrated safely and effectively into vegetable production.

Harvesting and collecting data is essential to watermelon research projects

NCDA&CS Research Stations Division, Kaleb Rathbone, Director
Mailing Address: 1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
Physical Address:2 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3236   FAX: (919) 733-1754

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