Plant breeding and genetics, weed control, alternative pesticide research, swine studies . . . these are just a sampling of the important research conducted at the Central Crops Research Station. Each year the 523-acre site hosts a wide range of field tests conducted by dozens of researchers from NC State and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Active since 1953, the station’s facilities — which include a teaching orchard, greenhouses, nurseries, fields with advanced irrigation systems and a vegetable pathology building — have been instrumental in the discovery of new varieties of crops, improving the commercial swine industry, and North Carolina becoming the first state to release the Nematode Advisory Program.
What We Do
The station hosts hand-pollinated breeding nurseries for important field crops like corn, cotton, soybeans, tobacco and sweet potatoes. It has isolation fields to prevent unintended pollination for corn breeding, and researchers conduct trials to evaluate breeding nurseries for corn, soybeans and cotton.
Researchers at the station develop brand-new strawberry varieties, a guide that helps farmers diagnose and manage strawberry disease problems, and longer-term projects to enhance the state’s strawberry nursery industry and to increase scientists’ understanding of how strawberry flowers respond to frosts and freezes.
Soil Pathogen Research
Soil-borne pathogens — such as fungi, bacteria and nematodes that are transmitted among plants via the soil — and ways to remediate them for vegetables, melons and sweet potatoes are main research efforts at the station.
For example, the station is home to cutting-edge research on the sting nematode, a microscopic roundworm found in sandy soils in the floodplains of the southeast and midwestern U.S. The worm damages the roots of field crops such as soybeans, corn and peanuts and injects them with a toxic chemical that can cause stunting, yellowing and wilting.
Weed Science Research
The station hosts many researchers and their projects to develop weed management systems for strawberries, corn, cotton, soybeans, small grains such as wheat, barley, oats and rye, and grain sorghum. Among the projects are studies that delve into herbicide efficacy and carryover from one year’s application to the next year’s crop, weed/crop competition, weed biology, field residue and how agricultural management affects weed behavior.
A Berry Good Deed
This year’s strawberry harvest at the Central Crops Research Station is not only generating knowledge that growers can use to enhance their farms and the environment, it’s also benefitting those in need of nutritious produce.
For more than 75 years, the Research Stations Division has worked with the National Weather Service (NWS) to provide accurate, statewide weather data. When you hear and see local and national weather reports, you can be sure meteorologists and climatologists are using information gathered from our stations.