Research Stations - Mountain Research Station
Horticultural crops research is an important part of the station’s program. The station maintains an intensive tomato program with emphasis on breeding new varieties for increased production and disease resistance. Many of the most popular varieties grown in Western North Carolina and the Southeastern United States were developed at the Mountain Research Station. Other horticultural crops include specialty crops such as heirloom tomatoes, lettuce and pumpkins. The station is also conducting a research project involving native mountain herbs.
The Christmas tree program began at the station in 1972 and has progressed to the areas of studying and developing genetically superior trees and seed sources. Research begins in the seedling stage and follows through all phases of production, harvesting, and marketing. Field research includes fertilization studies, insect populations and control methods; effect of growth regulators; herbicide evaluation; progeny testing of White Pine and Fraser Fir; clonal archive, ground covers and various management systems and cultural practices.
The Mountain Research Station is the center for North Carolina burley tobacco research. Research involves all phases of burley production. The first three burley tobacco varieties released in North Carolina (129, NC2 and NC3) were bred and developed at the Mountain Research Station. The station is researching the production of tobacco transplants from flotation beds in greenhouses. Other research includes investigation of no-till, ground covers, minimum till, soil enrichment, utilization of compost materials and alternative curing and harvesting systems for tobacco. Research continues to be performed on disease control through treatment and through the development of disease resistant breeding lines.
A beef cattle demonstration program designed to accommodate the needs of area beef cattle producers involves more than 100 beef cattle under various feeding and management systems. The station also researches preconditioning systems for cattle and screening animal health products and programs. The station houses a bull test facility, which can accommodate up to 60 bulls during a performance trial. The sale of bulls from this program has greatly improved the quality of cattle produced in Western North Carolina as well as across the state. Small ruminant animal research began in 1990. This program studies bfeeding and management systems, controlled grazing, and pasture renovation with the goal of developing superior stock for North Carolina’s growing meat goat industry.