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Know the Cattle Lingo

     Any industry or culture is bound to adopt their own dictionary of language and terminology, and the beef and cattle business is no different.

        From types of cattle to the various forms of feedlot and auction-speak, familiarizing yourself with the general lingo of the cattle industry is a good idea prior to beginning operations. As you enter new phases in the production of your farm and new stages of the cattle and business life, you will encounter a series of new words and phrases that you need to at least be somewhat familiar with if you are to compete in the market place.

     Some of the terms are industry specific, and have developed over the years as the industry has changed and progressed. Other terminology is of a scientific nature, and the cattle ranching dictionary in regards to scientific advancements in nutrition, genetics, cloning, breeding and other areas is changing—sometimes overnight—as new technologies and discoveries are made.

     Below are some of the common terms you will hear at various stages within the cattle industry as compiled by North Dakota State University.

     An acute or chronic disease condition in feedlot cattle. Results from over-consumption or too rapid consumption of grain (starch). Acute cases generally result in death. Chronic cases are common, resulting in erratic intakes and/or reduced feed intake, but are probably hidden by pen intakes which tend to make average consumption look normal. It is one of the most costly problems in the feedlot industry. Sub-acute cases are difficult to diagnose, but symptoms include poor performance and poor conversions.

     Average daily gain. The amount of gain divided by the number of days in the feeding period.

As Is Basis
     Feed is sold `as is,' with no adjustments for moisture content

Bawling Calves
     Calves which are taken directly off the cow and weaned at the feedlot, requiring additional labor and a greater degree of health management by the feedlot.

     The sale price ($/cwt) at which the customer or owner of the cattle does not make or lose money.

     Steers which are ridden by other steers in the pen (as with cows or heifers that are `bulling'). If problems persist, animals are usually removed from the pen to prevent bruising, injury, and reduction in performance of the other cattle.

Buller Pen
     Pen in which bullers are kept.

Bunk Call or Bunk Reading
     Deciding how much feed should be fed and when it should be fed.

Bunk Management
     The philosophy the feedlot manager uses to determine the amount of feed to offer.

Bunk Reader (Bunk Call)
     The person at the feedlot who is responsible for deciding the daily amount of feed the cattle are fed. This person is critical to the successful feeding of high concentrate diets.

     Feed ingredients which are produced during the production of human food products (e.g. corn sweetener, flour, cooking oils, sugar) or industrial products (e.g. ethanol, industrial oils). These byproducts are used as ingredients in some growing and finishing diets.

     Cattle which are placed on feed as calves and finished at less than 16 months of age. Usually on feed for 150 to 200 days. These cattle are usually placed in the feedlot directly following weaning.

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