If you are ever hanging around cattle or sheep farmers, here’s some good jargon to know so you can understand the nuances of what they’re talking about.

General Farming Terms:

Carcass Weight – (aka “dressed weight”) – Weight of carcass after organs, head hooves, etc removed.

Live Weight – Weight of the live animal.

Paddock – Another word for field

Runv.  Raise, as in “we run 300 sheep”.


Angus – A breed of black cattle known for superior marbling. Originally from Scotland. More Info Here

Hereford – Like angus, this brown & white breed is known for better marbling.  More Info Here

Bull – Uncastrated male

Cow – Female for reproduction

Dam – Breeding female

Heifer – Young cow that hasn’t been bred.

Put a Bull to – breed via natural (i.e. not artificial) insemination

Sire – Breeding bull

Steer – Castrated male

Yearling – An animal over 1 year of age.  Also applied to horses.


Cervena – Venison brand program focusing only on tender (& generally boneless) cuts of venison from animals under three years of age.

Faun – Young deer

Hind – Female deer

New Zealand Red Deer – The primary species raised in New Zealand.  Originally introduced for hunting.

Stag – Male deer


Ewe – Female sheep

Fattening Lambs – Lambs being finished before processing

Go to Ram – breed via natural (i.e. not artificial) insemination

Hogget – Juvenile sheep over 12 months

Lambn. Juvenile sheep aged 12 months or less
v.To give birth (to a lamb)

Lamb at Foot – Young un-weaned lambs following their mothers

Lambing Rate – % of replacement of ewes with lambs. 100% lambing rate means that in the herd, on average, ewes that are bred produce one lamb. Higher than 100% means that some ewes have twins.  Many farmers in New Zealand are breeding for specific genetics that promote a higher % of twins.

Merino – A Spanish breed of sheep prized for its exceptionally fine wool. Now quickly becoming known for its unique meat characteristics like a milder flavor. More Info Here

Mutton – Meat from an adult sheep

Ram – Uncastrated male sheep

Romney – (aka Romney Marsh) – a English sheep breed that plays an important role in New Zealand’s wool & meat exports.

Sire Ram – breeding ram

Some NZ Terms for Meat Cuts:

Eye Fillet – Beef tenderloin

Cube Roll – Whole boneless ribeye roll

Scotch Fillet – Ribeye steak