Basic Agricultural Terminology A Quiz for New Farmers If you want to “walk-the-walk” you have to “talk-the-talk”
Acre? Is it a part of your body that’s sore? It’s the unit of land measurement we use in agriculture. An acre is 43,560 ft 2.
Animal Unit? Is it an essential part of an animal’s reproductive tract? It’s a common animal denominator based on feed consumption. Typically, one mature cow represents one animal unit (A.U.). Also, government regulators are using A.U. at 1,000 lbs. to determine animal density on farms.
Backgrounding? Is it plowing up the field in back of the barn? It’s the feeding and management of slaughter animals during the period between weaning and finishing.
Bloat? Does this refer to the expanded condition of the waistline in older farmers? This is the abnormal accumulation of gases in ruminant animals which causes the upper left side of the animal to swell. This can be fatal.
Carrying Capacity? Would this be how much weight a farmer can carry, or drag at least 10 yards? This is the number of animal units, or animals that a pasture can sustain over a given period of time.
Carryover Nitrogen? Is this last year’s leftover bags of fertilizer the farmer finds in the barn? This refers to the nitrogen leftover in the soil from a previous crop, usually a legume.
Crop Residue? Is this the visible undigested plant material in cow droppings? This is the plant material left in the field following harvest.
Cultipacker? Is this the title of a farm employee who packages direct farm products? This is a farm tool that is pulled behind the tractor to tighten-up the soil following plowing/disking/seeding. It looks like a large metal roller with grooves.
Dry Matter? Does this refer to the dried manure tracked onto the living room carpets of most livestock operations? This is the non-water part of animal feed.
Flushing? Does this refer to the act of eliminating solids in an indoor waste management system? This is the practice of feeding a higher than normal level of energy at breeding time to increase ovulation. This is commonly done in sheep and swine operations.
Fodder? Is this farm slang for father? Typically refers to the parts of the corn plant (stalk and leaves) leftover in the field following grain harvest.
Forage? Does this refer to the period in U.S. history known as the Farming Era? This is vegetable matter (plant material) in a fresh, dried, or ensiled state used to feed animals.
Freshen? Is this the act of taking a shower, or bath after a hard day on the farm? This more often refers to cattle giving birth (calving) and thereby beginning a lactation cycle. A fresh cow has recently given birth.
Greenchop? Is this a term commonly used to describe spoiled meat? This is freshly cut forage fed directly to animals.
Harrow? Is this farm slang for the part in one’s hair? This is a tool pulled behind the tractor to smooth out, or level a field after disking and prior to seeding.
Haylage? Is this a word often used as a greeting in very rural areas of Frederick County? This is forage ensiled at between 35-55% moisture. Silage is forage ensiled above this moisture.
Inoculum? Is this farm slang used in reference to the urban population? This is the packaged bacterium used to treat legume seed prior to seeding to insure good nodule (knot) formation on the roots. The bacteria live in this nodule.
Is this a mental condition where farmers are so focused on nitrogen that they ignore all other plant nutrients? This is the process where free nitrogen is converted into a form plant can utilize. This typically refers to the symbiotic process involving bacteria and leguminous plants. Nitrogen Fixation?
Paddock? Is this the farm term for the cushion used on the tractor seat? This is the subdivided section of a pasture.
Congratulations, you now know enough farm words to sound like you know what you’re doing!