Common Agricultural Terms for the Landowner

Quite often we are asked by our readers for a glossary of terms on a particular subject.  Here is one that should be of considerable interest to all landowners  whether you are farming or not.

  1. Composting – the controlled aerobic decomposition of raw organic material.
  2. Conservation Crop Rotation – a system for growing several different crops in planned succession on the same field.
  3. Conservation Drainage – refers to several emerging technologies and methods that provide the benefits of conventional agricultural drainage.
  4. Conservation Planning – involves assessing a farm’s natural resource challenges and opportunities and identifying appropriate conservation practices.
  5. Conservation Tillage – any method of soil cultivation that leaves the previous year’s crop residue on fields.
  6. Contour Buffer Strips are permanent, narrow bands of grasses/legumes planted on the contour between wider strips of crops farmed on a contour and are designed to reduce soil erosion and runoff on sloped fields.
  7. Contour Farming – growing crops “on the level” across or perpendicular to a slope rather than up and down the slope.
  8. Contour Stripcropping – growing strips of row crops such as corn and soybeans alternate in a planned rotation with equal-width strips.
  9. Controlled Burning – the intentional periodic use of fire to manage perennial vegetation.
  10. Cover Crops – grasses, legumes, forbs or other herbaceous plants that provide seasonal cover on cropland.
  11. Dead Animal Composting – involves specialized on-farm facilities and practices to completely compost livestock/poultry carcasses on the farm or safely store them until they can be removed for off-farm disposal.
  12. Fencing – is most often used for pasture management and to exclude livestock from cropland as well as environmentally sensitive areas.
  13. Feedlot Runoff Control Systems – integrated structures and practices for collecting, storing and treating livestock manure and feed wastes.
  14. Feedlot/Wastewater Filter Strips – areas of grassy vegetation engineered to receive and treat feedlot wastewater.
  15. Field Border – a type of conservation buffer consisting of a grassy border along one or more edges of a field.
  16. Forestry/Woodlot Management – the art and science of tending forests, woodlots, tree plantations or agroforestry plantings …
  17. Grass Planting – establishing or restoring permanent, perennial conservation cover consisting of native or non-native grass mixes.
  18. Grass Waterway – a type of conservation buffer, designed to prevent soil erosion while draining runoff water from adjacent cropland.
  19. Grassland Management – keeps grass stands healthy so they continue to provide long-term conservation benefits.
  20. Gully/Grade Stabilization – an embankment or spillway built across a drainageway to prevent soil erosion.
  21. Habitat, Duck Nesting – provide various duck species with critical nesting and brooding habitat.
  22. Habitat, General – preserves natural upland or wetland ecosystems and the plants and animals that thrive there.
  23. Habitat, Pheasant – attracts and supports healthy pheasant populations by ensuring adequate food, water and cover.
  24. Habitat, Rare & Declining – ecosystems that once flourished but now are severely diminished or degraded.
  25. Invasive Species Management – specialized weed management strategies to suppress invasive plant species.
  26. Irrigation Water Management – primarily aims to control the volume and frequency of irrigation water applied to crops.
  27. Livestock Exclusion or Access Control – the temporary or permanent exclusion of livestock from a designated area
  28. Livestock Watering Systems – ensure that livestock have ready access to clean drinking water from sources such streams, ponds, springs or wells.
  29. Manure/Ag Waste Facility Cover – rigid, semi-rigid covers or flexible membranes designed to prevent spills and control odors.
  30. Manure/Ag Waste Storage – pit, lagoon or above-ground structure that safely holds manure or other ag waste.
  31. Manure Digester – collects manure and convert the energy stored in its organic matter into methane, which is used to produce energy.
  32. Manure Management – planning ensures careful handling and use of livestock manure to obtain its full value as a crop nutrient.
  33. Manure Storage Abandonment – permanently removing facilities that are no longer used or can no longer serve their intended purpose.
  34. Milkhouse Wastewater Treatment – systems involve specialized technologies and processes to treat milking-related wastewater.
  35. Nutrient Management – using crop nutrients as efficiently as possible to improve productivity while protecting the environment.
  36. Pasture and Hay Planting – establishing or re-establishing long-term stands of native or introduced grasses/legumes for livestock forage.
  37. Pest Management – in agriculture involves the safe and environmentally sound use of pesticides to control crop pests.
  38. Riparian Buffer, Forested – linear multiple-row plantings of trees, shrubs and grass designed primarily for water quality and wildlife habitat purposes.
  39. Riparian Buffer, Grass Filter Strip – strips of grass and/or legumes,typically 20 feet to 120 feet wide, planted next to a water body.
  40. Roof Runoff Management – specially designed high-capacity gutters, downspouts and outlets to collect rain and snowmelt from roofs.
  41. Rotational Grazing – is a management-intensive system of raising livestock on subdivided pastures called paddocks.
  42. Stream Crossing – stabilized fords, culverts or bridges that allow livestock, people, equipment or vehicles to cross a stream …
  43. Stream Habitat – is restoring or enhancing stream ecology to support desired fish and other aquatic species.
  44. Streambank  & Lakeshore Protection– using vegetation or materials such as riprap or gabions to stabilize stream, river or …
  45. Terraces – earthen embankments, ridges or ridge-and-channels built across a slope to intercept runoff water and reduce soil erosion.
  46. Tree/Shrub Planting – for conservation purposes is establishing perennial woody plants for reforestation, habitat restoration, tree or forest farming, riparian buffers, windbreaks, or floodplain wetland restoration
  47. Water and Sediment Control Basin – (WASCOB) small earthen ridge-and-channel or embankment built across a small watercourse within a field.
  48. Water Well – a hole drilled, dug, or driven into an aquifer to provide water for various agricultural uses.
  49. Well Sealing – permanently closing a well that is no longer used or is deemed unsafe.
  50. Wetland Restoration – reestablishes or repairs the hydrology, plants and soils of a former or degraded wetland …
  51. Wetlands, Constructed – are man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands.
  52. Wind Erosion Control – practices reduce soil erosion by slowing wind speed, which prevents soil particles from detaching and becoming airborne.
  53. Windbreak, Field – linear plantings of trees/shrubs designed to reduce wind speed in open fields.
  54. Windbreak, Living Snow Fences – trees/shrubs planted strategically along roads to trap snow and keep it from blowing and drifting.
  55. Windbreak, Shelterbelt – windbreaks designed to protect farmsteads and livestock from wind and blowing snow.

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