Small Beef Cattle Farm


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Cattle Terminology

 Cattle Terminology is listing of many of the terms or lingo used in everyday conversation within the beef cattle industry.

Accuracy (of selection)--Correlation between an animal's unknown actual breeding value and a calculated estimated breeding value.

Adaptation -- Adaptation to a particular environment exists when an animal or breed has the ability to survive, produce and reproduce within that environment at an acceptable level to the cattle producer.

Adaptive Trait -- An adaptive trait is one that contributes to an animal or a breed's ability to survive and reproduce sustainably in a particular environment. Resistance to internal parasites and heat tolerance are important adaptive traits in some environments but not in others.

Average daily gain (ADG)--Measurement of daily body weight change in animal on a feed test. Most bull tests are 140 or 160 days in length.

Adjusted weaning weight (WW)--An unshrunk, off-the-cow weight adjusted to 205 days of age and to a mature dam age equivalence.

Adjusted yearling weight (YW)--An unshrunk weight adjusted to either 365, 452, or 550 days of age and for age of dam.

Ad lib feeding--No limit placed on amount of feed intake. Self-feeding or allowing cattle to consume feed on a free-choice basis.

Allele -- Alleles at a gene locus have different nucleotide sequences within the DNA. Because different alleles may have different biological effects, they account for the genetic variation necessary for response to selection. See also gene. Alleles may also described as alternate forms of genes. Because genes occur in pairs in body cells, one gene of a pair may have one effect and another gene of that same pair (allele) may have a different effect on the same trait.

Artificial insemination (A.I.)--The technique of placing semen from the male in the reproductive tract of the female by means other than natural service. ~

Backcross--The mating of a two-breed crossbred offspring back to one of its parental breeds. Example: A Hereford-Angus cross cow bred back to an Angus bull.

Beef carcass data service--A program whereby producers, for a fee, can receive carcass evaluation data on their cattle by using a special "carcass data" eartag for their slaughter animals. See county extension director breed representative, Beef Cattle Improvement Association representative, or area office of USDA meat grading service for information.

Beef Improvement Federation (BIF)--A federation of organizations, businesses, and individuals interested or involved in performance evaluation of beef cattle. The purposes of BIF are to bring about uniformity of procedures, development of programs, cooperation among interested entities, education of its members and the ultimate consumers of performance evaluation methods, and to build confidence of the beef industry in the principles and potentials of performance testing.

Birth weight (BW)--The weight of a calf taken within 24 hours after birth. Heavy birth weights tend to be correlated with calving problems, but the conformation of the calf and the cow are contributing factors.

Breeder--In most beef breed associations, the owner of the dam of a calf at the time she was mated or bred to produce that calf.

Breeding Objective -- The precise goal of a beef cattle breeding program is known as its breeding objective. An example would be “to produce high-quality, lean beef at the lowest possible cost.” The breeding objective typically includes a listing of production and indicator traits that will be used as selection criteria. Breeding objectives vary among enterprises because of differences in resources, environments, markets and economic goals. 

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