Research Stations - Central Crops Research Station
Swine research is conducted in a grant-supported facility that is industry driven and accepts animals from outside sources. The program focuses on the 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 Unit.
In the corn breeding program, more than 100 inbred corn lines have been released in addition to the 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 variety with resistance to soybean cyst nematodes, was developed at CCRS. Others soybean varieties include Ransom, Young, Vance, Nitrasoy and Satelite, a heartsmart soybean with half the saturated fat. CCRS is also the site of the first documentation of male sterility in soybeans. More than 14 varieties of tobaccos are studied, including NC-12, NC-13, NC-55, and NC-71. North Carolina tobacco varieties dominate more than 55 percent of the acreage in the southeast. The initial cross of the Covington variety of sweet potato was performed at Central Crops.
CCRS presently conducts research on strawberries, watermelons, apples, peaches, grapes and some vegetables. The horticultural breeding program has released Muscadine grape varieties such as Noble, Carolos, Doren, Regal, Dixie, Sterling and Nesbitt. The tomato varieties Venus and Saturn for fresh market, and Wolfpack I and II for processing, plus the watermelon variety Sweet Princess were developed at CCRS.
More than 40 project leaders currently conduct research on site with more than 140 research objectives. Projects are generally highly technical with high labor input. For example: half the resources on the station are devoted to plant breeding and genetic research. Nematode research in 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. The station hosts numerous studies in disease, insect, nematode and weed control, plus studies on environmental interactions and variety evaluations. Research has expanded into alternative energy crops as well as improving the nutritional and health related benefits of traditional crops.The plant breeding program is a unique combination of traditional plant breeding and newer molecular programs.