Ron Gill gives cattle demonstration at Ag in the Foothills event

Gill ​demonstrates stockmanship and explains animal psychology. Image courtesy of UTIA. 

In early October, farmers and producers gathered at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (ETREC) for Ag in the Foothills. Ag in the Foothills focused on beef, forage, and small acreages, among others, but the highlight seminar was a live cattle handling demonstration.

Attendees were instructed in how to use the psychology and behavior of animals to help accomplish their goals by Ron Gill, Professor and Extension Livestock Specialist from Texas A&M University. Using a series of pens and chutes, Gill demonstrated moving a group of Angus heifers from one area to another by applying spatial “pressure.” Dr. Curtis Absher, University of Kentucky retired beef cattle specialist, commented, “Maybe the best cattle moving demo I’ve ever seen – and Gill does an excellent job of explaining cow psychology.”

According to Gill, spatial balance and pressure can do the hard work for you when it comes to getting cattle to do what you want them to do. Whether you need to draw out a particular animal from the group or move the entire group to another pen, it might be as easy as taking a few steps in one direction or another.  Gill gives direction about animal psychology and thinking throughout the presentation, equipping cattle farmers to evaluate exactly what physical steps to take in a situation in order to move their animals to the best advantage with a low-stress approach.

The entire live animal presentation was recorded on Facebook by Shannon Russell, a senior in the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources from Clinton, TN, and is available for public viewing. To access the hour-long video, click here. A Facebook account is not necessary to view the video. 

The East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is one of 10 research facilities operated by UT AgResearch as part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.



Mark Campbell, UT ETREC, 865-974-7201,

Adam Hopkins, UT Extension, 865-397-2969,​

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