S

scale - (1) Size of cattle.  (2) Equipment on which an animal is weighed.

scours - Diarrhea; profuse watery discharge from the intestines.

scrotal circumference - Measure of testes size obtained by measuring the distance around the testicles in the scrotum with a circular tape.  Related to the bull's semen-producing capacity and age at puberty of his daughters.

scrotum - Pouch that contains the testicles.  Also a thermoregulatory organ that contracts when cold and relaxes when warm, thus tending to keep the testes at a lower temperature than that of the body.

scurs - Small growths of hornlike tissue attached to the skin of polled or dehorned animls.

seam fat - See intermuscular fat.

seedstock - Breeding animals.  Sometimes used interchangeably with purebred.

seedstock breeders - producers of breeding stock for purebred and commercial breeders.

Select - USDA carcass quality grade between Choice and Standard.  It replaced the Good grade in 1988.

selection - Differential reproduction (e.g., a bull or cow may leave several, one, or no offspring in a herd).

selection differential (reach) - Difference between the average for a trait in selected animals and the average of the group from which they come.  Also called reach.

selection index - Formula that combines performance records from several traits or different measurements of the same trait into a single value for each animal.  A selection index combines traits after balancing their relative net economic importance, their heritabilities, and the genetic association among the traits.

self-management - Managing oneself as part of human resource management (e.g., time management, information management, self-motivation, honesty).

semen - Fluid containing sperm that is ejaculated by the male.  Secretions from the seminal vesicles, prostate gland, bulbourethral glands, and urethral glands provide most of the fluid.

seminal vesicles - Accessory sex glands of the male that provide a portion of the fluid of semen.

served - Female is bred but not guaranteed pregnant.

service - To breed or mate.

settle - To become pregnant.

shipping fever - Widespread respiratory disease of cattle.

short yearling - Animal is over 1 year of age but under 18 months of age.

"show list" or "show pens" - Slaughter cattle that are ready for the cattle feeder to "show" the packer buyers.

shrink - Loss of weight; commonly used in the loss of liveweight when animals are marketed.

sib - Brother or sister.

sick pen - Isolated pen in a feedlot where cattle are treated after they have been removed from a feedlot pen.  Sometimes referred to as a hospital pen.

sickle hocked - Hocks that have too much set, causing the hind feet to be too far forward and too far under the animal.

silage - Forage, corn fodder, or sorghum preserved by fermentation that produces acids similar to the acids used to make pickled foods for people.

sire - Male parent.

sire summary - Published results of national sire evaluation programs that give EPDs and accuracies for several economically important traits.  Several major breed associations publish their own sire summaries.

size - Usually refers to weight, sometimes to height.

skins - See hides.

skirt - Diaphragm muscle in the beef carcass.

software - Program instructions to make computer hardware function.

sonoray - See ultrasound.

soundness - Degree of freedom from injury or defect. 

SPA - See Standard Performance Analysis.

spay - To remove the ovaries.

sperm - A mature male germ cell.

specifications - A detailed description, with numerical designations, of animal performance or product quantity.

spermatogenesis - Process of spermatozoa formation.

splay footed - See toeing out.

stag - Castrated male that has reached sexual maturity prior to castration.

standard deviation - For traits having a normal distribution characterized by a bell shaped curve, 68% of the population = mean (average) ? 1 standard deviation, 95% = mean ? 2 standard deviations, and 99% = mean ? 3 standard deviations.

Standard Performance Analysis (SPA) - Program to determine the unit cost of production for the cow-calf enterprise.

steer - Bovine male castrated prior to puberty.

sterility - Inability to produce offspring.

stifle - Joint of the hindleg between the femur and tibia.

stifled - Injury of the stifle joint.

stillborn - Offspring born dead without previously breathing.

stocker - Weaned cattle that are fed high-roughage diets (including grazing) before going into the feedlot.

stocking rate - The number of animals, animal units or total animal liveweight assigned to a grazing unit for an extended period of time.  Stocking rates are usually expressed on a per-acre basis.

stocking density - The number of animals, animal units or total animal liveweight present at a particular point in time on a defined area (paddock).  Stocking density is usually defined on a per-acre basis.

stockpiling - The practice of allowing forage to accumulate for grazing at a later date.  Most commonly done with late summer and fall forage growth for fall and (or) winter grazing.

strip grazing - The practice of dividing a larger pasture into strips with movable fences to control grazing access.

straightbred - Animal whose parentage has been from one breed.

stress - Unusual or abnormal influence causing a change in an animal's function, structure, or behavior.

subcutaneous - Situated beneath, or occurring beneath, the skin.  A subcutaneous injection is an injection made under the skin.

subprimal cuts - Smaller-than-primal cuts, such as when the primal round is split into top round, bottom round, eye round, and sirloin tip.  Subprimal cuts are used in boxed beef programs.

success - Progressive realization of predetermined, worthwhile goals that are based on true principles.

suckling gain - Gain that a young animal makes from birth until it is weaned.

superovulation - Hormonally induced ovulation in which a greater-than-normal number of eggs are typically produced.

sweetbread - Edible by-product also known as the pancreas.

switch - Tuft of long hair at the end of the tail.

syndactyly - Union of two or more digits; for example, in cattle the two toes would be a solid hoof.

Synovex® - Growth implant containing estradiol.  Different types are used in calves (Synovex-C®), feeder steers (Synovex-S®), and feeder heifers (Synovex-H®).

synthetic breeds - See composite breed.

systems analysis - See management systems.

"As individuals, we have limited resources...

...to aid in keeping the "wolves" such as government, environmental and radical groups, off of our door steps. NCBA is there every day protecting our industry."

Become a Member

Mark Spurgin
Nebraska Rancher