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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Loerch Receives 2010 OARDC Senior Faculty Research Award: 'Immediate Impact' on Beef Cited

April 23, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio — Ohio State University scientist Steve Loerch, whose findings help livestock farmers improve both the health of their animals and their profits, yesterday (4/22) received the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's (OARDC) 2010 Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award.


The award honors outstanding achievements by an OARDC faculty member at the rank of professor.

Loerch, of the Department of Animal Sciences, is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on beef cattle nutrition and management strategies.

“His applied approach to problem solving has allowed the direct adoption of research results by producers in the United States and many other countries,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said.

“His research seeks to have immediate impact on the efficiency and profitability of beef production and on the quality and nutritional characteristics of beef.”

While stressors to newly weaned calves cost the U.S. beef industry more than $750 million a year, Loerch and colleagues have found new ways to reduce the effects of those stressors, such as increasing the diet density of key nutrients to improve performance and reduce respiratory disease — discoveries that the industry has widely adopted.

Loerch’s Prescription Intake Project has helped develop better feed-intake manipulation and feed-bunk management, with science determining how much beef cattle are fed each day rather than the traditional approach of letting the animals decide. The strategy, which improves efficiency and profitability, has been adopted throughout the Corn Belt, High Plains, Canada and Argentina.

Further work involves cutting winter-feeding costs, which represent more than half the beef and sheep industries’ total production costs. Loerch has shown, for example, that pregnant beef cows and sheep can be limit-fed corn or distillers grains instead of hay, a finding that in Ohio alone can save farmers $20 million.

In the past 10 years, he has received $2.8 million in grants, including almost $2 million in three highly competitive U.S. Department of Agriculture grant programs just last year.

He has published 100 scientific papers, advised 26 master’s-degree and doctoral students, and in 2001 became the first Ohio State faculty member to receive the American Association of Animal Sciences’ Ruminant Nutrition Research Award. He is a founding member of Ohio State’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The award carries with it a plaque, $1,000 to Loerch plus $3,000 to the operating account of his research program. It was presented in a ceremony during OARDC’s 2010 Annual Research Conference in Wooster.

OARDC scientists Charles Goebel (chair), David Francis, Andy Michel, Linda Saif, Guo-Liang Wang and Bill Weiss formed the selection committee.

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agbioscience research center in the United States.

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Kurt Knebusch
Steve Slack