Agriculture in Western North Carolina is a diverse, sometimes challenging undertaking with extreme temperatures ranging from negative 22 degrees to 98 degrees Fahrenheit and an average rainfall of 48.77 inches. The Mountain Research Station, with its various soil types and elevations ranging from 2,600 to 3,200 feet, provides the ideal location for research studies to address the needs of mountain farmers with programs in horticultural, alternative and forage crops; tobacco; Christmas Trees; and beef cattle.
What We Do
Researchers deliver science-based strategies for managing plant diseases of vegetables including tomatoes, broccoli and cucurbits (such as cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkin and zucchini). The program conducts research in the lab, greenhouse and field to assess the effectiveness of different methods to control plant diseases.
In addition, there are three Black Perigord truffle orchards at the station where researchers oversee a re-inoculation study, a light study, and a woodash study. Scientists also maintain a hops breeding program on the station as well as studies on raspberries and ornamentals.
Researchers test varietals for forage crops including winter annuals, small grains and cool-season grasses. Scientists also address needs in grazing animal agriculture by developing forage management and utilization strategies for pasture-based livestock systems.
NC State scientists research preconditioning systems for beef cattle and screen animal health products and programs. The station houses a bull test facility, and the sale of bulls from this program has greatly improved the quality of cattle produced in Western North Carolina and across the state.
Christmas and Hemlock Trees
Instituted in 1972, the Christmas tree program studies and develops genetically superior trees and seed sources. Research begins in the seedling stage and follows through all phases of production, harvesting and marketing. Researchers also work to improve and restore hemlock trees such as identifying and developing trees that are resistant to invasive pests including sap-sucking woolly adelgids.
The Mountain Research Station is the center for North Carolina burley tobacco research, and the station bred and developed the first three varieties released in North Carolina (129, NC2 and NC3). Researchers examine production of tobacco transplants from flotation beds in greenhouses and field research such as no-till, ground covers, minimum-till, soil enrichment, utilization of compost materials and alternative curing and harvesting systems for tobacco.
Reducing Bacterial Diseases in Peppers
Whether it’s bell peppers or jalapenos, peppers are a popular food among consumers. But like all crops, peppers face the threat of disease. NC State Extension Specialist Inga Meadows, armed with a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is working to reduce one of the most damaging pepper diseases in North Carolina called bacterial spot.
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.
Topics of discussion include weed identification and management, drill calibration and operation, beef cattle breeding studies, corn silage and crabgrass trials, industrial hemp research, hemlock restoration and Christmas trees, vegetable pest management and biodegradable vegetable mulch. Will be held virtually this summer.
Performance-tested bulls evaluated by the station are sold via auction. Annually in December
Mountain Research Station Will Morrow, Station Superintendent 265 Test Farm Rd Waynesville, NC 28786 (828) 456-3943 Mountain.ResSt@ncgr.gov