A cow is an adult female animal that has had one or more calves. A suckler cow is the mother of a calf raised for beef production while the term dam is simply used to describe the mother of a calf.
A heifer is a young female animal before she has had a calf or in lactation following the first calving. Occasionally the term, first-calf heifer is used to describe a young female that has had only one calf.
A heiferette is a heifer that has calved once and can’t calve again.
Bulling or Maiden heifer are terms that are sometimes used to refer to an animal that isn’t pregnant.
Calf is used to describe cattle (male or female) that are less than a year old. Between 1 and 2 years of age the animal will be known as a yearling. In some parts of the world this is further broken down into short yearling -when the animal is over a year but under 18 months and long yearling – when the animal is between 19 months and 2 years of age.
A Spring is used to describe a cow or heifer that is close to calving.
Store cattle are growing animals that are usually up to 2 years old that are bought and then finished. Depending where you are in the world, you may come across the term feeder cattle. This term also refers to animals that require more growth/fattening before slaughter. When they are ready for slaughter they are finished cattle.
Cross-breed is an animal that is a product of crossing two or more breeds. This is done to get the best facets of several breeds into one animal.
A bull is a sexually mature male that hasn’t been castrated. A young male calve (typically under 20 months of age) and/or is castrated is called a bullock.
A steer or Bullock is also a castrated male animal.
Breeds mainly used for beef are Aberdeen Angus, Aubrac, Beef Shorthorn, Belgian Blue, Belted Galloway, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Brahman, Charolais, Chianina, Devon, Galloway, Hereford, Highland, Limousin, Lincoln Red, Longhorn, Maine Anjou, Parthenais, Piedmontese, Salers and Welsh Black.
Breeds primarily used for dairy Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Holstein / Friesian and Jersey.
These breeds include; British White, Brown Swiss, Danish Red, Dextor, Fleckvieh, Irish Moiled, Kerry, Montbéliarde, Norwegian Red, Red Poll, Rotbunt and Simmental.