Tag Archives: Bull

Wordless Wednesday: Makin’ Babies

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Glossary of Beef Terms

This is a very broad overview of terms I use on the Ranch. I will add more as I think of them.

A.I. – artificial insemination

Average daily gain – pounds of liveweight gained per day

Balling gun – a tool used to discharge pills into the animal’s throat.

Birth weight – the weight of the calf taken within the first 24 hours of birth

Birth weight EPD – The expected average increase of decrease in birth weight of a bull’s calves when compared with other bulls in the same sire summary.

Bloat – abnormal conditions characterized by a distention of the rumen, usually seen on the left side, due to the accumulation of gas.

Bloom – a haircoat that has luster that gives the appearance of a healthy animal.

Bolus – a large pill for treating cattle; you use a balling gun to administer.

Bos indicus – zebu (humped) cattle, including the Brahman breed. They tolerate heat and insects well.

Bos Taurus – European breads that tolerate the cold, such as Hereford, angus.

Brand – a permanent identification of cattle usually made on the hide with a hot iron or freeze brand.

Bred – a cow that has mated with a bull and is pregnant.

Brucellosis – a contagious bacterial disease that results in abortions; also can be called bang’s disease.

Bull –  a male bovine, usually of breeding age.

Bulling – when a cow is in heat or estrus.

Calf – a young male or female bovine under 1 year of age.

Calve – to give birth.

Castrate – to remove the testicles

Cod – scrotal area of a steer remaining after castration.

Colostrum – the first milk given by a female cow following the delivery of a calf. It is high in antibodies that protect the calf from invading microorganisms.

Conditioning – Treatment of cattle by vaccination and other means prior to putting them in a feedlot.

Cow – an adult female

Cow/calf operation – a segment of the cattle industry that manages and produces weaned calves.

Crossbred – animal produced by crossing two different breeds, for example a Brahman and Angus is a Brangus.

Cud – bolus of feed that cattle regurgitate.

Cull – to eliminate one or more animals from your herd.

Dewlap – the flap of loose skin under the chin and neck of cattle.

Direct sales – selling cattle directly to one ranch to another, from ranch to feedlot, or ranch to packer.

Dressed beef – carcasses from cattle.

Ear mark – a method of permanent identification by which slits or notches are placed in the ear.

Ear tag – a method of identification by which a numbered, lettered, or colored tag is placed in the ear, like an earring.

EPD – expected progeny difference, one-half of the breeding value in the sire or dam. The difference in expected performance of future progeny of a sire, when compared with that expected from future progeny of bulls in the same sire summary.

Embryo transfer – transfer of fertilized egg(s) from donor female to one or more recipient females.

Eviscerate – the removal of internal organs during the slaughter process.

Feed bunk – trough or container used to feed cattle.

Feeder – Cattle that need further feeding prior to slaughter or a producer that feeds cattle.

Feedlot – a segment of the industry in which cattle are fed grain and other concentrates for usually 90-120 days then slaughtered.

Finish – Degree of fatness of an animal or the completion of the last feeding phase of slaughter cattle.

Finished cattle – Fed cattle ready for slaughter.

Freemartin – female born twin to a bull (usually these heifers will never conceive).

Grass tetany – Disease of cattle marked by staggering, convulsions, coma, and death that is caused by a mineral imbalance (magnesium) while grazing lush pasture.

Heifer – a young cow, one that has never had a calf.

Hot carcass weight – the weight of the carcass just prior to chilling.

Ionphore – antibiotic the enhances feed efficiency by changing microbial fermentation in the rumen.

Liver flukes – parasitic flatworm in the liver.

Marbling – flecks of intramuscular fat distributed in muscle tissue.

Mastitis – inflammation of the udder.

Natural beef- beef that has not been fed growth stimulates or antibiotics.

Open – non pregnant females

Offal – the organs and tissue removed from the cattle during the slaughter process

Pasture rotation – the rotation of animals from one pasture or field to another so that a field or pasture have no livestock grazing on them during a certain period of time.

Pay weight – the actual weight for which payment of the cattle is made. Usually the actual weight minus the shrink.

Polled – naturally hornless

Preconditioning – preparations of feeder calves for selling and shipping, can include vaccinations, castration, training the calves to eat from a feeder or drink from a trough.

Primal cuts – the wholesale cuts of beef. It can include: round, loin, flank, rib, chuck, brisket, plate and shank.

Progeny – offspring, calves

Quality Grades – grades used in the beef industry to rate the beef; for example – prime, choice, select.

Ration – the feed fed to an animal in a 24 hour period

Replacement heifers – heifers, usually between the ages of 10 – 16 months, that are kept to replace old cows in the breeding program.

Ruminant – a mammal whose stomach has four parts – rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum Cattle, sheep, goats, and elk are some examples.

Scours – profuse, watery diarrhea from the intestines.

Seedstock – breeding animals like bulls. Used interchangeably with purebred.

Shrink – loss of weight. Usually expressed in percentage of liveweight to account for fill (food and water). It is usually around 3 to 4%.

Steer – a male that has been castrated before puberty

Subcutaneous – an injection below the skin of an animal.

Tagging- when we place tags in the ears of the cattle for identification purposes.

Vaccination – when we administer a vaccine or shot.

Weaner – a calf that has been weaned or is near weaning age.

Weaning weight – the weight of the calf when it is removed from the cow.

White muscle disease – muscular disease caused by a deficiency of selenium or vitamin E.

Yearling – animals that are one year old.

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Back When We Had Herefords…

We made the transition from herefords to black angus in the early 1990’s. The black calves simply brought more money at auction and they seem to have fewer health problems, like cancer eye. We have one or two old black baldy cows left, but, for the most part all that’s left of our hereford herd are old pictures like the one below. I enjoy looking at old pictures of livestock to see how breeding trends have changed. This guy below reminds me of a buffalo!

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Breeding trends are especially interesting in reference to sustainability. My Dad often shares how he remembered selling calves that were two years old and 800 lbs., now we sell our 12/13 month old steers at a base weight of 850 lbs. (in a good feed year). How did we do this? Genetics, an awesome vaccination program, good nutrition, using modern technology that was available to us. In addition to improving our herd, we also improved our land. I mentioned before we laser leveled our fields to improve production. We also leave each ranch empty for 6 months out of the year. We practice rotational grazing and attempt to mimic a natural cycle.

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I’ve been told that it takes 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land per unit of beef produced today as compared to 1977. By looking at old pictures it really helps me to “see” the comparative advantage. It seems like animal ag has made some pretty big advance in the past 30 years. It’s exciting to see what the next 30 will bring!

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