A plant or facility where cattle are slaughtered for food (also known as a processing plant, slaughterhouse, or meatworks).


The fourth stomach of a ruminant, which receives food from the omasum and passes it to the small intestine. It is the ‘true stomach’ of cattle.

Accumulated Heat Load Units (AHLU)

A measure of the amount of heat that may be stored in the body. An animal’s ‘heat energy balance is determined by the duration of exposure above the Heat Load Index (HLI) Threshold. Cattle may accumulate heat during the day (the body temperature rises) and dissipate this heat during the night. If there is insufficient night cooling, cattle may enter the following day with an accumulated heat load.


An environment in which oxygen is present.


An environment in which oxygen is absent or unavailable.


Substances that kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus (not viruses).

Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS)

Describes practices designed to reduce the need for antimicrobial use and to ensure that when antimicrobials are required, they are utilised in a way that maximises efficacy while minimising adverse effects.


An auger conveyer or screw conveyor is a mechanism that uses a rotating spiral blade (called a ‘flight’) usually within a tube, to move liquid or granular materials. In feedlots, it used to transport grain around the mill.


A not-for-profit, joint venture company between AMPC and MLA with the principal objectives of the management of red meat trade descriptions and the AUS_MEAT National accreditation Standards. AUS-MEAT own and operate the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme on behalf of the Australian Feedlot Industry.


The examination of a body after death (post-mortem), to determine the cause of death, and the extent of disease. Also known as a Post-mortem.


The grouping and acclimatisation of animals for at least 28 days prior to feedlot entry to improve the socialisation of the animals and reduce health issues in the feedlot.


Microscopic, single-celled organisms, occurring everywhere in nature. Some bacteria are harmful and can cause diseases in plants and animals, while most bacteria are actually beneficial (eg Rhizobium to fix nitrogen on legumes or bacteria in the rumen to aid digestion).


A major cereal grain grown in temperate climates for use as stock feed or for malting.


Also known as the Omasum, the muscular third stomach of a ruminant, between the reticulum and abomasum


A management practice in which various predatory or parasitic organisms are used to control pests and pathogens. They are usually part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy for crops and animals.


This refers to the total variety of life. It includes the range of plants and animals, the genetic variety within each species, populations and communities and the variety of habitats in which they live. A large biodiversity makes farmland more stable and more able to recover from extremes.


The protection of plants, animals, the natural environment and the economy from pests, disease and weeds.

Black Globe Temperature (BGT)

Is a measure of temperature by a thermometer placed in the centre of a blackened sphere made of thin copper. It is a combination of temperature and solar radiation.


The excess accumulation of gas in the rumen that the animal is unable to remove through belching as normal. Bloat may be either frothy bloat or gaseous bloat, and can lead to the death of the animal.

Bobby calf

A calf, under 30 days of age, that has been removed from its mother.


A boiler or steam generator is a device used to create steam by applying heat energy to water. Boilers can range from a small scale (e.g. household kettle) to steam trains and industrial scale (e.g. coal-fired power station).

Boning room

Area of an abattoir where the carcase is cut into smaller portions.

Bos Indicus

The breeds of cattle that are referred to as tropical or humped breeds (e.g. Indian, Zebu or Brahman cattle). Characteristics of these cattle include loose skin on the throat and dewlap (area between the front legs), well developed sweat pores, a muscular hump over the neck and shoulders, and large drooping ears.

Bos taurus

The temperate, British or European breeds of cattle, eg Angus, Poll Hereford, Shorthorn, Wagyu, Charolais and Limousin.


Animals of the ox family, including buffalo, bison and cattle.

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD)

Infection of the respiratory tract and lungs of cattle resulting from a combination of stress and infectious viruses and bacteria. It occurs most often in the first four weeks in the feedlot and is the most common cause of illness and death in Australian feedlot cattle.


The placing of permanent identifying marks on the hide of an animal by destroying the hair follicles and altering hair regrowth. Methods include hot iron branding or freeze branding.


Australian beef genetic evaluation system that estimates the genetic merit of animals for economically important traits through the calculation of Estimates Breeding Values.


Is described as a superficial discolouration due to haemorrhage of tissue from ruptured blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin. It is caused by an impact injury that can occur from poor animal handling techniques or infrastructure, and negatively impacts on the value of the carcase.


A male bovine with intact sexual organs.


Is a behaviour problem seen in cattle when non-oestrous cattle will mount and ride other animals. Some animals will stand (Bullers) and allow this mounting to occur which can result in injury.


Castrated bovine male over 30 months old.


A long trough for feeding cattle.


A young bovine animal (male or female) generally under twelve months of age.


A broadleaf, brassica oil seed crop with a bright yellow flower.

Canola Meal

A high protein feed supplement that is a by-product of the extraction of oil from the canola seed.


The body of an animal after being slaughtered and dressed (removal of head, feet, hide and internal organs).

Carcase weight

The weight of an animal after slaughter and the removal of most internal organs, skin, feet and head. Also known as dressed weight.


The removal of the testicles from a male animal. Castration may be either immediate (surgical, using a blade) or delayed (non-surgical, using an elastic ring).

Cattle Price Indicators

Produced by Meat and Livestock Australia to give a snapshot of the various cattle and sheep markets in Australia. In the cattle market there are saleyard, over the hooks and feeder cattle indicators for various weights or classes of cattle.

Certified grain fed

Cattle sold with a NFAS Delivery Docket declaring they have met the AUS-MEAT minimum standards for grain fed beef.


A raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold (grain, hay, supplements, other feedstuff)


A stabilised crossbred breed established from the mating of progeny of two or more existing breeds, eg Belmont Red and Droughtmaster.

Controlled drainage area (CDA)

A self-contained catchment surrounding those parts of the feedlot complex from which uncontrolled stormwater would constitute an environmental hazard, designed to capture and direct runoff to the sedimentation system and holding ponds.


A female bovine after her first calf or over 30 months of age.

Cracker cow

An old cow that has finished her milking or breeding life. Usually light in condition and sold to the meat works for processing.


Animal produced by crossing two or more pure breeds.


Mating animals from different breeds to gain hybrid vigour in the offspring and breed complimentary characteristics.

Crude protein

An approximate assessment of the protein content of animal food based on nitrogen content.


A structure for confining cattle for inspection or veterinary treatment, that is usually fitted with a head-bail.


A male animal with one or both testicles retained in the abdomen. This may be natural, or brought about by, at marking, pushing the testes into the abdomen and placing a rubber ring around the scrotum.


The removal for sale or slaughter of animals from the herd that are no longer economically productive or valuable as breeding stock.


A term used to describe the period of time animals are withheld from feed, water, or feed and water prior to either trucking, sale or slaughter. It may also be the latest time animals can be delivered to saleyards, feedlots or abattoirs.

Custom feeding

A service provided by feedlots to producers. Producers can pay to have their cattle ‘finished’ on grain before they are sold.


An accumulation of faecal and soil particles that adhere to hair in the coats of cattle. Dags tend to accumulate along the belly, brisket, tail, legs and sides of animals.

Dark cutter

Carcases which have meat that is dark coloured rather than the desirable cherry red. Usually the result of reduced muscle glycogen stores. Can be influenced by handling techniques, weather, feeding, stress and environment.


Removal of horns in cattle to prevent physical injury, reduce bruising, reduce require space at feed troughs and in transport, and reduce the risk to stock handlers. Dehorning must be done as young as possible (usually at marking).


The development of visible teeth on the lower jaw. The number of permanent incisor teeth can be used to estimate the age of cattle.


The preparation, movements, paperwork, handing and loading involved in trucking cattle from the feedlot to another destination (abattoir, feedlot).

Domestic market

Also called the trade market. Cattle are consumed in the country they are produced in. Generally, this will be young and lighter cattle compared to the export market. (See ‘trade market’).


Separating animals into different groups, usually completed using a race or on horseback.


The removal of an animal’s head, feet, hide and internal organs during processing. The carcase is now ready for further processing, which will be dependent on its market destination. 

Dressed weight

The weight of an animal after slaughter and the removal of most internal organs, skin, feet and head. Also called carcase weight.

Dressing percentage

The percentage of an animal’s liveweight that is it’s carcase weight. This is calculated by the calculation: carcase weight / final liveweight x 100.


Below average rainfall for an extended period of time.

Dry Matter (DM)

What remains after all the water is evaporated out of feed (grain, rations, silage or fresh forage).


Calving difficulty, abnormal labour or birth

Ear Mark

A registered mark cut into the ear of an animal to show ownership.

Ear Tag

A plastic or metal tag applied to animals for identification.

Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI)

Is a seven-day rolling average price of young cattle from 25 saleyards across Queensland, NSW and Victoria. It is expressed in cents per kg carcase weight and is designed as a benchmark indicator of general cattle markets.


The liquid runoff from the feedlot controlled drainage area stored in the holding pond.

El Niño

Is the negative phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is associated with warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. El Niño conditions generally result in below average rainfall over much of eastern Australia.


A tower and conveyor/bucket system used to take commodities from the lower levels to the top of silos or storage facilities.

Emergency Animal Disease (EAD)

Include diseases that are exotic to Australia, new and emerging diseases that are of national significance and can also include serious outbreaks of endemic diseases.

Ephemeral Fever

Also known as three-day sickness. A bovine virus spread by insects during the humid summer months of the year. Usually lasting only three days, the disease is most common on the east coast of Australia and is marked by a short fever, shivering, lameness and muscular sickness.

Estimated Breeding Value

An estimate of an animal’s genetic potential as a parent for a particular production trait such as growth rate.

European Union (EU)

An international organisation of European nations formed after World War Two to reduce trade barriers and increase co-operation among its members.

Excessive Heat Load (EHL)

Occurs when a combination of local and environmental conditions and animal factors lead to an increase in body heat load beyond the animal’s ability to cope. With severe or prolonged elevations in body temperature above acceptable levels, body tissues and organs can be damaged, and the animal may die. In feedlots during the summer months, this can result in significant production losses and animal welfare considerations.

Exotic Species

A species that is not native to a region, especially one that does not originate in Australia.

Export market

A market that a country directs product to. For example, in Australia this might be Japan, the US or European Union.

Fat score

Is an assessment of the amount of fat an animal is carrying. The scores range from 1 (lean) to 6 (fat).

Feeder steer

A steer purchased by a lot feeder to be placed in a feedlot.


A beef cattle feedlot is a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities, where cattle are completely hand or mechanically fed for the purpose of beef production. This includes both covered and uncovered yards.

Feedlot complex

Includes the pens; handling yards; stock lanes and feed alleys; manure stockpile and composting pads; stock and vehicle washdown facilities; drains, sedimentation systems and ponds. May also include the feed mill and feed storage areas.


The rotating spiral blade within the tube of an auger.

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

A highly contagious disease that does not affect humans. FMD only affects cloven hoofed animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, goats) and causes severe blistering in the mouth and inflammation of the hoof of the infected animal. It is exotic to Australia and would have significant economic and animal impacts if it ever gained access to Australia.


An acute inflammation of the skin and adjacent soft tissues of the space between the digits of the feet. It generally originates from a lesion in the interdigital skin that become infected by bacteria, resulting in swelling and lameness. 

Grain fed

An animal which has been fed on grain in a NFAS accredited feedlot. Also used to describe the carcase when it is being sold. Cattle sold under this description must be accompanied by a NFAS delivery docket that declares the animals have met the Aus-Meat minimum standards for grain fed beef.


A farmer who raises livestock such as sheep or cattle. Also known as a producer or pastoralist.

Greenhouse gases (GHG)

Gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide which are implicated in the greenhouse effect.


Water beneath the surface of the land that is free to move under the effects of gravity.

Heat Load Index (HLI)

Is an index that brings together the weather factors related to the capacity of the environment to cool cattle. It is a calculated from measurements of black globe temperature, wind speed and relative humidity.


Female bovine, that has not yet calved and is less than 30 months of age.


A group of cattle or goats.


The skin of the animal. A by-product of the animal post slaughter.

Holding pond

A pond designed to capture and store the normal runoff or effluent before it is either utilised or evaporated.

Hormone Growth Promotant (HGP)

They are slow-release implants that contain natural or synthetic hormones (oestrogen, progesterone or testosterone) and are used to improve growth rates and feed conversion in cattle.


The management process when livestock arrive at a feedlot, that ensures the health and welfare of the new arrivals and the livestock already on feed. Induction can include several procedures that can be broadly groups as traceability, health and welfare and performance.


The entrance or invasion if the body by a disease-causing agent or microorganism (bacteria, virus, parasites) that is not normally present in the body. These agents can enter the body through cuts, foreign objects, contact with other infected objects, ingestion or inhalation. The microorganism can undergo multiplication and cause ‘disease.’ The signs of an infection can include fever, swelling and heat, redness, fatigue, pain, puss or oozing from a wound and even a bad smell.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

A system of pest control that uses a combination of appropriate control measures including pesticides, cultural, mechanical and biological means. Monitoring of pest numbers is an important step in integrated management.

Intramuscular fat

Fat deposits located inside and between the skeletal muscle fibres (also known as marbling)

Kill floor

Area of an abattoir where the live animal is slaughtered.

La Niña

Is the positive phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña conditions generally result in above average rainfall over much of Australia.


Live animals includes cattle, sheep, goats.

Livestock Production Assurance (LPA)

The Australian livestock industry’s on-farm assurance program covering food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity. It provides evidence of livestock history and on-farm practices when transferring livestock through the value chain.


An animal that is grain fed in a feedlot, for an extended period of time. Usually refers to cattle that are fed for over 200 days (up to 550 days).

Lot Feeding

The process of feeding cattle on grain in a feedlot.


The solid waste produced by cattle.


Refers to the intramuscular fat deposits or flecks in the beef muscle. Marbling can be assessed from the 5th to 13th rib on the carcase. It has a positive effect on eating quality and is affected by genetics and the nutritional management of the animal.


A plant or factory where cattle are slaughtered for food (also known as a processing plant, slaughterhouse, or abattoir).

Medium fed

An animal that has been fed, in a feedlot, on grain for a period of time. Usually refers to cattle that are fed for 150 to 200 days.


The process occurring inside living cells to generate energy for growth and movement.


The process by which whole grains are cracked, rolled or ground to change the size and shape of the grain. This can increase the grain digestibility for cattle.

Muscle score

Used to describe the muscularity of cattle. Measured in a 15-point scale, however for reporting purposes, NLRS use a five-point scale from A, very heavy muscling, to E, light muscling.

National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)

Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of cattle, sheep and goats. All animals are identified with an accredited NLIS tag or device from their property of birth. As animals are bought, sold and moved along the supply chain, each movement is recorded centrally on the NLIS database. Using this information, the NLIS is able to provide a life history of an animal’s movements.

National Vendor Declaration (NVD)

Is the key tool underpinning Australia’s food safety reputation for livestock. It communicates the food safety and treatment status of every animal every time it moves along the supply chain.


In cattle, a Radio-Frequency Identification Device (RFID) with a unique individual identification number that allows an animal to traced from property of birth to slaughter through NLIS.


In cattle, the period during which a cow or heifer is willing to receive a bull. Also known as heat.


The muscular third stomach of a ruminant, between the reticulum and abomasum, also known as the ‘Bible’ due to the many leaf like absorption structures.

Over the Hook (OTH)

Refers to the marketing of cattle/sheep/lambs directly from the farm to an abattoir where a producer is paid for the value of the carcase based on a pricing grid.

P8 site

An abbreviation for ‘Position 8’ for fat assessment/depth on cattle, that reflects the percentage of fat in the carcase. The P8 site is on the rump, forward of the tail head and above the short ribs.

Pen rider

An individual who utilises a horse perform daily tasks such as riding through pens to check cattle health or move cattle around the feedlot.


A general term for chemicals which kill insects or other pests of plants, animals or products.


The process of plants converting carbon dioxide into carbohydrates by chlorophyll using the energy of sunlight.


The examination of a body after death, to determine the cause of death, and the extent of disease. Also known as an autopsy. (‘Post’ meaning after and ‘mortem’ meaning death)


Major component of a carcase. For beef these include ribs, butts, chuck and rumps, and loins.

Prime Cattle

Cattle with a carcase type that satisfy specified market requirements.


The process of taking a live animal, slaughtering it and then breaking down into saleable meat products.

Product Integrity

The ability of a product to meet or exceed a customer’s expectations of performance, quality and durability over the life of the product.


The slipping down or falling forward of a part or whole organ of the body from their normal position (e.g. rectal or vaginal prolapse).

Quality Assurance

Standards are set for a product or process that ensures that the end-product is of a predictable quality to improve its marketability.


A tapering laneway that forms part of an animal handling facility and arranges animals in single file. They can then be individually handled, drafted or given veterinary treatment.


The second stomach/chamber of a ruminant animal, with the function of collecting smaller digesta particles from the rumen and moved them to the omasum. This stomach also traps heavy/dense objects the animal consumes.


The name applied to the first stomach of ruminants. The rumen contains large numbers of microbes which help break down fibrous, low quality feed.


An animal that chews its cud and has four stomachs. Examples are sheep, cattle, goats.


A physical auction market where buyers and sellers trade cattle/sheep/lambs. Physical and store markets are conducted at a saleyard.Salinity: The level of soluble salts present in water or soil.


A disease causing diarrhoea, especially in calves. In young animals it can be fatal and usually requires prompt treatment.

Sedimentation System

A structure to remove the readily settleable fraction of the solids contained in effluent. May be a pond, basin or terrace that discharges effluent to a holding pond.

Separation Distance

The distance between a likely source of an emission (eg odour) and a receptor likely to be sensitive to that emission.

Short fed

An animal that has been fed on grain, in a feedlot, for a short period of time. Usually refers to cattle that are fed for 70–120 days.

Shrink (cattle)

the loss of weight that occurs when animals are removed from feed and/or water. The most rapid loss is in the first 12 hours without feed and water.

Shrink (commodities)

Refers to the loss of weight from commodities received to commodities utilised either through moisture loss, spoilage, damage or wastage.


a structure for the bulk storage of materials. Silos can be in the shape of towers, bunkers or bags and are commonly used to store feedstuff on feedlots.


Rest period, commonly morning and afternoon tea.


Used to describe an animal with no structural faults, such as lameness.


To remove the ovaries from a female animal to prevent breeding.

Steam Flaked

The process of applying steam to grain and milling (rolling) it to create a ‘flake’ of a desired weight. This process increases the digestibility and energy utilisation of the grain for cattle.


A castrated male bovine showing no secondary sex characteristics.

Stocking Density

A measure of the intensity with which a feedlot is stocked. This is usually expressed in terms of an area (m2) per Standard Cattle Unit (SCU) or head.

Store sale

A physical auction where cattle/sheep/lambs are bought and sold. Most of the stock offered are for breeding or future finishing.

Supply and demand

Used to describe the market forces that impact on prices within in a physical market.

Temperate breed

Used to classify cattle that originate from the temperate regions, Bos Taurus cattle

Trade buyers

Buyers representing local butchers, wholesalers and other domestic processors.

Trade steer

A yearling steer weighing between 330–400kg liveweight or between 240-260kg carcase weight. It is used as the indicator grade for cattle destined for the domestic market.

Tropical breed

Used to classify cattle that originate from the tropical regions, Bos Indicus cattle.


A measure of the clarity of water. The amount of suspended matter in a water sample or water supply.


Heifers and cows that have not been exposed to a bull in the past nine months.


A seller of goods, land, animals or other articles.


A young animal that has been recently weaned from its mother. Cattle are usually weaned at 6–9 months of age.


Separating calves from their dams (mothers) so that the offspring can no longer suckle.


A scale for weighing vehicles or groups of cattle, set into the ground and designed to be driven on to.

Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI)

Is a seven-day rolling average price of young cattle from three key cattle markets in WA. It is expressed in cents per kg carcase weight and is designed as a benchmark indicator of general cattle markets in WA.


A winter growing cereal grain plant.

Withholding Period (WHP)

The minimum period of time which must elapse between last administration or application of a pesticide or veterinary medicine (including treated feed) and the slaughter, collection, harvest or use of the animal or crop commodity for human consumption.


Slang term for Bos Indicus cattle


Young animal, fully weaned without permanent incisor teeth and the animal does not show any secondary sex characteristics. Approximately 12 to 24 months of age.

Young cattle

The vealer and yearling component of cattle. Includes both steers and heifers.