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Acid Rinse - Part of the equipment cleaning process for stainless steel and rubber parts, removes fat, protein and minerals and also reduces bacteria.

Acre - The unit of measure most typically used to describe land area in the United States. An acre is equivalent to 43,560 square feet and is about 9/10 the size of a football field.

Acre-Inch - A volume measurement typically associated with irrigation operations on cropland. An acre-inch is equivalent to 27,154 gallons. When an inch of water is applied to cropland via irrigation, each acre receives 27,154 gallons. (Alternatively, a measure of the volume of water applied to the soil/growing crop using irrigation - approximately equivalent to 27,154 gallons.)

Acute - Used to describe disease where symptoms are readily evident. Treatment is generally required.

Aerobic - Microorganisms that require free oxygen to biodegrade organic matter.

Agribusiness - An enterprise that derives a significant portion of its revenues from sales of agricultural products or sales to agricultural producers.

Alley - A walking area for cattle within a barn such as a loafing alley, feeding alley or cross alley (walkway) from a barn to the milking parlor.

Alley Scraper - A "V" shaped mechanical blade that is dragged over an alley by chain or cable to pull manure to collection channel at the end of the alley (or possibly the center of the barn). The blade then collapses and is drawn back to the opposite end of the alley.

All-in, All-out production - A production system whereby animals are moved into and out of facilities in distinct groups. By preventing the commingling of groups, the hope is to reduce the spread of disease. Facilities are normally cleaned and disinfected thoroughly between groups of animals

Anaerobic - Microorganisms that biodegrade organic matter without free oxygen.

Anhydrous Ammonia - A fertilizer used to provide nitrogen for crop production. The product, stored under high pressure as a liquid, changes state during application and is injected into soil as a gas. It is popular due to the fact that it is composed of 82 percent nitrogen compared to other nitrogen fertilizers such as urea that contain only 46% nitrogen and ammonium nitrate with 30-33% nitrogen content.

Antibiotic - A metabolic product of one microorganism or a chemical that in low concentrations is detrimental to activities of specific other microorganisms. Examples include penicillin, tetracycline, and streptomycin. Not effective against viruses. A drug that kills microorganisms that cause mastitis or other infectious disease.

Antibiotic Residues - The presence of traces of antibiotics or their derivatives in milk or meat.

Antibiotic Test Kit - Test kit for use on the farm to detect residues of antibiotics in milk before the milk is picked up for delivery to the plant.

Artificial Insemination (AI) - Placing semen into the female reproductive tract (usually the cervix or uterus) by means other than natural service.

Automatic Detacher or Automatic Take-off - A device for sensing the end of milk flow in the milking machine which shuts of the milking vacuum and releases the milking machine from the cow's udder.

Average Daily Gain - Pounds of liveweight gained per day.

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Backgrounding - Growing program for feeder cattle from the time calves are weaned until they are on a finishing ration in the feedlot. Backgrounding is the management process of feeding the stocker animal.

Barn CleanerBarn Cleaner - Usually a chain linked system of paddles that moved manure from gutters, up a chute, into a waiting manure spreader. Most often seen in tie-stall or stanchion barns.

Barrow-A neutered male is a barrow and the adult male is a boar.

Drive-By Free Stall BarnsBedded Pack - Open housing in a barn that is commonly used in conjunction with an outside feeding area.

Bedding - Material used to absorb moisture and provide cushion. It is easily cleaned to provide a clean, dry surface and reduce the incidence of mastitis. Possible bedding materials include: straw, sawdust, wood chips, sand, ground limestone, separated manure solids, shredded newspaper, corn stalks, bark, peanut hulls, sunflower hulls and rice hulls.

Beef - Meat from cattle (bovine species) other than calves. Meat from calves is called veal.

Biosecurity - Any of a broad range of practices enforced at a dairy farm to prevent transmittal of pathogens from other sources by feed, cattle, people, or other animals. System of procedures and other means to reduce or eliminate exposure of poultry flocks to any type of infectious agent, whether it be viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic in nature.

For more information on specifics of biosecurity systems, please visit the following links. Exit EPA

Black-out House - Houses that do not allow any natural light into the building.

Blind Quarter - A quarter of an udder that does not secrete milk or one that has an obstruction in the teat that prevents the removal of milk. A nonfunctional mammary gland.

Boar - A term for a male domestic swine suitable for breeding.

Boot - The time when the head is enclosed by the sheath of the uppermost leaf.

Bovine - Refers to a general family grouping of cattle.

Breed - Cattle of common origin and having characteristics that distinguish them from other groups within the same species.

Breeder - A bird that is utilized to produce offspring.

Brisket Board - A raised part of the freestall platform about 6.5 feet in front of rear of the stall to keep cows positioned properly while lying. Usually made of wood or plastic, but occasionally concrete.

Broken Udder - Term used to describe an udder that is loosely attached or pendulous.

Broiler - Chicken, sometimes called fryers, reared primarily for meat production. Age to market weight is typically 6 to 8 weeks (5 to 8 pounds), and are the epitome of efficient meat production.

Brooding - Early period of growth when supplemental heat must be provided, due to the birds inability to generate enough body heat.

Bt Corn - Field corn that has received a gene transferred from a naturally-occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis. The gene causes the corn plant to produce one of several insecticidal compounds commonly called Bt toxins. The toxins affect the midgut of particular groups of insects such as European corn borer that can be harmful to corn.

Bucket Milking System - A system in which the milk coming from the cow is drawn into a bucket or pail and manually transferred to a collection area or the milk house.

Bull - A sexually mature, uncastrated bovine male.

Bullock - Young bull, typically less than 20 months of age.

Bulk Tank - A refrigerated, stainless steel vessel in which milk is cooled quickly to 2 to 4 C (35 - 39 F) and stored until collected by a bulk tank truck for shipping to the milk plant.

Feed Bunk
Feed Bunk
Bunk - A feed trough or feeding station for cattle.

Bunker Silo- A horizontal silo, usually from 8 to 20 feet deep, holds compacted silage. The sides are normally constructed of concrete tilt-up concrete panel construction. Trench silos are built into the ground, normally in hillsides and have earthen sides that contain the silos.

Bunker Silo Bunker Silo
Bunker Silos


Bushel - A unit of dry volume typically used to quantify crop yields. One bushel is equivalent to 32 quarts or 2,150.42 cubic inches. A bushel is often used to represent the weight of a particular crop; for example, one bushel of No. 2 yellow shelled corn at 15.5% moisture content weighs 56 lb.

Byproduct - Product of considerably less value than the major product. For example, the hide and offal are by-products while beef is the major product.

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Calf - A young male or female bovine under 1 year of age. Usually referred to as calves until reaching sexual maturity.

Calve - Giving birth to a calf. Same as parturition.

Cake Manure - Surface manure on top of litter, typically only a few inches deep.

Cannula - A special tube designed for placing drugs into the udder through the teat end and streak canal.

Cash Crop - An agricultural crop grown to provide revenue from an off-farm source.

Center Pivot - A type of irrigation system that consists of a wheel-driven frame that supports a series of sprinkler nozzles. The frame rotates about a central point to distribute water over a large circular area.

Chalk Sticks - Used to mark treated, fresh, or special-needs cows.

Channel Erosion - Erosion in channels is mostly caused by downward scour due to flow shear stress. Side wall sluffing can also occur during widening of the channel caused by large flows.

Cheese Curd - The clumps of casein and other milk components that are formed during the cheese making process. These curds are then pressed into blocks or barrels for proper aging and curing of the cheese.

Churning - The process of stirring and agitating cream in the process of making butter. Churning causes the fat globules in cream to clump together and separate from the liquid.

Chronic - Used to describe recurring symptoms or disease.

Clinical - Symptoms are present, supportive therapy or treatment is necessary.

Colostrum - First milk following calving. High in fat, protein, and immunoglobulins that may be directly absorbed by the newborn calf in its first 24 hours of life.

Commodity Barn
Commodity Barn
Commodity Storage - Usually a steel framed shed that provides storage for commodity feeds, such as cottonseed, brewers grains, chopped hay, etc.

Composting Pad - A concrete or hard packed surface that provides an area on which manure and discarded feed may be composted with ready access to aerate the composting materials.

Concentrates - High energy or high protein feeds consisting primarily of the seed of the plant, but with out stems and leaves.

Conformation - The body form or physical traits of an animal or parts of the animal in the case of udder conformation.

Conservation Tillage - Any tillage and planting system that covers 30 percent or more of the soil surface with crop residue, after planting, to reduce soil erosion by water. Where soil erosion by wind is the primary concern, any system that maintains at least 1,000 pounds per acre of flat, small grain residue equivalent on the surface throughout the critical wind erosion period.

Contagious - Disease that can be passed from one bird or animal to another through a number of possible ways.

Conventional Tillage - Full width tillage that disturbs the entire soil surface and is performed prior to and/or during planting. There is less than 15 percent residue cover after planting, or less than 500 pounds per acre of small grain residue equivalent throughout the critical wind erosion period. Generally involves plowing or intensive (numerous) tillage trips. Weed control is accomplished with crop protection products and/or row cultivation.

Cooling - Using ventilation to prevent birds or animals from becoming too hot.

Corn Belt - The area of the United States where corn is a principal cash crop, including Iowa, Indiana, most of Illinois, and parts of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Cow - A mature female bovine. Usually referring to any dairy females that have born a calf. Some may consider females having given birth only once as "first-calf heifers" until they have a second calf.

Cow-Calf Operation - Management unit that maintains a breeding herd and produces weaned calves.

Cow Trainer - A tin or wire structure supported a few inches above a cow to prevent her from soiling the platform of her stall by administering a gentle electric shock if she arches her back to urinate or defecate while too far forward in the stall.

Coverall BarnCoverall - A brand name, but commonly referring to any of a group of hoop type barns with opaque or mylar fabric covers over a tubular steel frame.

Crate - An elevated stall for a calf in an indoor facility.

Indoor Crates
Indoor Crates

Crowd Gate - A motorized or manual gate at the end of the holding pen that may be moved forward to guide cows toward the entrance to the milking parlor.

Cull - To remove a cow from the herd. Culling reasons in clued voluntary culling of cows for low milk production, or involuntary culling of cows for reasons of health or injury.

Cull Cow - A cow having been identified to be removed from the herd or having recently left.

Culture - In microbiology, a population of microorganisms in a growth medium or the act of growing bacteria in media for identification. A pure culture contains only organisms that initially arose from a single cell. Cultures are used in manufacturing cultured dairy products and most cheeses.

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Dairy Cow - A bovine from which milk production is intended for human consumption, or is kept for raising replacement dairy heifers.

Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) - A specific testing plan which requires supervision and compliance with all official DHI rules.

Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) - An organization with programs and objectives intended to improve the production and profitability of dairy farming. Aids farmers in keeping milk production and management records.

Dairy Herd Improvement Registry (DHIR) - A modification of the DHIA program to make milk production records acceptable by the specific dairy breed associations.

DHI Records - Generic term used to refer to records computed by the Dairy Record Processing Centers.

DHI Supervisor - An officially trained and DHIA-certified employee qualified to collect milk samples and record milk weights on the farm for all official types of testing plans.

Dairy Steer - A neutered male of any of the dairy cattle breeds. The "dairy steers" are raised for meat production and usually managed like beef cattle.

Dam - Mother or female parent in a pedigree, normally applies to cattle.

Denitrification - The biochemical reduction of nitrate or nitrite to gaseous nitrogen, either as molecular nitrogen or as an oxide of nitrogen.

Depression - A low area in a field where surface drainage away from the area does not occur.

Direct Microscopic Somatic Cell Count (DMSCC) - Microscopic count of the actual number of somatic cells in milk. This system is used to check and verify electronic cell count machines used in DHI laboratories.

Dock - To remove a cow's tail. This practice may keep cows udders cleaner, but may also result in cows being less content, especially in fly season.

Downer Cow - A cow unable to arise due to disease or injury.

Drawbar - A tractor component typically located at the rear and near the ground that permits attachment of implements for pulling or towing.

Drawbar Work - Any operation performed by a tractor that requires force to be exerted by wheels/tracks to propel an implement through or over the soil.

Drilled - Planted with a grain drill. Grain drills differ from row crop planters in that they do not meter individual seeds, but drop small groups of seed in a process referred to as bulk metering. Drills plant crops in closely spaced rows (typically seven to 10 inches on center) that will not be mechanically cultivated.

Dry Cow - A cow that is not lactating or secreting milk after it has completed a lactation period following calving.

Dry Lot - An open lot that may be covered with concrete, but that has no vegetative cover. Generally used as exercise areas in most of US, but may be used as primary cow housing in the more arid climates.

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Edema - The presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces of the body, as in a swelling of mammary glands commonly accompanying the initiation of the birthing process in many farm animals.

Electronic Feeders - Stations in which cows are fed specified amounts of feed by a computer that recognizes their unique electronic identification transponders.

Ensiling - The process of creating silage via anaerobic fermentation.

Environmental - Derived from the animal's environment, bedding, housing, etc.

Environmental Control - Temperature and humidity control in poultry and animal production barns.

Equipment Sanitization - The removal of microorganisms and fat, protein, and mineral residues in milking equipment through use of water, heat, and chemicals.

Estrous - See Heat

Eutrophication - The process by which lakes and streams are enriched by nutrients (usually phosphorus and nitrogen) which leads to excessive plant growth.

Extra-Label Drug Use - An antibiotic or other chemical used on the advice of a veterinarian in a dosage, route of administration, for a different disease or in some other manner not included on the approved printed package label.

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Fallow - Plowed, but left unseeded.

Farrowing - The period from birth to weaning.

Farrow to Finish Operation - A production system that contains all production phases, from breeding to gestation to farrowing to nursery to grow-finishing to market.

Fed Cattle - Steers and heifers that have been fed concentrates, usually for 90-120 days in a feedlot.

Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) - It specifies the levels of pesticides, chemicals, and naturally occurring poisonous substances in food products. It also regulates the safety of cosmetic products. (Federal Regulations of Chemicals in the Environment) Exit EPA

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act - The objective of FIFRA is to provide federal control of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides used in the United States must be registered (licensed) by EPA. Registration assures that pesticides will be properly labeled and that, if used in accordance with specifications, they will not cause unreasonable harm to the environment. Use of each registered pesticide must be consistent with use directions contained on the label or labeling. (More information from the Ag Center)


  1. Cattle that need further feeding prior to slaughter.
  2. Producer who feeds cattle.

Feeder Pig Operation - Breeder sells pigs out of the nursery phase to a finishing operation to grow them out to market weight.

Feedlot - Enterprise in which cattle are fed grain and other concentrates for usually 90-120 days. Feedlots range in size from less than 100-head capacity to many thousands.

Feed Grain - Any of a number of grains used for livestock or poultry feed. Corn and sorghum are feed grains.

Fibrosis (fibrotic) - Of a condition marked by the presence of interstitial fibrous tissue, especially in the mammary gland resulting from mastitis.

Finished Cattle - Fed cattle whose time in the feedlot is completed and are now ready for slaughter.

Finisher Pig - Production phase between the nursery and market.

Finishing Operation - The operation purchases feeder pigs from a feeder pig operation and feeds them to market weight at 240 to 260 lbs. Historically, producers purchased feeder pigs at auctions, but because of disease transmission concerns, most operations now bypass auctions and buy all of their animals from the same supplier.

Flat Barn - An area for milking cattle where the person milking is on the same level as the cow. May be used with a pipeline or bucket milking system. Generally the same area is used for cow housing.

Flowering - This is the stage when the crop starts flowering. In corn, tassel emergence and pollen shedding takes place at this stage. Two to three days after pollen shedding, silk emergence takes place. At this stage, typically occurs 51-56 days after planting the corn seed, pollination between silks (female) and tassels (male) takes place.

Flush System - A manure removal system in which an area is cleaned by high volumes of fresh water, or gray water that is recycled from a manure pit or lagoon.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - An agency of the U.S. Government responsible for the safety of the human food supply.

Footbath - A long shallow tub or depression in the concrete where cows walk through a mild solution (usually including copper sulfate or formalin) to promote foot health. Usually located along an alley where cows return from the milking parlor.

Forage - Feedstuffs composed primarily of the whole plant, including stems and leaves that are utilized by cattle.

Forage Crop - Annual or perennial crops grown primarily to provide feed for livestock. During harvesting operations, most of the aboveground portion of the plant is removed from the field and processed for later feeding.

Forestripping - Expressing streams of milk from the teat prior to machine milking to determine visual quality and to stimulate "milk letdown."

Forequarters - The two front quarters of a cow. Also called the fore udder.

Drive-Through Free Stall Barns
Source: Stacy Nichols, Land O'Lakes
Drive-through Freestall Barn
Freestalls - Resting cubicles or "beds" in which dairy cows are free to enter and leave, as opposed to being confined in stanchions or pens.

Fresh Cow - A cow that has recently given birth to a calf.

Fresh Milk - Dairy products having original qualities unimpaired and those recently produced or processed.

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Garget - A common term for an inflammation of the udder of the cow or the resulting abnormal milk. More accurately referred to as mastitis.

Genetically-Modified Organism (GMO) - A term that refers to plants that have had genes implanted to improve their performance by making them resistant to certain pesticides, diseases, or insects.

Germicidal - A substance that has the ability to kill germs.

Gestation - The period in a female's life from conception to birth.

Gilt -In swine, a female is called a gilt until she has borne a litter, after which she is called a sow.

Gray Water - Water that is considered waste and not to be used for cleaning milking systems. Usually including recycled water from a lagoon or milk house waste. Even water only used to cool milk in a plate cooler is considered gray water, though it is often fed to cows to reduce total usage.

Grazing - Any vegetated land that is grazed or that has the potential to be grazed by animals. (More information from the Forage Information System) Exit EPA

Greenhouse BarnGreenhouse Barn - Commonly referring to any of a group of hoop type barns with translucent or plastic covers over a tubular steel frame.

Ground Water - The water under the surface of the earth that is found within the pore spaces and cracks between the particles of soil, sand, gravel and bedrock.

Grooved Concrete - Floor surfaces with grooved patterns cut or depressed into concrete to provide better traction for cattle.

Grow-Finish - The last phase of production before the animals go to market.

Gully Erosion - They are formed when channel development has progressed to the point where the gully is too wide and too deep to be tilled across. These channels carry large amounts of water after rains and deposit eroded material at the foot of the gully. They disfigure landscape and make land unfit for growing crops.

Gutter - A shallow to deep channel located behind cows in tiestall barns capture manure and urine.

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Handlers - Processors or dealers of milk who commonly purchase raw milk and sell pasteurized milk and milk products.

Hand Mating - An individual female that is ready to be bred is exposed to an individual boar in a small pen for a few minutes, under the supervision of the producer.

(Image Source: Genex, CRI)
Hand Milking - The manual milking of an animal as opposed to the use of mechanical milking devices.

Harvestore Silo - A brand of oxygen limiting (air tight) upright silos with bottom unloading.

Hay - Dried feed consisting of the entire plant that can be used a feed for ruminant animals. Alfalfa, clover, grass, and oat hay are used in dairy rations.

Heading - The stage in which the head pushes its way through the flag leaf collar.

Headlocks - Self-locking stanchions along a feed alley in which cows voluntarily enter the head slot when going to eat. All cows may be held until herd health work is completed, and then all cows may be simultaneously released. Headlocks may be adjusted to remain open, allowing cows to come an go at will, when restraining the cows is not necessary.

Heat - Refers to the estrous period for a female of breeding age. In swine, the first estrous normally occurs 3 to 5 days after the pigs are weaned.

Heifer - A bovine female less than three years of age who has not borne a calf. Young cows with their first calves are often called first-calf heifers.

Herd - A group of animals (especially cattle), collectively considered as a unit.

Herringbone Parlor - A milking parlor in which cows stand side-by-side, angled towards the pit. This allows milking from the side of the udder.

Herringbone Parlor
Herringbone Parlor
Images Source: Midwest Plan Service
Herringbone Parlor

Hide - Skins from cattle.

Hog - Generic term, usually applied to growing swine.

Holding Pen - An area in which cows congregate prior to entering a milking parlor to be milked.

Hoop Structure - A low cost, uninsulated and naturally ventilated building used for older swine. The floor is mostly earthen and typically bedded with straw.

Hot Quarter - A quarter of the udder that is infected and may actually feel hard or hot to the touch due to elevated temperatures.

Hutch - An individual housing unit for young calves. Often made of white fiberglass or polyvinyl.

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Immunity - The power an animal has to resist and/or overcome an infection to which most of its species are susceptible. Active immunity is due to the presence of antibodies formed by an animal in response to previous exposure to the disease or through live or modified-live vaccines. Passive immunity is produced by giving the animal preformed or synthetic antibodies as with killed vaccines.

Inflammation - Swelling caused by the accumulation of lymph and blood cells at the site of infection or injury.

Inorganic - Not capable of sustaining life. Often refers to dirt or soil.

Integration - Bringing together of two or more segments of beef productions and processing under one centrally organized unit.

Intramuscular - Injections given in the muscle.

IPM - An integrated approach to controlling plant pests using careful monitoring of pests and weeds. It may include use of natural predators, chemical agents and crop rotations.

Source: Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Glossary of Terms

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Lactate - To secrete or produce milk.

Lagoon - Earthen storage structure with sufficient dilution water added to allow microorganisms to biodegrade and treat organic matter.

Leach - The downward transport of dissolved or suspended minerals, fertilizers, pesticides and other substances by water percolating through the soil.

Leg Bands - Cloth or plastic strips of a bright color used for marking treated cows, fresh cows, or cows needing special handling.

Legume - Any of thousands of plant species that have seed pods that split along both sides when ripe. Some of the more common legumes used for human consumption are beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soybeans. Others, such as clover and alfalfa, are used as animal feed. Legumes have a unique ability to obtain much or all of their nitrogen requirements from symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

Letdown - The process in a cow where physical stimulation causes a release of oxytocin and the contraction of smooth muscles surrounding milk alveoli resulting in fluid pressure within the udder and milk flow.

Limit Feeding - Feeding strategy in which pigs are fed a specific amount of food in a specific time period Vs free access to feed. Limit feeding is common in Europe, but normally only used for gestation animals in the U.S.

Liner - A flexible sleeve in the milking teat cup or rigid-walled liner holder. Responsible for massaging the teat end and intermittently cutting vacuum at the teat end during milking. Also called an inflation.

Liner Slips or Squawks - Slippage of the liner and teat cup during milking. Caused by a sharp change of milking vacuum within the unit or cluster by drawing in air alongside the teat. Generally creates a "squawking" sound.

Liquid Egg - Contents of egg (white, yolk, or both) that have been removed and shipped as a product in bulk.

Litter - The pigs that are born at one time to one sow - normally 8-12 pigs.

Litter - Substance applied to dirt or concrete flooring systems that is absorbent in nature, including: wood shavings, rice hulls, chopped straw, sand, sawdust, oat hulls, and several other materials.

Loose Housing - Facilities that allow cattle access to a large, open bedded area for resting (also known as free housing). Loose housing should provide at least 200 square feet per animal for feeding and resting (freestall housing uses only 90 square feet per animal).

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Karst - Areas with shallow ground water, caverns, and sinkholes.

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Marketing - Increasing awareness of a product by advertising.

Market Weight (Pork) - 240 to 260 lbs.

Mastitis - An inflammation of the mammary gland (or glands), usually caused by bacteria.

Maternity Barn - A special needs facility where cows can be closely monitored during the period immediately before and after they give birth.

Mating - Breeding a sow or gilt after the onset of estrus and before ovulation, may include at least two services by different boars to ensure successful mating.

Rubber MattressesMattress - Bedding material compacted to 3 to 4 inches and sandwiched in a heavyweight polypropolene or other fabric. Possible fillers include: long or chopped straw, poor quality hay, sawdust, shavings, rice hulls and, most commonly, shredded rubber.

Meat - Tissue of the animal body that are used for food.

Mechanical Ventilation - The use of fans, either electric or pneumatic, to ventilate houses.

Milk Handlers - Processors or dealers of milk who commonly purchase raw milk and sell pasteurized milk and milk products.

Milk House - The area near a milking parlor where the bulk milk tank, cleaning units, and equipment are located.

Milk House Waste - Water having been used in cleaning the milking equipment and washing the parlor.

Milking Pit - A sunken area that houses both the milker and some milking equipment during milking. This places the milker at shoulder level with udders and reduces physical demands.

Molting - The process of shedding and then regrowing feathers in laying hens. It corresponds with a period of no egg laying.

Mulch Tillage - Full-width tillage involving one or more tillage trips which disturbs all of the soil surface and is done prior to and/or during planting. Tillage tools such as chisels, field cultivators, disks, sweeps or blades are used. Weed control is accomplished with crop protection products and/or cultivation.

Source: Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Exit EPA

Mutualism - A symbiotic relationship in which both partners benefit.

Mycoplasma - An organism capable of causing mastitis.

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Natural Ventilation - Air circulation is provided by opening barn doors or windows and allowing the wind to draw through the barn.

Nitrification - The biochemical oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, predominantly by autotrophic bacteria.

Non-Point Source Management Program - Under the Non-point Source Management Program, states can receive funding to control non-point sources of pollution to protect surface and ground water, including programs to control pesticide contamination of the ground and surface water.

Non-Productive Sow Days - Days a sow is neither lactating or gestating.

Non-Return Dip Cup - A dip cup that does not allow the liquid to reenter and potentially contaminate the storage container.

No-Tillage - Crop production system in which the soil is left undisturbed from harvest to planting. At the time of planting, a narrow strip up to 1/3 as wide as the space between planted rows (strips may involve only residue disturbance or may include soil disturbance) is engaged by a specially equipped planter. Planting or drilling is accomplished using disc openers, coulter(s), row cleaners, in-row chisels, or roto-tillers. Weed control is accomplished primarily with crop protection products. Other common terms used to describe No-till include direct seeding, slot planting, zero-till, row-till, and slot-till.

Nursery - The growth phase immediately after weaning until pigs enter the grow-finish building. Many larger operations are eliminating the nursery phase and placing newly weaned pigs in a growing building where they stay till marketed.

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Open Barns/Tromp Sheds/Loose Housing) - Open spaced shelter in which cattle are free to move about or rest wherever they might prefer, usually on a pack of bedding and manure. Organic - A substance that contains carbon and capable of sustaining life.

Organic Material - Substances containing plant or animal substance. In the context of milking equipment this usually refers to manure.

Over the Counter Drugs - Medications available without prescription.

Oxytocin - A naturally secreted hormone that is important in milk letdown and the contraction of the smooth uterine muscles during the birthing process.

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Paddocks - Subdivision of a pasture designed to provide short-duration grazing followed by an appropriate (related to species, soil type and weather conditions) rest period for re-growth and stand maintenance.

Paint Sticks - Contain liquid or chalky paint used for marking treated cows.

Parakeratosis - Any abnormality of the horny layer of the outer skin which prevents the formation of keratin.

Parallel Parlor- A raised milking area or platform where the cow stands perpendicular to the operator and milking units are attached between the rear legs. This may also be referred to as a side-by-side.

Parallel Parlors
Parallel Parlors
Images Source: Midwest Plan Service

Parallel Parlors

Parlor - The specialized area on the dairy farm where milking is performed. Parlors come in many types:

Pasture (or Pastureland) - Land used primarily for the production of domesticated forage plants for livestock (in contrast to rangeland, where vegetation is naturally-occurring and is dominated by grasses and perhaps shrubs).

Pathogen - Any microorganism that produces disease (bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds and parasites).

Peak Egg Production - The point in a henís laying cycle where she will lay the highest percentage of eggs.

Pendulous Udder - A loosely attached udder.

Pen - Most swine are grouped together in pens, whether kept in a shelter or in a fenced open lot. The number of animals penned together may be less than 10 to several hundred, but is normally between 15 and 30.

Pen Mating - Boar is placed in a pen with group of sows to allow for breeding.

Pesticide - A general name for agricultural chemicals that include:

  • Herbicide - for the control of weeds and other plants
  • Insecticide - for the control of insects
  • Fungicide - for the control of fungi
  • Nematocide - for the control of parasitic worms
  • Rodenticide - for the control of rodents

Pesticide Handlers - Refers to individuals who mix, load, apply, or otherwise handle pesticides.

Pig - Term usually applied to young, immature swine.

Piglet - The offspring of a male boar and a female sow are called piglets, or just pigs.

Pipeline - A stainless steel or glass pipe used for transporting milk.

Pit - A contained unit usually with concrete walls in which liquid or semi-liquid manure is stored.

Plate Cooler - A heat exchanger in which water at ground temperature or chilled water is used to cool milk prior to its movement to the bulk milk tank.

Point Source Contamination - The Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program controls direct discharges into navigable waters. Direct discharges or "point source" discharges are from sources such as pipes and sewers.

Postemergence - Refers to the timing of pest control operations. Postemergence operations are accomplished during the period subsequent to the emergence of a crop from the soil and must be completed prior to point at which crop growth stage prohibits in-field travel (unless alternative application means – aerial or irrigation-based – are used).

Post-Milking Teat Dip - A product applied after milking to protect the teat from contagious pathogens that may have come into contact with the teat during the milking process.

Poult - A baby turkey.

Power Takeoff (PTO) - A splined shaft that extends from a tractor drive train and is designed to couple with the splined drive shaft of an implement. The connection permits mechanical power to be transmitted from tractor to implement.

Preemergence - Refers to the timing of pest control operations. Preemergence operations are accomplished during the period subsequent to the planting of a crop and prior to the emergence of that crop from the soil.

Pre-Milking Teat Dip - A product applied in preparation for milking to clean the teat and reduce the spread of disease and maintain healthy teats.

Preplant - Refers to the timing of pest control operations. Preplant operations are accomplished during the period subsequent to the harvest of one season’s crop and prior to the planting of the next season’s crop.

Prescription Drugs - Drugs that the FDA has determined must be used only under the direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Primary Tillage - The mechanical manipulation of soil that displaces and shatters soil to reduce soil strength and to bury or mix plant materials and crop chemicals in the tillage layer. Tends to leave a rough soil surface that is smoothed by secondary tillage.

Puberty - Time of first estrus in sows, usually occurring at 6 mo. of age.

Pullet - A laying hen before it lays its first egg.

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Rapid Exit - Panels or rails that raise to release all cows on one side of the milking parlor at once.

Ration - Feed fed to an animal during a 24-hour period.

Replacement Heifers - Often ones being raised to replace the cows currently in the herd.

Return Alley - The alley through which cows must pass when moving from the milking parlor back to the cow housing area after milking.

Ridge Tillage - The soil is left undisturbed from harvest to planting except for strips up to 1/3 of the row width. Planting is completed on the ridge and usually involves the removal of the top of the ridge. Planting is completed with sweeps, disk openers, coulters, or row cleaners. Residue is left on the surface between ridges. Weed control is accomplished with crop protection products (frequently banded) and/or cultivation. Ridges are rebuilt during row cultivation.

Source: Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Exit EPA

Rill Erosion - The removal of soil by concentrated water running through little streamlets, or headcuts. Detachment in a rill occurs if the sediment in the flow is below the amount the load can transport and if the flow exceeds the soil's resistance to detachment. As detachment continues or flow increases, rills will become wider and deeper.

Ring Feeder - A steel hoop with individual head gates that may be placed over a large round bale of hay when feeding it.

Robotic Parlor - A completely automated system for milking cows that requires limited human contact.

Rotary Parlor - A raised, round rotating platform or carousel on which cows ride while being milked.

Rotary Parlors

Rotary Parlor

Roughage - Feed that is high in fiber, low in digestible nutrients, and low in energy (e.g., hay, straw, silage, and pasture).

Row Crop - Agricultural crop planted, usually with mechanical planting devices, in individual rows that are spaced to permit machine traffic during the early parts of the growing season

Ruminant - Mammal whose stomach has four parts-rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. These animals chew their cud or regurgitate partially digested food for further breakdown in the mouth. Ruminant animals include cattle, sheep, goats, deer and camels.

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Safe Drinking Water Act - The objective of the Safe Drinking Water Act is to protect public health by establishing safe limits (based on the quality of water at the tap) for contaminants that may have an adverse effect on human health, and to prevent contamination of surface and ground sources of drinking water.

Sand Separator - A mechanical device or series of course ways used to settle sand from sand-laden manure.

Scrape-and-Haul - Manure handling system in which manure is scrape manually or with a skidloader, placed in a solid manure spreader and directly applied to appropriate crop land.

Secondary Tillage - The mechanical manipulation of soil that follows primary tillage. Performed at shallower depths than primary tillage, secondary tillage can provide additional soil pulverization, crop chemical mixing, soil surface leveling, and firming, and weed control. In conventional tillage systems, the final secondary tillage pass is used to prepare a seedbed.

Seeded - Generic term for introducing seed into the soil-air-water matrix, typically via a mechanized process that will maximize the likelihood of subsequent seed germination and plant growth.

Segregated Early Weaning - Removal of pigs from mother at 10 - 14 days of age in order to reduce transmission of disease from the mother to her offspring. The milk produced immediately after birth helps to protect the pigs from disease, but this protection decrease over time.

Self-Propelled - A term that is typically applied to farm machines with integral power units that are capable of moving about as well as performing some other simultaneous operation such as harvesting or spraying a crop.

Sensitivity Tests - Tests used to determine the most effective method of treatment of disease by testing the resistance of the microorganism to classes of antibiotics.

Separator -

  1. Formerly a centrifuge device used to remove the fat from milk on the farm, but now used primarily at processing plants.
  2. A device used to separate manure into solids and effluent and accomplish by trickling manure over a sloped screen or mechanically forcing through a screen.

Service - Breeding, the deposition of boar semen into the female. Breeding may be by done naturally by a boar or artificially by the manager, using semen obtained from a local boar or purchased from a supplier. Producers often use artificial insemination as a way to bring new genetics into their herd, without the biosecurity concerns involved with bringing new animals onto their farm.

Settling Pond - A manure pit where the flow rate of liquid manure is slowed to allow suspended materials to collect at the bottom where they can later be removed.

Shoat - A young pig, just after weaning.

Sidedress - When a readily available form of nitrogen, normally urea, is injected beside the growing row of plants, usually corn.

Silage - A feed prepared by chopping green forage (e.g. grass, legumes, field corn) and placing the material in a structure or container designed to exclude air. The material then undergoes fermentation, retarding spoilage. Silage has a water content of between 60 and 80%.

Silage Bags - Large plastic tubes in which forages are fermented. Plastic is removed and discarded as the ensiled feed is fed.

Silo - A storage facility for silage. Usually referring to upright concrete or fiberglass silos.

Silking - It is considered the first reproductive stage

Sinkhole - A surface depression caused by a collapse of soil or overlying formation above fractured or cavernous bedrock.

Sire - Father or male parent in a pedigree.

Slotted Floor - A concrete floor design in which slats are positioned in the floor so that animal traffic can work manure through the narrow openings (slots) between the slats and into a collection pit located beneath the floor of the barn.

Soil Test - A soil test indicates the availability of nutrients present in the soil and the availability of those nutrients to crops grown there.

Somatic cell count (SCC) - The number of white blood cells per milliliter of milk or measurement of the number of somatic cells present in a sample of milk. A high concentration of more than 500,000 somatic cells per milliliter of milk indicates abnormal condition in the udder. This serves as an indicator of mastitis infection when elevated above 200,000.

Somatic Cell Score - A logarithmic representation of the SCC, often referred to as linear scores because they are linearly related to milk production loss.

Somatic Cells - The combination of the leukocytes (white blood cells) from blood and the epithelial cells from the secretory tissue of the udder which indicate the presence of infection or injury in the animal.

Sow - In swine, the term sow refers to a female after she has borne a litter.

Sown - Planted using a broadcast seeding machine that distributes seed upon the soil surface. The seed may then be incorporated into the soil to ensure adequate seed-soil contact for germination.

Sphincter - A ring-shaped muscle that allows an opening to close tightly, such as the sphincter muscle in the lower end of a cow's teat.

Stall - A cow housing cubicle.

Stanchion - A device with two rails that was closed around a cows neck after she entered a stall and to keep her restrained in the stall.

Standing Heat - A sow or gilt will assume a rigid stance and maintain it during servicing if she is ready to be bred.

Steer - Bovine male castrated prior to puberty.

Step-Up Parlor - Cows step onto raised platforms for milking. The milking units are attached from the side.

Sterile - Clean, free of any living organisms. Also means unable to reproduce.

Streak canal - Small canal located in the end of each teat, through which the milk passes immediately prior to expulsion. Also called the teat meatus.

Strip Cup - A small cup or device to collect forestrippings and which makes abnormal milk easier to observe.

Strip Tillage - The process in which only a narrow strip of land needed for the crop row is tilled.

Stocker - Weaned cattle that are fed high-roughage diets (including grazing) before going into the feedlot.

Subclinical - A disease condition without symptoms but often resulting in decreased production or impaired milk quality.

Subcutaneous - Under the skin.

Subway - An area beneath the milking pit that houses milk meters, pipelines, vacuum lines and transfer tanks to reduce noise and improve the milker's ability to move around in the pit.

Superhutches - Calf housing structures, often open on one side, designed for a small number of calves when first grouped immediately after weaning.

Supplemental Heat - Furnace or radiant heat provided to maintain a comfortable temperature for the animals

Swing Parlor - Parlor characterized by having the milking units positioned in the middle of the parlor for use by cows on both sides.

Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation - Symbiotic nitrogen fixation occurs in plants that harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria within their tissues. The best-studied example is the association between legumes and bacteria in the genus Rhizobium. Each of these is able to survive independently (soil nitrates much then be available to the legume), but life together is clearly beneficial to both. Only together can nitrogen fixation take place. A symbiotic relationship in which both partners benefit is called mutualism.

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Tail Bands - Used for marking treated cows. Rubber bands are sometimes used to dock cow's tails.

Tandem Parlor - Parlor design where cows line up head to tail in individually opening stalls.

Tasseling - A condition when the tassel-like male flowers emerge.

Teat - The appendage on the udder through which milk from the udder flows.

Teat Dip - Pre and Post-milking - Substance that kills bacteria and helps to seal the teat end to prevent entry of bacteria into the udder between milkings. May contain emollients to improve teat end condition for use in cold, winter conditions.

Teat Sealant - A product that forms a mechanical barrier on the teat end to protect the teat. Generally used at dry-off after antibiotic infusion.

10 Point Milk and Dairy Beef Residue Prevention Protocol - Designed by veterinarians and milk producer organizations to avoid contamination of milk with antibiotics. It identifies the 10 points in milk production where milk is at greatest risk for antibiotic contamination of milk.

Throughput - The number of cows that can be milked in a parlor in a given period of time.

Tie Stall Parlor - Facility is frequently used for both housing and milking. Cows are tied and milked with the cow and operator on the same level.

Tillage - The mechanical manipulation of soil performed to nurture crops. Tillage can be performed to accomplish a number of tasks including: seedbed preparation, weed control, and crop chemical incorporation.

Total Mixed Ration (TMR) - Ration formulated to meet requirements of the cow in which all of the ingredients are blended together in a mixer.

Toxic - Harmful.

Transgenic Crop - Contains a gene or genes which have been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring the gene(s) through pollination. The inserted gene(s) may come from an unrelated plant or from a completely different species.

Transition Cow - The time in a cow's life from 2 months before, to 1 month after, her expected calving date.

Transition Housing - Barns designed especially for transition cows, often including a maternity area.

Tunnel Ventilation - Placement of large fans at end of building to draw air from one end to the other.

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Udder - The encased group of mammary glands provided with teats or nipples as in a cow, ewe, mare or sow. Also referred to as a bag.

Urea - A form of nitrogen that converts readily to ammonium.

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Value-Added Products - A general term that refers to agricultural products that have increased in value due to processing. Examples include corn oil and soybean meal.

Veal - A calf (usually male) that is raised on milk and is intended to be used for meat at a young age. Veal meat is served at many restaurants and is very popular in cultural cuisine.

Ventilation - The circulation of air through a building in order to expel noxious air and admit clean, fresh air.

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Walk Through Parlor - Upon completion of milking, cows walk through the front of the stall to exit.

Weaning - The process of removing the pigs from the sow and moving them to the nursery.

Wild boar - These wild hogs are still found in parts of the United States. Pigs used in modern pork production are thought to be descendants of the European wild boar. Wild boars are considered to be descendants of European wild boars introduced into the U.S. for sport hunting, or the hybrid offspring of escaped domestic hogs.

Withdrawal Time - Time required after the last drug treatment to lower drug residues to acceptable levels. These times are established using healthy animals according to label directions. An amount of time required following use of a medication in an animal before milk or meat can be entered into the human food supply. Ensures residues are maintained at levels approved by the USDA.

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Yeast - An organism that can grow and develop in the udder, causing mastitis.

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