Feedyard terms & what they mean

Guest blogger, Nicky Tiffany, of Tiffany Cattle Co. blogs regularly for me to show a bit of life in a Kansas feedyard. This is where I feed my cattle!!

Howdy!  WOW, we’ve had some crazy weather lately!  It was 55 degrees today, 70 yesterday and they’re calling for snow tonight!  Don’t tell Debbie, but I’m secretly happy I don’t have to check heifers tonight!  We’ve had a whirlwind of activity lately that I can’t wait to share with you, but I thought I’d better have a quick vocab session (we homeschool so I’ll put on my school marm hat) before I get carried away – literally, the wind has picked up again, ugh. 
Tap, tap, tap.  Let’s begin…
Feedyard – a type of animal feeding operation used for finishing livestock prior to slaughter
Feedlot – same as above
Commercial- licensed for operating under strict guidelines and regulations

Custom- 1. not private   2. we work to customize our services to each individual rancher or cattleman
Grain Mill- machinery that processes grain by grinding or crushing, also referred to as the building that holds the machinery
Farm- area of land and its buildings used for growing crops
Feed Bunk- a long trough for feeding cattle
Lot Number- cattle pen number (think hotel room number)
Commodity- a raw material or primary agriculture product that can be bought and sold
Feedstuffs/ration- a fixed amount of a commodity fed to each animal
Pen Rider- a person who rides a horse through the pens of cattle to monitor facilities and animal health
Hospital/Vet Shack- small building that houses animal health supplies
Truck Driver- one who drives a truck to transport goods. 
Pot- or Potbelly Truck- not a pig, rather the slang term for a semi-truck hauling a load of cattle
Scales- a platform that trucks can be driven upon to weigh their contents or cattle can be unloaded and weighed upon
Waterers- automatic watering system for cattle

I’m sure there will be subsequent lessons; however, this will suffice for now.  Next, I expect you to be able to create a sentence for each word to demonstrate your comprehension…ok, just kidding!  In all seriousness the language used at our place can be quite confusing.  Especially when you are listening to just one side of a conversation:  “Yeah, Don.  That pot will be here by noon.  We’ll run ‘em across the scales then get ‘em to the bunk.”  Huh?  What?  So… if there is ever a time I don’t make sense…blame it on the terminology not me! 
To put it simply, we receive cattle at about 500-900 lbs. from a rangeland situation and ranchers like Debbie.  Then they are placed in a location that offers comfort and ample space in order to feed them an energy dense ration of mostly grain.  Our hope is that they will gain weight quickly and then be sold for slaughter with the highest deposition of fat or marbling in the muscle (see Debbie’s awesome slide on the fat profile of beef).  These cattle generally gain 400-500 lbs. in 4-5 months while they are with us.  Our ultimate goal is to work with integrity for our customers and the animals while ensuring a safe and healthy product for the world to consume… that’s your family and mine! 
While my husband and brother in-law are wholly responsible for all of our business, we have approximately 20 employees that help fuel our passion.  I often hear the guys talk of how “Shane makes the promises and Shawn delivers them”.  Not only are their names similar, they look similar too- can you guess which one is older??  The truth is we are EQUALLY YOKED and that certainly makes the load easier to bear.  In addition to feeding cattle we farm a variety of crops throughout the year.  Because of that diversity we are able to work very closely with our personal livestock nutritionist and consulting veterinarian to use our own resources for the best outcome for our customers and the livestock.  You’ve heard the expression; it takes a village, right?  Well, welcome to our village!  I’ve gotta run again, too many “Chiefs and not enough Indians” in the house today.  See ya’ next time!
Be blessed,


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