The Western Agricultural Research Station was established in 1958 on 428 acres north of South Charleston in Clark County. It houses one of the world's oldest no-till experimental plots, started by Ohio State scientists in the early 1960s. The renovated barns that used to house the Station were replaced with new facilities in 2008. Included are offices, a workshop, a conference room, and seed and machinery storage areas.
The western Agricultural Research Station maintains intensive research programs that address the profitability and sustainability of western Ohio's most important agricultural industries: agronomic crops (corn, soybeans, and wheat among them); specialty crops (such as pumpkins and sweet corn); and swine production. Alfalfa and forage grasses are also studied as part of the 160 research projects conducted at the Station every year. Additionally, the Western Station is home to one-of-a-kind studies on no-till crop production, carbon sequestration in no-till farmland, and bio-energy crops.
Improved Crop and Forage Production
Different varieties of corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, pumpkins, alfalfa, and forage grasses are evaluated at the Station for their yield, disease resistance, and other traits that are important to growers, under various crop rotation and tillage methods.
With rising fertilizer prices being a top concern of farmers, CFAES researchers work with Station personnel to study nutrient management strategies in corn, soybeans, and wheat, trying to determine which fertilizer rates and crop growth stages will give growers the most economic return per acre.
The Western Station also participates in research aimed at identifying genetic traits in soybeans that can be used for the development of novel industrial products, in collaboration with the university's Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC).
Weed, Insect, and Disease Management
Different classes of fungicides are applied to corn and soybeans at different growth stages to determine the best integrated pest management strategy and rate disease control- key information that helps growers apply fungicides only when needed to save on input costs and decrease chemical use.
Current studies also include management of herbicide-resistant weeds, integration of herbicide-tolerant crops, and the continued evaluation of novel herbicide chemistry. Multi-state research programs seek to determine the critical period of weed control, cumulative stress on non-herbicide tolerant crops, and herbicide application timing in herbicide-tolerant crops.
Bt corn hybrids, commercially available insecticides, and insecticide seed treatments are also evaluated to reduce insect damage in field corn. Alfalfa varieties with potato leafhopper resistance are also being tested at Western.
Soils and the Environment
The Western Agricultural Research Station is part of a network of plots where Ohio State scientists pioneered no-till research almost half a century ago. Today, Ohio leads Midwest in no-till adoption with 3.7 million acres, or roughly 40 percent of all cropland, in no-till production. No-till helps reduce farming costs, prevent soil erosion, improve soil quality and organic matter, and capture global-warming-causing carbon.
The Station is instrumental to ongoing, internationally recognized studies on soil carbon sequestration. Bio-energy crops, including switchgrass, are also being evaluated at Western.
The station is important to the productivity, profitability, and consumer acceptance of Ohio's pork industry. Research focuses on the genetic improvement of a swine for maternal, performance, carcass, and pork-quality traits. Current studies utilize purebred Landrace and Berkshire pigs as models for understanding genetic variations as they relate to economically important traits.
Additional research deals with animal welfare assessment, swine health, antimicrobial resistance, and alternative production options.
7721 S Charleston Pike
S Charleston, OH 45368
- Joe Davlin - Manager
- Kelly R Black - Manager, Animal Herd
- Lane Brobst - Research Assistant
- Nick Yirak - Research Assistant
- Zachary Workman - Research Assistant 2
- Logan Coppock - Research Aide