dam - Female parent.

dark cutter - Color of the lean (muscle) in the carcass has a dark appearance, usually caused by stress (excitement) to the animal prior to slaughter.

deflation - General decrease in prices that increases the purchasing power of a dollar.

dehorn - To remove the horns of an animal.

deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) - Molecule that comprises the genetic material of animals.  Genes are units of DNA.  See also gene.

depreciation - Decrease in the value of an asset due to age, use, and obsolescence; the prorated expense of owning an asset.

dewclaws - Hard, horny structures above the hoof on the rear surface of the legs of cattle.

dewlap - Loose skin under the chin and neck of cattle.

digestibility - Quality of being digestible.  If a high percentage of a given food taken into the digestive tract is absorbed into the body, that food is said to have high digestibility.

direct selling - Selling cattle from one ranch to another, from ranch to feedlot, or from feedlot to packer.

disease - Any deviation from the normal state of health.

DM - See dry matter.

DNA - See deoxyribonucleic acid.

DNA markers - Areas of the genome at which differences in the DNA sequence can be visually detected.  A marker locus by itself may not have a direct effect on a phenotypic trait, but it may be located close to a gene that does directly affect a trait.  Markers can serve as location reference points for gene mapping and marker-assisted selection.

DNA probe - A method to determine an animal’s genotype for a particular gene or marker.

dominance - One allele masks the effect of another (recessive) allele.

double-entry accounting - System of bookkeeping in which every transaction is recorded as a debit in one or more accounts and as a credit in one or more accounts such that the total of the debit entries equals the total of the credit entries.

double muscling - A simple recessive trait evidenced by an enlargement of the muscles with large grooves between the muscle systems, especially noticeable in the hind leg.

drench - To give fluid by mouth.

dressed beef - Carcasses from cattle.

dressing percentage - Percentage of the live animal weight that becomes the carcass weight at slaughter.  It is determined by dividing the carcass weight by the liveweight then multiplying by 100.  Also referred to as yield.

drop - Body parts removed at slaughter, primarily the hide, head, shanks, and offal.

drop credit - Value of the drop.

dropped - Being born (e.g., "the calf is dropped").

dry (cow) - Refers to a nonlactating female.

dry matter - Feed after water (moisture) has been removed (100% dry).

dystocia - Difficult birth; see calving difficulty.

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Mark Spurgin
Nebraska Rancher