The Eastern Agricultural Research Station was established in 1965 through the purchase of a 728-acre block of hilly land near Belle Valley in Noble County. This land, along with 40 acres acquired later on, is known as Unit I. The Station's size was significantly increased in 1966, when the Union Carbide Corporation and the Baker-Noon Coal Company donated an additional 1,325 acres that had been extensively strip-mined for coal. This area is known as Unit II and was the subject of land reclamation experiments through the 1990s.
Eastern Ohio is particularly well suited to the production of forage grasses and legumes, spurring the development of numerous livestock operations in the region. As a result, Appalachian counties produce the bulk of Ohio's beef cattle and have become the center of Ohio's sheep industry. These forage and livestock industries are supported by numerous research projects and trials conducted year-round at the Eastern Agricultural Station, which also works to optimize the region's vast natural resources and to ensure the sustainability of both agriculture and the environment. Research at the Station focuses on management systems that address all aspects involved in successfully running a complete livestock operation.
Effective methods to synchronize estrus (or heat) cycles in beef cattle have been developed and tested at Eastern. Studies show that using artificial insemination together with estrus-control practices can significantly enhance the breeding efficiency of beef cattle, saving producers time and money. The Station's reproductive management studies have helped set estrus-synchronization standards used by industry in Ohio, throughout the United States, and around the world.
Forage Production and Alternative Feeds
Production of quality forages at low costs is a key factor in the profitability of livestock enterprises. Scientists evaluate management schemes that extend the fall grazing season, reducing dependence on mechanically harvested and stored forage and lowering winter feed costs. Researchers are also evaluating alternative feeds, such as distiller's grain (a byproduct of the ethanol industry). Studies conducted at Eastern have shown that distiller's grains can make up 70-80 percent of the diets of beef cows and sheep, thanks to a nutrition strategy developed at Ohio State.
Researchers and personnel at the Station work to match feed resources to beef cow milk production, which helps optimize calf nutrition, health, and development while making beef operations more efficient. Other studies have identified forage mineral deficiencies or overabundance, leading to recommendations for producers and feed companies on reformulation of beef cattle mineral supplements. This work has helped provide better nutrition to cows and has saved farmers money.
Animal Welfare and Safe Handling
Work conducted at eastern over the years has led to improved management and handling practices intended to maintain cattle in minimal-stress environments. Ohio State animal scientists have developed a curriculum to help reduce injury to both beef cattle and the people who work with them. This animal behavior and facility-design curriculum- which includes corral kits developed at Eastern- has been used in various states throughout the country.
The research conducted at Eastern is constantly shared with farmers and transferred to the livestock industry. In conjunction with OSU Extension specialists, Station personnel organize field days and workshops for producers and collaborate with commodity groups and local agencies such as the Soil and Water Conservation District. Eastern is also involved in youth outreach programs with local schools and the Head Start program.
16870 Bond Ridge Rd
Caldwell, OH 43724
- Wayne D. Shriver - Manager
- Chris Alan Clark - Manager, Animal Herds
- Kevin Stottsberry - Manager, Animal Herds
- Dalton Huhn - Manager, Animal Herds
- Edwin Pickenpaugh - Agricultural Technician
- David Wickander - Research Assistant
- Kevin VanFossen - Research Assistant