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Active Carbon Active carbon is the part of soil organic matter that is readily available as a carbon and energy source for soil life, i.e. the soil microbial community.
Bulk density Bulk density is defined as the ratio of dry soil mass to volume (including pore spaces).
Electrical conductivity Electrical conductivity is the ability of a material to transmit (conduct) an electrical current and is commonly expressed in units of milliSiemens per meter (mS/m). In soils it is a measurement which is correlated with soil properties that affect crop productivity, including soil texture, cation exchange capacity (CEC), drainage conditions, organic matter level, salinity, and subsoil characteristics.
Field water holding capacity Field water holding capacity is the amount of water remaining in the soil, which had been saturated, after drainage has ceased, i.e. after all excess water has been removed by gravitational forces.
Inorganic nitrogen Inorganic nitrogen is the readily available form of nitrogen that can be taken up by plants and soil life. It originates from organic nitrogen that was converted through mineralisation to mainly two mineral forms: ammonium and nitrate. It is also sometimes referred to as available nitrogen.
Mineralisation Mineralisation refers to the process by which organic compounds in the soil are converted to plant-available inorganic forms.
Organic matter Organic matter in soil is made up of dead plant and animal residues.
Porosity Porosity is that part of the soil volume that is not occupied by soil particles or organic matter. The porosity of a soil depends on several factors, including bulk density, particle size distribution, movement of roots, worms, and insects as well as expanding gases trapped within these spaces by groundwater
Soil fertility Soil fertility is the quality of a soil that enables it to provide essential nutrients in quantities or proportions sufficient for plant growth. Soils exhibit a variable ability to supply the nutrients needed by plants. This characteristic allows soils to be classified according to their level of fertility.
Soil life Soil life is every single micro-organism, insect and small animal that lives in the soil.
Soil quality Soil quality is a measurement of the soils ability to perform various functions (providing a habitat for plants and soil life, nutrient cycling, water storage, filtering and buffering excess nutrients) under changing conditions.
Soil respiration Soil respiration refers to the production of carbon dioxide when soil organisms respire due to the decomposition of soil organic matter by the soil life. Temperature, moisture, nutrient content and level of oxygen in the soil affect the rate of soil respiration and therefore can cause extremely distinct rates of respiration.
Soil type Soil type refers to the proportions of sand, silt and clay in the soil.
Total Carbon Total carbon refers to the carbon held within the soil. Carbon is stored in the soil organic matter.
Total nitrogen Total nitrogen refers to the nitrogen stored in the soil in various forms e.g. organic forms (proteins and amino acids) and inorganic forms (ammonium and nitrate).
Total water holding capacity Total water holding capacity is the total available space in the soil which water can fill. When all the soil pores are filled with water the soil is said to be saturated and there is no air left in the soil. This amount of water is the total water holding capacity.
Water use efficiency Water use efficiency is a measure of how efficiently water is being used to be effectively converted into products. It is a measure of the value of production per unit of water used.
Carbon dioxide equivalents Carbon dioxide equivalents are a measure used to equate all greenhouse gases to each other in a carbon footprint, based on the gases global warming potential relative to carbon dioxide.
Carbon footprint A carbon footprint is a tool which measures of the amount of greenhouse gases an individual, organization or business releases into the atmosphere over a specified period of time, normally a year. It is used to record all of the sources of greenhouse gases, which are then equated to carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and gives a total amount of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted.
Carbon sequestration Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing of carbon. It is used specifically relating to mitigation of climate change through the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and it being stored.
Greenhouse gas Greenhouse gases are chemical compounds which are found in the earth’s atmosphere. They allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere, which then reflects off of the earth’s surface as heat. Greenhouse gases trap this heat, not allowing it to escape from the atmosphere, having a warming effect on the earth.
Acid detergent fibre (ADF) Acid detergent fibre consists of cellulose, lignin, lignified nitrogen compounds, and insoluble ash. Acid detergent fiber does not represent the total fiber content in feed, as it does not account for hemicellulose.
Amino acids Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 different amino acids and each protein is made up of a unique sequence of these 20 amino acids.
Bypass protein Bypass protein is the portion of feed protein that is not degraded by the rumen microbes and remains intact as it passes through the rumen. Bypass protein is also referred to as: un-degradable intake protein or escape protein.
Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for animals. They are a source of energy to the microorganisms in the rumen of ruminants. Carbohydrates make up the largest proportion of an animal’s diet.
Crude protein Crude protein is the total amount of protein, including rumen digestible protein, bypass protein and non-protein nitrogen, and is calculated by multiplying the Nitrogen concentration in a feed by 6.25.
Feed energy Energy is required by animals for maintenance, growth, reproduction/pregnancy and milk production. Energy is measured in Mega joules (MJ).
Fibre Fibre is one of the more important nutrients in a ruminant diet because of its role in maintaining rumen function and animal health.
Metabolisable energy Metabolisable energy is the energy remaining in digested feed after losses, not related to growth and production (faeces, urine, gases and body heat), have been accounted for.
Mineral balancing A method of comparing the amount of nutrients/minerals which are imported and removed from a farm, providing a measure of utilisation efficiency of each nutrient/mineral. Also referred to as mineral accounting or nutrient accounting and/or balancing.
Minerals Naturally occurring inorganic substances
Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) Neutral detergent fibre consists of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, lignified nitrogen compounds, some protein, minerals and cuticle. It is the weight of the fibre residue expressed as a percentage of the original dry matter. It provides the most complete measure of cell wall components, therefore it is used to balance fibre requirements in the formulation of dairy diets.
Non-protein nitrogen Non-protein nitrogen is the portion of rumen digestible protein that is rapidly/easily broken down in the rumen. Generally, non-protein nitrogen is about half of the rumen digestible protein. Non-protein nitrogen is also referred to as: soluble intake protein.
Non-structural carbohydrates Non-structural carbohydrates are storage carbohydrates, such as starch, and simple sugars, such as glucose.
Nutrient balancing A method of comparing the amount of nutrients/minerals which are imported and removed from a farm, providing a measure of utilisation efficiency of each nutrient/mineral. Also referred to as nutrient accounting or mineral accounting and/or balancing.
Nutrients Nutrients are the chemicals that an organism needs to grow. It is what is used by an organism’s metabolism to provide energy, for growth and for body processes.
Protein Proteins are complex compounds which are made up of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential in animal nutrition contributing to growth, reproduction and milk production. There are various types of proteins.
Rumen digestible protein Rumen digestible protein is the portion of feed protein that is broken down by the rumen microbes. It can rather be considered as a requirement for the rumen microbes, and not specifically a requirement for the cow itself. The microbes, through enzymatic action, break down the rumen digestible protein into ammonia, amino acids and peptides. Rumen digestible protein is also referred to as: rumen degradable protein or degradable intake protein.
Structural carbohydrates Structural carbohydrates are also referred to as fibre and are made up of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
Total farm energy efficiency Total farm energy efficiency is a measure of the efficiency of energy fed to dairy cows compared to their energy requirements. It provides a picture of whether the energy requirements of cows on the farm are being met, and if so to what extent energy is being wasted.
Total farm energy flow The total farm energy flow is a tool used to measure the total farm energy efficiency. It is a measure of how efficiently a farmer is feeding and gives an indication of energy utilization efficiency on the farm.
True protein True protein is the part of crude protein which does not include non-protein nitrogen.
Staff welfare An all-encompassing term referring to the well-being of the employees of a farm
Animal welfare
Animal welfare Animal welfare refers to the well-being of animals on a farm
Five freedoms The five freedoms are a measure to ensure animal welfare. They are: 1) freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; 2) freedom from discomfort; 3) freedom from pain, injury and disease; 4) freedom from fear; and 5) freedom to engage in relatively normal patterns of animal behaviour
Agroecosystem An agroecosystem is an entire unit of agricultural activity, encompassing all the living and non-living parts of the unit and all their interactions.
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