Beef Facilities

Soap Creek and Berry Creek Ranches

The Department of Animal Sciences operates two beef ranches near Corvallis. The Soap Creek Ranch (1,880 acres) is eleven miles north of the OSU campus, while the Berry Creek Ranch (1,000 acres) is fifteen miles north of campus. Approximately 65% of these ranches are open grasslands utilized primarily for forage production, and the balance is forested. Just over 100 acres of riparian area at Soap Creek is enrolled in the CREP program of FSA. Although these two units are not adjoining properties, they are operated by the beef manager and undergraduate student employees as one unit. The approximately 100-cow herd is bred at Soap Creek and is bred to calve in the spring. The majority of these cows are crossbred commercial cows; however, there is a registered Black Angus herd of approximately 30 cows within that number. Additionally, stocker cattle from outside producers are grazed at Berry Creek in spring and early summer. The cattle herds and the property itself are used to conduct research (both cattle and forage), classes, student projects, extension activities, and maintain the herds. The ranches include scales, covered processing areas, and hay barns. The Department also has two  facilities on campus only two blocks from Withycombe Hall. The Steer A Year Barn and Hogg Animal Metabolism Barn are utilized very actively for teaching and research. These facility contains a small cattle feedlot, feed storage bins, and numerous research pens. Additionally, there are two covered cattle processing areas and scales at these campus units.

The Harvey Ranch

Located 11 miles west of Paisley, Oregon, a four and one-half hour drive from OSU, this eastern Oregon ranch consists of 1,200 acres and public land permits for spring and summer grazing. The original homestead provided 640 acres of pasture land for sheep, but through the years additional acreage has been added and, since 1917, the ranch has been producing high-quality beef cattle. The ranch was donated to the  OSU Foundation in November, 1987 by Glenn and Mildred Harvey. The ranch is operated and managed by the OSU Foundation. The cow-calf to yearling operation handles about 400 crossbred  cows that had a Hereford and Shorthorn background.  For the past 15 years Red and Black Angus bulls have been used extensively. Cows are on meadowlands that grow native meadow hay that includes timothy, clover, sedges, and rushes during winter and spring. To allow the grass to produce hay, the cattle are moved onto BLM land shortly after branding in early April. They are then rotated onto Forest Service land and range land for the rest of the grazing season. Much of the hill country has been seeded with crested-wheat grass, a hardy graze-resistant plant. Management practices include alternate day/night feeding of grass and alfalfa hay to the yearlings and a thorough record-keeping system. High-quality commercial bulls have been purchased and an artificial insemination program has been initiated for the heifers. Internships are available to students with majors in the College of Agricultural Sciences, providing practical hands-on experience in the beef industry. The ranch affords an excellent opportunity for students from various fields to work together and combine efforts on a variety of projects, and also enables graduate students to conduct agricultural research in watershed management, semi-arid forage production, and various aspects of ranch management. Facilities: 1 large barn, 1 calving shed, 1 shop, corral - three large pens, 3 smaller sorting pens, 1 sorting alley, 1 scale system adjacent to corral, Powder River tub and squeeze chute system, 1 hay shed, 1 300 hd capacity feedlot.

Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center - Burns

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. Ten full-time scientists, two state (OSU) and eight federal (USDA-ARS), are stationed at the Burns location. One EOARC scientist (OSU faculty) is stationed in Corvallis.

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

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 base property was established in 1901, and the Hall Ranch was established in 1939.  Legal source of establishment and current ownership is by Oregon State University.

The main features of the EOARC Union are an office and laboratory facilities which are comprised of barns, buildings, and equipment necessary to run an agricultural experiment station. The laboratory is 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.

Average annual precipitation at the base property is 14 inches with snowfall possible from November through April and averaging 26 inches annually.  Mean temperature ranges from 24°F in January to 84°F in July, but temperatures below 0°F and above 100°F are possible.  At the Hall Ranch, fall and spring are cool and moist, while summers are hot and dry.  Precipitation averages 26 inches, and snow is common and may be continuous in winter months.  Accumulations in excess of 28 inches are possible.  Temperatures range from 0°F in January to over 100°F in July.

The base property was established at an elevation of 2,769 feet.  Soils originate from two dominant parent materials: (1) silt sized volcanic ash originating from Mount Mazama eruptions, and (2) basalt.  The Hall Ranch, ranging from 3,937 feet to 5,905 feet in elevation, has four soil series: the Tolo, Klicker, Hall Ranch, and Chop silt loams.  Pumicite is found in varying amounts in all soils.

Vegetation at the base property is farm ground comprised of cropland for alfalfa and grain production.  Additionally, non-tillable acres are seeded to pasture grasses, primarily tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea).  The Hall Ranch vegetation is primarily 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.