Local Line’s Agriculture 101 Glossary

Local Line Glossary

Ever wondered what some terms actually mean? Whether you’re a seasoned farmer or just starting out, we’re here to help! Here is our farming glossary:

Aquaculture – the rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of aquatic plants for food.

Aquaponics – a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures is used as the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. A circular system.

Agroecology – an ecological approach to agriculture that views agricultural areas as ecosystems and focuses on improving the ecological impact of agricultural practices.

Agronomy – the study or science of crop production and soil management.

Apiary – colonies of bees in hives for the production of honey.

Bovine – another word for cattle.

Bushel – a unit of dry measure (1 cubic food) for grain, fruit, etc. It is equal to 8 gallons.

Broadcasting – random scattering of seeds over the surface of the ground.

Cash crop – the amount of sellable product a farmer has raised in crop or livestock in a season.

Cellulose – an insoluble substance which is the main constituent of plant cell walls and of vegetable fibres. It is indigestible by most animals.

Commodity Crop – this term is used to describe crops that are traded internationally. Commodity crops include corn, wheat, grains.

Compaction – compression of air spaces in the soil using heavy machinery.

Complete Fertilizer – a fertilizer containing the three macronutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) in sufficient amounts to sustain plant growth.

Cradle – a tool used for gathering crops for harvest.

CSA – the term defines community supported agriculture. It is a food production system that directly connects farmers and consumers. A consumer buys “shares” of a farm’s harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops when their harvested. The term can also be described for an individual’s farm program.

Disk – a tool used to prepare the soil for planting by cutting the soil with rotating metal disks.

E-commerce – commercial transactions that occur entirely on the internet.

Erosion – to wear away topsoil by water or wind.  Can also be caused by intensive farming and overgrazing.

Fallow – left without tilling or sowing after plowing.

Field Capacity – The moisture content of soil in the field as measured two or three days after a thorough wetting of a well-drained soil by rain or irrigation water.

Forage – vegetable matter, fresh or preserved, which is gathered and fed to animals as roughage.

Flail – a wooden bar with a wooden handle used for removing grain or seeds from stalks.

Hock – back leg of cattle.

Humus – sticky, brown part of the soil that comes from deceased plants and animals. It is very rich in nutrients.

Hydroponic – plants grown in water containing essential nutrients. This process is being used as an alternative to using soil.

Intensive Grazing – the practice of rotating livestock between pastures to reduce overgrazing.

Leaching  – the process of removal of soluble materials by the passage of water through soil.

Legumes – a type of plant which has nodules formed by bacteria on its roots. This bacteria can fix nitrogen into a bioavailable form that can be used by the plant to grow.

Mill – a machine used to grind grain for food.

Monoculture – growing the same crop or livestock continuously without rotating pastures.

Nitrogen Fixing – within the nitrogen cycle, it is process of nitrogen changing into a more bioavailable form.

No till – a method of growing grain where the field is not plowed before planting.

Nodule – a bulb on the root of a legume that contains specialized bacteria that fix nitrogen to make it bioavailable.

Organic – produced or grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.

pH – measurement that indicates the acidity of a substance. Often used to determine the acidity of soil.

Polyculture growing multiple crops in one pasture or field. This is the opposite of monoculture.

Rendering plant – location where lard, tallow, and oil are extracted from animal parts during butchering.

Rumen – the first large compartment of the stomach of cattle. It contains specialized bacteria and protozoa break down cellulose.

Scythe – a blade with a long handle that is used to cut grass, grain and other crops on the field.

Silage – a mixture of chopped, raw materials such as field corn, sorghum, grass or clover. It is placed in an airtight container where it is compressed to exclude air and undergoes acid fermentation. This is converted into winter feed for different livestock.

Yield – the amount of crop produced in a given time period.


See a term missing? Want to help us build this index? Send us a note at info@localline.ca.

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