News You Can Use

Fall Calving Season May Yield Higher Returns from Southeastern Beef Producers

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The vast majority of cow-calf producers in Tennessee and the Southeast using a defined calving season have long favored spring calving; however, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have evaluated the risk and returns for a fall calving season, proving once again that timing is everything.

Selecting an optimal calving season involves a complex set of factors including nutritional demands of brood cows, forage availability, calf weaning weights, calving rates, seasonality in cattle, feed prices and labor availability.

Until now, information regarding profitability and risk associated with spring and fall calving seasons in the southeastern United States has been limited. Addressing this limitation, researchers assessed the potential trade-offs in risk and return of using a fall calving season rather than a spring calving season, while considering the seasonality of cattle and feed prices for least-cost feed rations.

Using simulation models based on 19 years of data, UTIA researchers determined that the fall calving season, calving between mid-September and mid-November, was most profitable and had the smallest amount of variation in profits, meaning fall calving was less risky.

This may seem counter-intuitive, as spring calving produces heavier calves at weaning and feed costs are lower. The increased profitability of fall-season calving is due to the higher prices the calves can bring at weaning and an increase in calves weaned per cow.   Information from this research can help cow-calf producers in Tennessee and other southeastern states as they navigate the complex decision of choosing a calving season. Additional information can be found in the associated Extension publication Fall Versus Spring Calving: Considerations and Profitability Comparison.

“While this research indicates possible advantages for fall calving, it is also important to consider the additional costs associated with switching seasons and labor availability in the fall when crops are harvested,” says Chris Boyer, assistant professor for UT’s Agricultural and Resource Economics.

County Extension agents are available to help producers evaluate if fall calving is beneficial for their herds. Fall Versus Spring Calving: Considerations and Profitability Comparison is available at no charge online at the UT Extension publications website Simply search for the publication by title. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.


Chris Boyer, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, (865) 974-7468 or via Email:

Landscape Challenges? Find Savvy Solutions at Summer Celebration.

JACKSON, Tenn. – Is it possible to create a magazine-worthy garden on even the most challenging sites? Speakers at the Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show say, yes! On Thursday, July 13, they’ll provide garden inspiration with an emphasis on solutions.

Hosted by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Summer Celebration runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at UT’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. Visitors can enjoy 17 garden talks, an extensive plant sale and access to the UT Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 18. More program information can be found online at

“In many cases, before you can design your dream lawn or garden you have to overcome a challenge, such as sloping terrain, too much shade or limited space,” says Jason Reeves, curator of the UT Gardens, Jackson. “Many of our garden talks will address these tough sites and help visitors see results in their landscapes.”

Beginning at 9 a.m. visitors can shop hard-to-find ornamentals at the Master Gardener plant sale, or visit the Exhibitor Tent featuring more than 40 local businesses selling plants, lawn equipment, garden art and crafts.

Garden talks begin at 10 a.m. and repeat throughout the day. They’re held both indoors and out. Visitors can hear fresh ideas for dealing with common landscape challenges in lectures like “Garden Big in Small Spaces,” “What Plant Would Grow Here?” and “Turf Made for the Shade.” Talks will also cover topics such as weed management, hydrangea care, wildlife concerns and the devastating crapemyrtle bark scale.

In keeping with the solutions theme, the UT Kitchen Divas will provide tips and tricks for meal prep that save time and money. Their cooking demonstration will be presented hourly beginning at 10 a.m. There is an additional $5 charge to see this very popular presentation. Tickets can be purchased at 9 a.m. outside the demonstration kitchen for morning shows and at 12:15 p.m. for afternoon shows.

A wagon tour of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center rounds out the program. These tours will depart every 30 minutes.

​The West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is located at 605 Airways Boulevard, Jackson, Tennessee. Visit the website or like the UT Gardens, Jackson Facebook page for the most up-to-date information. For large groups of 20 or more, pre-registration is appreciated. Please call (731) 425-4751.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.


Dr. Bob Hayes, Center Director, West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, Phone: (731) 424-1643

Ginger Rowsey, UTIA Marketing and Communications
Phone: (731) 425-4768

UT AgResearch Center Opens August with Annual Field Day

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — The first day of August is the date for this year’s annual Steak and Potatoes Field Day sponsored by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The event will once again showcase the research and outreach activities at UT’s Plateau AgResearch and Education Center.

The free event will be of interest to beef producers and those interested in large- and small-scale fruit and vegetable production. Three talks will also be presented for landowners interested in forest management.

The event begins with registration and a trade show at 8 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the Center’s main unit just west of Crossville. Tours and seminars begin at 8:30 and conclude at 11:30. A sponsored lunch will be provided following the program.

The beef production presentations will address diverse topics including fescue-based management, summer annuals and cost share, drill and seeding recommendations as well as applying fertilizers to pastures using GPS. Stocking densities, herd management through artificial insemination (AI) and health protocols will also be discussed.

Four fruit and vegetable sessions will address variety selection; irrigation, beds and mulching; sprayer calibration; and disease diagnostics. Landowner talks will address firewise management and the choices required for managing for food, beauty or money. A talk on nuisance wildlife will also be presented.

Pesticide re-certification points will be awarded to participants in need of continuing education to maintain their certification.

Contact the Center for more details about the event or to request an accommodation for accessibility by calling (931) 484-0034

The Plateau AgResearch Center is located off on Highway 70N at 320 Experiment Station Road in Crossville. A map to the facility and complete directions are available online at The Plateau AgResearch and Education Center is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.


J. Walt Hitch, Director, UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center
Phone: (931) 484-0034

Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications
Phone: (615) 835-4570