Alfalfa: Perennial legume crop that is high in protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D. This crop is harvested 3-4 times per 6 month growing season, and will grow back for 6-8 years before it needs to be replanted.
Alfalfa Dehy Pellets: Dehydrated alfalfa plants that are used as animal feed. They are dehydrated to make a higher quality and more easily stored feed. Dehy pellets are fed to pigs, chickens, horses, gerbils, hamsters, and zoo animals just to name a few!
Animal Husbandry: While the name may denote the sacrament of marriage, animal husbandry has no tie to the relationship between a husband and a wife (unless a wife asks her husband to go out and check the cattle in the middle of the night so that she can stay in bed!). Animal husbandry is an old fashioned term meaning “animal care”.
Animal welfare: To me, this term is synonymous with “animal well-being”. The welfare of my animals is dependent on two things: 1. what my animals need, and 2. how I provide care to meet those needs. In order to truly understand animal welfare, you must first understand the animal. I am a true animal welfarist.
Animal Rights: To me, this term places animals on the same scale as humans. It does not take into account the difference in intelligence and genetic make- up, but simply states that animals are equal to humans. That means that an animal has the same rights as I do or my children do. It is very important to not get the terms animal welfare and animal rights confused as they are not at all the same thing.
Beef: The meat that comes from a bovine (calf). It is a great source of zinc, iron and protein which are all important for immune system function, brain development, oxygen transportation, and muscle growth and maintenance.
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA): BQA is a beef farmer education program that was started in the late 1980’s. It covers animal welfare, beef safety, and some aspects of environmental stewardship. I believe that it is the cornerstone of high quality animal care and safe beef.
BQA Feedyard Assessment: An assessment or audit of a feedyard pertaining to humane care and handling and Beef Quality Assurance protocols.
Bull: a reproductively male bovine (cow). A bull is a “Daddy” cow.
Calf: a young bovine that is not yet sexually mature (can be either a male or female).
Cattle Acclimation: The process of transitioning cattle into a new environment.
Cattle Exercising: Taking cattle out of their home pen and allowing them to run down to the main corral system. This helps to acclimate the cattle into a feedyard situation. The goal of exercising is to achieve mental, emotional, and physical exuberance!
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO): Any animal feeding operation of more than 1000 animal units. 1 bovine = 1 animal unit.
Corn: Annually planted crop that contains both a seed kernel and a forage stem (stalk). Both the kernel and stem (stalk) are used for animal feed.
Cow: a reproductively intact female bovine. A cow is a “Mommy” cow.
Elevator/Feedmill: An elevator or a feedmill is a place where feed is stored. My kids were amazed the first time that we took them to Omaha when the hotel clerk told them to take the elevator—they were picturing my feeding elevator and could not imagine finding one of those in the hotel!
Feed bunk: A metal or concrete feed trough. Ours are concrete and we place the feed for the animals in the “bunk” for them to eat out of. It is their “dinner plate”!
Feed truck: A truck with a mixing box mounted on the back to mix, carry and unload feed into feed bunks.
Forage: The stems and leaves of plants.
Grain Fed Beef: Cattle that were fed grain (corn) in some form in addition to eating grass and other forages.
Grass Fed Beef: Cattle that have only been feed grass.
Heifer: A female bovine that has not yet had a baby calf.
Humane: Respecting and understanding an animal’s innate nature. To define “humane” for an animal, you must understand the animal and define it according to what is important to that animal.
Pay loader: A machine with a large bucket that is used to scoop or move things.
Pellet: A dehydrated piece of feed that is about 1 inch in length and ¼ of an inch in diameter.
Ration: The blend of ingredients that make up a bovine’s diet.
Trace Minerals: Minerals that are important to maintaining good health and immune system function in bovine.
Supplement Pellet: The means for putting needed trace minerals into our feedyard rations.