Farm Lingo 101 – Part 1

Whenever we are fully involved in an activity, industry, or profession, we begin speaking in the language of that field. We completely forget that others that are not involved on a regular basis probably do not have a clue what we are talking about. They are politely listening, nodding their heads, and wishing they could find a path of escape.

So the next time you are cornered by your dairy farmer and can’t get away (afterall, they are usually starved for conversation after being on the wrong end of a cow twice a day, everyday, 365 days a year), surprise him with a bit of your own Dairy Farm Lingo.

Here it goes…..

Bull – This is the male cow that will be used to breed the female cows.

Milk Cow – This is a female cow that has already calfed at least once and is producing milk on the dairy.

Heifer – This is a young female cow that is either not been bred or is bred for the first time and awaiting the birth of her calf.

Dry Cow – This is a female cow that is pregnant and awaiting the birth of her calf.  Farmers that value their cows will allow the soon to be mother to rest the last three months of her pregnancy. This allows the nutrients she ingests to be completely devoted to the health of the mom and her calf. Milking a cow during this last trimester puts her body under great stress which will usually results in a much shorter life expectancy and overall health status. NOTE: Human moms to be enjoy lots of rest and pampering as well.

Fresh Cow – A cow that has just recently had a calf.

Steer – This is a male cow that has been castrated and will be used in the future as the source of the hamburger on your BBQ grill.

Udder – This is the bag where the milk is let down into on the cow’s body before she nurses her calf or is milked by the farmer. It has four quarters. The milk is let out of the udder through four teats that are part of the four quarters of the udder.

Teat Dip – This is an iodine solution that is applied to the four teats after the cow is milked. It helps to keep manure and mud from entering the openings in the teats to help prevent infection. Iodine as the active ingredient is very important and it is believed to be beneficial in humans as a preventative measure against breast cancer.

Blackstrap Molasses – Cows love the sweet taste of molasses as it is mixed in with their feed. Farmers like to give this to the cows in moderation as it is naturally rich in minerals and nutrients.

Milk Parlor – This is the area in the barn where the cows are brought in from pasture to be milked.

Hand Milking – This is the process of milking the cow by hand and usually out in the open pasture. The farmer using hand milking usually milks into an open bucket with milk later being put into some sort of refrigeration.

Bucket Milking – This is the process of milking the cow using a vacuum pump system where the milk is sent into a closed bucket to prevent debris from getting into the milk. Milk from bucket milkers is generally transferred into a bulk refrigeration unit/milk tank for rapid chilling.

Pipeline Milking – This is the process of milking the cow using a system of pipelines that transports the milk that is received from the cow into the rapid chilling bulk tank. The difficulty with this system is that it is generally cleaned, even by organic dairies, with an acid wash rinse.

Pastured HerdThis is a dairy herd that is allowed to freely graze in open pastures. Many cows in the United States are raised in confinement dairies where they never eat green grass. Cows that are pasture raised tend to be healthier from their exposure to fresh sunlight, get adequate amounts of natural exercise, and benefit from the rich nutrients in fresh grass. These cows generally do not receive any steroids or production hormones. They are more content, which results in less stress hormones in their milk. The life expectancy for pastured cows can be as much as 10 years more than those raised in confinement.

Bulk Tank – This is a large refrigeration unit that the milk is stored in. Bulk tanks on family farms can range in size from 75 gallon capacity up to about 300 gallons. These tanks use a rapid cooling system that helps the milk to get down to a temperature of about 36 degrees in a matter of minutes. The quicker the milk gets cold, the fresher it will taste and remain as it halts the natural culturing process that will occur if the milk is allowed to remain warm.

ManureThis is the vast amount of brown excrement that the cow expels after eating all those lush grasses. It is also one of the best fertilizers for your naturally raised tomato plants!

Milk – This is the natural, unadulterated white gold that the farmer receives from the cow and is of very high nourishment to those that consume it. Once it has been homogenized and pasturized, it is no longer true Real Milk.

Cream – This is the natural high quality fat that is found in milk. It is generally yellow in color. Cream will rise to the top in non-homogenized milk since it is less dense than liquid milk.

Butter – This is a nutrient dense food that is acquired from churning natural cream. The lusher the grasses that the cows graze on, the darker yellow hue that the butter will possess.

Buttermilk – This is the thin liquid that is the byproduct of churning cream into butter. Many people will allow the buttermilk to naturally culture and then use it in many baked goods.

Whey – This is the translucent yellow liquid that separates from curds when making cheese from milk or that separates from yogurt as it is stirred and then stored in the refrigerator.

Tips – These are the hundred dollar bills that are placed in the Farmer’s straw hat to express your appreciation for the wonderful nutrient dense foods he supplies your family and the creative tall tales from the farm that he shares each time you see him.

Story Telling on The Farm

Stay tuned for our next edition of Lingo from the Farm….



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