packing plant - Facility in which cattle are slaughtered and processed.

paddock - A pasture subdivision within a grazing unit.

palatability - Degree to which food (e.g., beef) is acceptable to the taste or sufficiently agreeable in flavor, juiciness and tenderness to be eaten.

palpation - Feeling or examining by hand (e.g., the reproductive tract is palpated for reproductive soundness or pregnancy diagnosis).

parasite - Organism that lives a part of its life cycle in or on, and at the expense of, another organism.  Parasites of farm animals live at the expense of the animals.

parity - Number of different times a female has had offspring.

parrot mouth - Upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw.

partial budget - Budget that includes only those revenue and expense items that would change as a result of a proposed change in the business.

parturition - Process of giving birth.

pasture rotation - Rotation of animals from one pasture to another so that some pasture areas have no livestock grazing on them during certain periods of time.

patchy - Uneven fat accumulations, usually lumps of exterior fat around the tailhead and pin bones.

paternal - Refers to the sire or bull.

pathogen - Biologic agent (e.g., bacteria, virus, protozoa, nematode) that may produce disease or illness.

paunch - See rumen.

paunchy - Heavy middled.

pay weight - Actual weight for which payment is made.  In many cases, it is the shrunk weight (actual weight - pencil shrink).

pedigree - Records of the ancestry of an animal.

pelvic area - Size of pelvic opening determined by measuring pelvic width and length and used to predict calving difficulty.

pen rider - Person who rides through feedlot pens and checks cattle.

pencil shrink - Deduction from an animal's weight, often expressed as a percentage of liveweight, to account for fill (usually 3% for off-pasture weights and 4% for fed-cattle weights).

pendulous - Hanging loosely.

percent calf crop - The percentage of calves produced within a herd in a given year relative to the number of cows and heifers exposed to breeding.

per capita - Per person.

performance data - Records on individual animal's reproduction, production, and possibly carcass merit.  Traits included are birth, weaning, and yearling weights; calving ease; calving interval; milk production; and others.

performance pedigree - Includes the performance records of ancestors, half- and full sibs, and progeny in addition to the usual ancestoral pedigree information.  The performance information is systematically combined to list estimated breeding values on the pedigrees by some breed associations.

performance test - Evaluation of an animal according to its performance.

pharmaceutical - Medicinal drug.

phenotype - Characteristics of an animal that can be seen and (or) measured (e.g., presence or absence of horns, color, or weight).

phenotypic correlations - Correlations between two traits caused by both genetic and environmental influences.  See correlation coefficient.

pheromones - Chemical substances that attract the opposite sex.

photoperiod - Time period when light is present.

pituitary - Small endocrine gland located at the base of the brain.

placenta - Membranes that form around the embryo and attach to the uterus.  See also afterbirth.

Plains states - Includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota and the eastern parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana; often referred to as the “Beef Belt.”

pluck - Organs of the thoracic cavity (e.g., heart and lungs).

pneumonia - Inflammation or infection of alveoli of the lungs caused by either bacteria or viruses.

polled - Naturally or genetically hornless.

pons - Accumulation of fat over pin bones.

portion-controlled beef products - Retail cuts of beef that meet size and form specifications.

postnatal - See postpartum.

postpartum - After birth.

postpartum interval - Days from calving until the cow returns to estrus, or days from calving until cow is pregnant again.

pounds of retail cuts per day of age - A measure of cutability and growth combined; it is calculated as follows:  cutability times carcass weight divided by age in days.

pounds of calf weaned per cow exposed - Calculated by multiplying percent calf crop by the average weaning weight of calves.

preconditioning - Preparation of feeder calves for marketing and shipment; may include vaccinations, castration, and training calves to eat and drink in pens.

prenatal - Prior to being born; before birth.

prepotent - Ability of a parent to transmit its characteristics to its offspring so that they resemble that parent, or each other, more than usual.  Homozygous dominant individuals are prepotent.  Also, inbred cattle tend to be more prepotent than outbred cattle.

price cycle - Traditional or historic changes in prices (usually by months, seasons, or years).

price discovery - Process that shows how the specific price for a given quantity and quality of beef is determined.

primal cuts - Wholesale cuts--round, loin, flank, rib, chuck, brisket, plate, and shank.

production testing - Evaluation of an animal based on its production record.

progeny - Offspring of the parents.

progeny testing - Evaluation of an animal based on the performance of its offspring.

progesterone - Hormone produced by the corpus luteum that stimulates progestational proliferation in the uterus of the female.

prolapse - Abnormal protrusion of part of an organ, such as the uterus or rectum.

prostaglandins - Chemical mediators that control many physiological and biochemical functions in the body.  One prostaglandin, PGF2?, can be used to synchronize estrus.

prostate - Gland of the male reproductive tract located just behind the bladder that secretes a fluid that becomes a part of semen at ejaculation.

protein - Substance made up of amino acids that contains approximately 16% nitrogen (based on molecular weight).

protein supplement - Any dietary component containing a high concentration (at least 25%) of protein.

puberty - Age at which the reproductive organs become functionally operative.

purebred - Animal eligible for registry with a recognized breed association.

purveyor - Firm that purchases beef (usually from a packer), then performs some fabrication before selling the beef to another firm.

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