Agricultural Terminology
































  • Dormant Seeding

    Broadcasting seed onto frozen or snow covered ground. The freezing and thawing (heaving) process causes the seed to be worked into the soil, making germination possible at the first favorable weather conditions. (see Frost Seeding)

  • Diploid

    A plant with 2 sets of chromosomes.

  • Drought Stress

    Stress placed on plants during dryer than normal conditions.

  • Drought Tolerance

    Plants that may survive during dryer than normal conditions are said to be 'Drought Tolerant'.


  • Endophyte

    A living fungi growing in certain types of grasses. In turfgrass it is often a fungus that repels insects or pests. Many endophytes are toxic to livestock and other animal species. Endophytes are relatively short-lived if seed is stored in less than optimal conditions.

  • Emergence

    the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed such as a seed germinating and emerging through the soil surface.


  • Fallow

    Land that is plowed and left unseeded for one or more seasons

  • Fodder

    Also known as 'Forage'. Herbaceous plants or plant parts which are fed to livestock or domestic animals.

  • Foliage

    The leaves, branches or needles growing on a tree, shrub, grass or other plant.

  • Forage

    Also known as 'Fodder'. Herbaceous plants or plant parts which are fed to livestock or domestic animals.

  • Frost Seeding

    (See Dormant Seeding)

  • Fructan

    a type of sugar found in cool-season grasses, that is an important source of stored energy


  • Germination Rate

    The number of days it takes for a plant to begin rising from its seed once planted.

  • Grass Tetany

    A magnesium deficiency in cattle or sheep caused by a lack of magnesium in the forage grass they've eaten. Animals may exhibit symptoms such as staggers, convulsions, coma and frequently death.

  • Green Chop

    Forage which is harvested mechanically and fed to livestock while it is still fresh and moist.

  • Green Manure

    Crops which are grown to be plowed under to improve the soil.


  • Hard Seed

    Seed with a coating that does not allow for water or oxygen to permeate it, prohibiting germination from occurring. Common in legume seed. Scarification process can make hard seed able to germinate.

  • Haylage

    A feed that is halfway between hay and silage. The feed is cut when green, chopped small (0.5 to 1 inch) wilted and then stored in a special airtight tower silo, pit or long pile. Because of the high moisture level and air-tight environment, the forage ferments and is preserved by acid production during fermentation.

  • Herbicide

    A chemical used to control weeds.

  • High Sugar Grass (HSG)

    Plants featuring high levels of water soluble carbohydrates. To be considered a high sugar variety the forage should feature water soluble carbohydrate levels that are a minimum of 25% higher than standard cultivars of like kind and ploidy. These plants allow ruminant animals to more effectively utilize and digest the nutrients in the dry matter when eaten, The subsequent results of HSG forage is the prodution or more milk or meat, healthier plants, and less nitrogen loss.


  • Intermediate

    A cross between an annual and a perennial. Often referred to as a 'Short-lived Perennial' or a 'Long-lived Annual'.

  • Italian Ryegrass

    Biennial plant of the family Gramineae (Lolium multiflorum) requiring vernalization to complete its life cycle or produce seed. Italian ryegrass may perform as a true annual if vernalization occurs too early.


There are currently no terms in this category.


There are currently no terms in this category.


  • Laminitis

    inflammation of sensitive laminae in the hoof of a horse caused by trauma, infection, parturition, and some forages

  • Leaching

    in agriculture when water percolates through the soil causing nutrient loss

  • Legume

    From the plant family Leguminosae. Legumes characteristically form nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots which make use of atmospheric nitrogen.

  • Loam

    soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt and organic matter

  • Long-lived Annual

    An annual that may survive longer than one year but not as persistent as a perennial.


  • Micronutrient

    Nutrients and elements that are essential for plant growth but are needed in very small quantities. Also called trace elements. These are iron, manganese, boron, copper, zinc, and molybdenum.

  • Microbe

    any microscopic organism, especially a disease-causing bacterium


  • Neutral Soil

    Soil that is neither acid or alkaline, with pH levels between 6.6 and 7.3.

  • Nematode

    any unsegmented worm of the phylum Nematoda, existing in soil and water, some of which are parasitic on plants and animals

  • No-till

    a method for planting crops without plowing, using herbicides to control weeds in order to reduce soil erosion and preserve soil nutrients


  • Organic

    Plants which have been grown without the use of (synthetic) pesticides, fungicides, or inorganic fertilizers, and prepared without the use of preservatives. Certified Organic foodstuffs must be grown on land that has not been treated with chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides for at least three years.

  • Organic Matter

    Broken down organic material which comes form plants and animals in the environment now decomposing (or decomposed) in the soil. A collective term, used to encompass all of this broken down organic material.

  • Ornamental

    Plants grown for their beauty or for decorative purposes.

  • Overseeding

    Planting more seeds into an existing plant population. Used in turf and forage situations to crowd or prevent weed infestations and to introduce more beneficial plant material. Often done instead of complete renovation to save time, money, and energy.


  • Palatability

    The willingness of animals to eat certain feed or plants in preference to others, which may be based on factors other than taste, e.g. smell, appearance, ease of access to or texture of plant material.

  • Perennial

    Plants with a life cycle of several years.

  • pH

    A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil. Numerically equal to 7.0 for a neutral soil, the pH value increases with higher alkalinity and decreases with higher acidity.

  • Pythium blight

    Also known as grease spot and cottony blight, is a highly destructive turfgrass disease caused by several different pythium species. All naturally cultivated cool-season turfgrasses are susceptible to Pythium. Whole stands of turfgrass can be destroyed in only a few days if conditions are right.


There are currently no terms in this category.


  • Renovation

    The complete elimination and replanting of a plant population. Generally done when the existing plant population is no longer productive, has excessive weed infestations, or a change of specie(s) is desired.

  • Rhizome

    Part of the plant growing horizontally underground which is capable of producing the upward shoot and downward root systems of a new plant. Rhizomes allow plants to propagate vegetatively (asexually) and survive during unfavorable conditions.

  • Root

    The part of the plant which grows below the soil surface.

  • Root Hair

    Tiny hair-like growth that occurs on the surface of plant roots. These delicate hairs can provide larger surface areas in turn creating greater opportunities for water, mineral and nutrient absorption which benefit the plant.

  • Ruminant

    Any animal, including cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and antelopes, which have a stomach with four complete cavities (rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum), through which the food passes in digestion

  • Rust

    A disease that comes in a number of deferent strains. A few of the more common rusts that occur on cool-season grasses include stem, stripe, crown, and leaf rust. There are differences among these different strains with respect to the symptoms and portion of the plant affected, however, they generally occur under the same environmental conditions.


  • Saline Soil

    Soils with high levels of soluble salts, but not excessively alkaline.

  • Scarification

    The process of mechanically roughing up the seed coat on 'hard' seed to allow germination to occur.

  • Short-lived Perennial

    A plant that tends to live only a few years.

  • Silage

    Forage cured and stored in a moist condition through partial fermentation void of oxygen. Moisture content is generally around 65%.

  • Sod

    A layer of grass-covered surface soil held together by matted roots.

  • Soft-leaved

    In reference to forage tall fescue, soft-leaved refers to the softer edges of the leaf blades. Typically tall fescue leaf blade edges are very rough and can cause abrasions or cuts if running fingers (or tongues in the case of livestock) down the sides of the blade. Varieties of tall fescue which have been bred for softer leaf blade edges have shown to be more palatable.

  • Spreading Growth Habit

    The horizontal growth pattern of plants as they develop.

  • Spring Green-up

    When new buds sprout, new leaves unfurl, and grasses start to green-up after winter.

  • Stolon

    An above ground stem, which can form roots and new plants at intervals along the surface of the ground.

  • Summer Annual

    A plant whose complete life cycle occurs within the summer months.

  • Summer Dormancy

    A state of non-growth that grasses may experience during hot summer months. Leaves typically turn brown and appear dead. Regrowth occurs when adequate moisture returns or is applied.

  • Sward

    A lawn or meadow covered in grass.

  • Silt

    fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water and deposited as sediment


  • Tetraploid

    A plant with 4 sets of chromosomes.

  • Tiller

    A branch or shoot which originates at the basal node in grasses.

  • Tolerance

    A plant's ability to withstand certain adverse conditions.


There are currently no terms in this category.


  • Variety

  • Vernalization

    The exposure to several weeks of cool temperatures required by some plants to initiate bud formation or new growth.


  • Warm Season Grass

    Plants which grow vigorously when soil temperatures are above 65 degrees F and go dormant (turns brown) in cool weather.

  • Weed

    An invasive, difficult or unattractive plant growing in an area that is unwanted.

  • Westerwold Ryegrass

    Annual plant of the family Gramineae (Lolium multiflorum) which does not require vernalization to complete its life cycle or produce seed.

  • Winter Annual

    A plant whose complete life cycle occurs within the cooler months of the year.


There are currently no terms in this category.


There are currently no terms in this category.


There are currently no terms in this category.

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