Research Stations - Upper Piedmont Research Station
The UPRS is conducting projects on beef cattle production and efficiency of growth using a historic herd of Black Angus cattle. The efficiency studies are funded by the American Angus Association and are collecting data to identify cow families that produce feed efficient progeny. The beef cattle research efforts should lead to the discovery of a gene or genes responsible for efficient feed conversion in beef cattle. Understanding these genes could decrease the cost of beef production and revolutionize the beef cattle industry.
The UPRS was the first station to work on air-cured tobacco that is used for smokeless tobacco products. The tobacco company, Swedish Match, funded the project and developed technology for mechanically curing the tobacco. The station has centered its tobacco efforts to understanding the principles of burley tobacco production. Since the tobacco buy out the research community believes that burley tobacco will become a major crop in the piedmont of NC. The efforts in burley tobacco production will eventually result in major mechanization of the burley industry which should allow more production and productivity for the industry.
The wine grape industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural industries in NC and the UPRS has the largest research vineyard in the state. There are over 45 different varieties of vinifera grapes in the vineyard, that is the largest collection of wine grape varieties that exists in the state. Enhanced studies with wine grapes in the piedmont will lead to the discovery of new and innovative varieties of wine grapes that are disease and insect resistant and yield a good quality grape.
Research efforts include, but are not limited to, honey bee production, strawberries, brambles, paulownia trees, conservation notill production practices and the use of canola for biofuel production. Over 56 varieties of canola are being evaluated for suitability in the piedmont for production of biodiesel.