Oregon State University has several beef cattle research facilities distributed across the state. The main objective of these facilities is to produce research-based information targeted to improve beef cattle production in Oregon and throughout the county, which includes animal, range, and forage-related studies. It is important to remember that research-based information is essential for the development of successful extension programs!
These facilities are also highly involved with student education, such as hosting undergraduate classes, providing resources for graduate research, and also hands-on training for student-workers and interns.
If you have questions or want to visit any of these research facilities, please follow the links and contact the managers:
Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center – Burns Station
The Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC) Burns location, cooperatively run by Oregon State University and USDA-Agricultural Research Service, is composed of both state and federal lands. Eleven full-time scientists, three state (OSU) and eight federal (USDA-ARS), are stationed at the Burns location.
Main offices and laboratory facilities are located on 640 acres of state land, locally known as Section 5, situated about 5 miles south of Burns on Hwy 205. Section 5 is also the location where most of our meadowland ecology and management research takes place, and also where all the hay needed to support our livestock during winter is produced.
The Northern Great Basin Experimental Range (NGBER) is our rangeland property located on Hwy 20 about 35 miles west of Burns. The NGBER is federally administered and encompasses over 16,000 acres. It supports a variety of plant communities dominated by western juniper, three subspecies of big sagebrush, two species of low sagebrush, and many of the grasses and forbs common to Intermountain and northern Great Basin rangelands. Improved pastures of crested wheatgrass are also present. We have exclosures at NGBER which were established in 1936, and have been left untreated since that time. They provide a significant historical resource demonstrating successional changes over more than 50 years. Recently, rainout shelters were built so that scientists can investigate the effects of altered precipitation patterns on native plants.
The EOARC cattle herd is composed by approximately 250 spring-caving brood cows. The majority of the calf crop is weaned at 6 months of age and sent to commercial feedyards for growing and finishing. Every year, 50 heifers are kept and raised as replacements. Cattle is maintained at Section 5 during winter and spring, and moved to the NGBER rangelands for summer and fall grazing.
Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center – Union Station
The Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC) Union location, is divided into the “Base property”, which consists of 600 acres of farm ground in Union, OR, and “The Hall Ranch”, which is approximately 2,000 acres of forested land located 12 miles southeast of Union on Hwy 203.
The main features of the EOARC Union are:
Facilities and accommodations:
Office and laboratory facilities; barns, buildings, and equipment necessary to run an agricultural experiment station. Laboratory equipped to run basic nutritional analyses and micro-histological analysis. Areas are available for field trip camping and limited housing is available for graduate students.
Base property – 1901.
Hall Ranch – 1939.
Legal source of establishment and current ownership: Oregon State University, Corvallis.
Base Property – Annual precipitation averages 14 inches. Snowfall is possible from November through April, and averages 26 inches annually. Mean temperatures range from 24 F (January) to 84 F (July), but temperatures below 0 F or exceeding 100 F are possible.
Hall Ranch – Fall and spring are cool and moist, while summers are hot and dry. Precipitation averages 26 inches. Snow is common and may be continuous in winter months. Accumulations in excess of 28 inches are possible. Temperatures range from 0 F (January) to 100 F (July).
Base property – Elevation is 2,769 feet. Soils originate from two dominant parent materials: (1) silt sized volcanic ash originating from Mount Mazama eruptions, and (2) basalt.
Hall Ranch – Elevation ranges from 3,937 to 5,905 feet. Four soil series are found: the Tolo, Klicker, Hall Ranch, and Chop silt loams. Pumicite is found in varying amounts in all soils.
Base property – Farm ground comprised of cropland for alfalfa and grain production. Additionally, non-tillable acres are seeded to pasture grasses, primarily tall fescue(Festuca arundinacea).
Hall Ranch – P rimarily forest land suitable for livestock grazing. Vegetation groups are grand fir (Abies grandis) forest on the north slopes, mixed conifer forest, wet meadow, and riparian. Dominant plant species are grand fir, Douglas-fir(Pseudotsuga menziesii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), pine grass (Calamagrostis rubescens), elk sedge (Carex geyeri), and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). Portions of the Hall Ranch have been clearcut and seeded to orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata), timothy (Phleum pratense), blue wildrye(Elymus glaucus), smooth brome (Bromus inermis), and white dutch clover(Trifolium repens).
Cattle are owned by Oregon State University. The cattle herd has 200 cows, 20-50 replacement heifers, and 80 steers kept to long yearlings. Cattle are maintained on the base property from mid-October to mid-June. Hay is fed from December 15 to May 15. Cattle are grazed on the Hall Ranch and on the US Forest Service Starkey Experimental Forest the remainder of the year.
Soap & Berry Creek Ranches
The Department of Animal Sciences operates two beef ranches near Corvallis. The Soap Creek Ranch (1,880 acres) is 11 miles north of the OSU campus while the Berry Creek Ranch (1,000 acres) is 15 miles north of campus. Approximately 65% of these ranches are open grasslands utilized primarily for forage production and the balance is forested. Among many other uses, these units provide the opportunity for forage utilization, sustainable use, and riparian grazing research. Although these two units are not adjoining properties, they are operated by the beef manager and undergraduate student employees as one unit.
Each ranch has multiple pastures and separate facilities utilized for research, student projects, classes, and general maintenance of the beef herds. Facilities include scales, covered processing areas, and hay barns. Two separate herds are currently maintained, approximately 100 cows bred to calve in the spring and an equal number bred to calve in the fall. The majority of these cows are crossbred commercial cows, however, a purebred Red Angus herd (15 cows) is maintained within the Fall calving group and a Registered Black Angus (25 cows) herd is maintained within the Spring calving group. Additionally, stocker cattle from the Corvallis herds and other OSU beef ranches in the state are grazed on these units in spring and early summer. All cattle herds are used to conduct research, classes, student projects and extension activities.
Phone: (541) 737-1890