Campus Community Health • HEERF I, II & III

School of Agriculture

Welcome to Tech Farm!

Agriculture student in the Shipley Farm fields monitoring cows.

At Tech Farm, Tennessee Tech School of Agriculture students get hands-on experience working, learning and doing research. The farm is a productive operation with cattle, pigs, and sheep. Students are involved and check on the animals daily. Hay is produced for the cattle and sheep.  

Beef Cattle

There are approximately 100 Simmental and SimAngus cows at Tech. Simmental have an excellent reputation for growth, muscle and fertility. Crossing Simmental with Angus produces highly desirable females as well as feeder calves that deliver in post-weaning performance and carcass merit. 

The females are mated to profit-oriented sires that rank in the top 20% for the All-Purpose Index. API is a single number that ranks animals for their suitability to producers who retain their own replacements. This index rewards cattle that are strong for calving ease, stayability and carcass merit. Docility is a priority. The result is moderate sized, functional cattle that are user-friendly. While most of the herd is black hided, there are some very special red-hided cattle offered each year.

All females at Tech are fall calving. The females are synchronized and mated via AI. Then they are exposed to both purchased and home-raised bulls. 

Most of the bulls and females are marketed on the first Saturday of December at the Hyder-Burks Sales Arena. 

Students gain valuable hands-on experience in stockmanship, management and data collection. The cattle are used in many classes with students operating the cattle chute, collecting weights and administering the vaccines. The large number of bulls and heifers provide excellent classes for Livestock Evaluation.

Sheep

Tech has a long history with sheep. By the early 2000’s, the flock was mostly wool show sheep. However, hair sheep were growing in popularity as they generally have better parasite resistance and did not have to be sheared. The decision was made to sell the wool sheep and buy hair sheep. 

The purchase of 25 commercial Dorper ewes in the fall of 2012 was the foundation of the flock we have today. Over the years we have made strategic purchases of purebred rams and ewes to add to the flock. We currently keep 30 registered Dorper ewes at the farm. These ewes lamb 3 times in 2 years.

Selection of rams emphasizes twinning, conformation, quality feet, and shedding ability. Deworming is kept to a minimum in this pasture-based operation.  

A few of the Dorpers are shown and sold at the Southern States Dorper Show and Sale held at Hyder-Burks in July. 

Each year the Livestock Management class washes, clips and halter breaks lambs for show. The sheep are used in several other classes as well. 

Pigs

Historically, Cookeville was the feeder pig capital of Tennessee. Tech built a finishing floor (1975) and farrowing house (1985) and currently keeps 6-8 crossbred sows in production. Although these facilities are old, they still function to provide the pigs necessary for classes and hands-on experience. 

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College of Agriculture and Human Ecology