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Not sure about what some of the farming terminology means? Try this glossary to answer your questions from what silage is used for to how biological controls might be used.

6 megawatts of energy

Equal to 6 million watts of electricity which is enough to power almost 4000 homes.

Acidification of the ocean

Mostly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is decreasing the ph levels in the seas around the globe.

Agro ecosystem

How plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as the weather and landscape work together to support life on the farm.


This is when trees are grown on a farm, often to provide shade for animals or habitats for helpful invertebrates and birds.

Agronomic practices

Farmers will carefully monitor the health and growth of their crops so that they can spot any problems early on and may use fertilisers and pesticides when absolutely necessary to ensure a successful harvest.


A plant that lives in water and doesn’t have roots but floats instead.

Anaerobic digester

(see Anaerobic digestion plant)

Anaerobic digestion plant

When organic matter, such as animal manure and food waste is broken down by bacteria, the process is known as anaerobic digestion. The Anaerobic digestion plant uses this process to turn waste into fertilisers and compost.

Arable crops

Plants, such as wheat, barley, oats, and maize. Not grass, fruit or vegetables.

Artificial fertilisers

This is food to help plants grow that has not been created naturally, it has been made from petrol or natural gas.

Artificial reef

An underwater structure that has been made by humans rather than nature. They are used to promote marine life in some areas, to control erosion in others and sometimes to block ship passage or improve surfing.


A biodigester is a big tank that digests organic material (often animal and human waste) anaerobically (without the use of air) and turns it into gasses. Mostly methane gas which is used for cooking, lighting and heating.


A gas which is produced when organic matter, such as animal manure or rotting vegetables, ferments; naturally and when in an anaerobic digestor.

Biological Controls

This is a method of controlling pests such as insects, mites, weeds, and plant diseases using natural methods. This could be introducing insects, birds or parasites that will eat these pests.

Biomass Boiler

A biomass boiler uses wood, energy crops (such as maize reeds or eucalyptus) or waste from forests or farms to make electricity or heat a building.

Carbon dioxide release

Carbon dioxide release is when carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by humans, perhaps by burning wood, coal or gas.

Carbon dioxide sink

A carbon dioxide sink is anything that absorbs more carbon than it releases, such as plants, the ocean and soil.

Carbon emissions

The measure of how much carbon is released into the atmosphere, often referred to as greenhouse gas.

CHP engines

An engine which creates Combined Heat and electrical Power at the same time.

Circular energy model

When a business creates its own energy, perhaps using solar panels, biodigester or wind turbines, and has enough left over to sell it back to the national grid, then that business is able to benefit from a circular energy model.


Carbon dioxide is a colourless gas which occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. CO2 is essential for human survival as it helps us to breathe but it is also regarded as a greenhouse gas as it traps heat within the atmosphere.

Coconut Husks

Coconuts have shells which have a rough fibrous texture and can be used as biomass fuel to create heat and electricity or improve soil health.

Cold Store

A large, refrigerated room used to store food at low temperatures so that it does not go mouldy.

Cover crops

Cover crops are plants that are used to cover the soil to minimise soil erosion, improve soil fertility and help soil to retain water. When an arable crop has been harvested, a farmer will often plant cover crops such as clover, mustard or radish which may then be grazed by cows or sheep over the winter.

Crop profitability

Ensuring that the crops grown on the farm are able to be sold for a good price means that the farmer can continue to grow more food and care for the animals on the farm.

Deep ploughing

Digging over the soil to a depth of more than 50cm compared to the average depth of 20cm.


Less areas of trees as the land is used for growing food, building houses and roads.


A nutrient rich material produced by anaerobic digestion often used as a fertiliser to feed plants and help them grow.


A long period of very low rainfall which leads to a shortage of water.

Eco system

Is an area where plants, animals and other organisms, as well as the weather and landscape work together to support life. Ecosystems can be very large or very small.

Ecological services

When healthy ecosystems benefit the atmosphere, such as purifying water, pollinating plants and decomposing waste.

Economic output

How much of a product is produced.

Environmentally conscious

A business that is aware of how it can and does impact the environment and takes measures to minimise the impact it is having.


Is when wind or water break down the soil and rocks.

Fertiliser additions

Adding special plant food to the crops, helps the Farmer to grow the best plants that they can.

Flood protection

These are different ways of helping to protect an area from flood damage, they could be ditches, using plants on verges to ‘soak’ up the water, drains or reservoirs to collect the water.

Food security

Access to enough good quality, affordable nutritious food.

Forage for cows in winter

These are specific crops that are often grown specifically to be fed to cows in the winter, common forage crops for cows are kale, turnips and swedes.

Friendly insects

These are insects that help to pollinate plants and/or get rid of nuisance pests. Bees and ladybirds are friendly insects.

Genetic resistance to pests and diseases

Plants have learnt over time how to avoid being eaten by bugs or get poorly.


A building made with walls and roof made from a transparent material such as glass, where plants are grown. It is possible to control the temperature and moisture levels within the glasshouse, helping plants to grow.

Grape vine

Grapes grow on climbing plants called vines.

Green Energy Plant

Where green energy can be produced using solar, wind, water (hydro), tidal or biomass (from an anaerobic digestor) power.

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; it is a gas within the earth’s atmosphere that traps heat. Greenhouse gases let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere, trapping the heat in.


The water beneath the earth’s surface, it fills the spaces between soil particles, and between rocks.


Is a place where an organism makes it home, it provides everything that they need to survive – shelter, warmth, food, and water.

Heat Exchangers – milk heat

This machine cools the cows’ milk and transfers the heat from the milk to the water used for washing the parlour.


A herbicide is a chemical that kills plants. Weedkillers such as glyphosate are examples of herbicides.


An insecticide is a chemical that kills insects and some other invertebrates. Farmers use insecticides to control pests.

Integrated Pest Management

Using knowledge of pests and their life cycles to reduce their impact upon the crops being grown, rather than just using pesticides.


Supply water to help plants grow.

Irrigation system

The use of pipes and sprinklers to supply water to help plants grow.


When mammals such as cows have babies the mothers produce milk to feed the babies. Cows can produce milk for their calves for up to 305 days after the calf has been born.

Leaf nitrogen hand tool

A small tool that enables the farmer to measure the levels of nitrogen in the leaves of their crops, so that they are able to support the growth of the plants effectively.

LED Lighting

An LED light bulb is an electric light that produces light using Light Emitting Diodes, which are much more energy-efficient than ‘normal’ bulbs. LEDs save energy and stay cool so are also safer.

Low carbon footprint way to grow

Using less energy when growing plants.


This is an organic matter (animal dung) which is often used to fertilise the soil


This is the climate of a small area such as a hillside, which is different from the surrounding area. It could be warmer or wetter.

Milking Parlour

A building where cows are milked on a dairy farm.

Minimum tillage

When farmers are planting their seeds in the ground, they avoid disturbing the soil as much as they can by placing the seeds directly into the ground, so that the soil does not have to be dug or turned over.

Mitigate flood risk

A reduction in the likelihood of too much water damaging the farm and the surrounding areas.

Mixed arable farmer

When a farmer grows crops for food such as wheat and barley, as well as livestock such as cows.

Net zero

This refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas being produced and the amount being removed from the atmosphere. We reach net zero when the amount being added is no more than the amount being taken away.

Nitrate Fertilisers

Plants need food (nutrients) such as nitrogen to grow well. Nitrate is a good source of nitrogen which can easily be given to plants as it can be mixed with water and sprayed on to them.

Non-renewable fuel sources

These are resources that cannot be easily replaced by nature, examples are coal, oil and peat.

On farm control

Sometimes known as Precision farming, On Farm Control means that the farm uses technology to provide lots of data to improve decision making.


Is made from decaying plants and animals and is a great source of fuel, but is only found in special places, such as bogs and moorland. Peat takes thousands of years to develop and has a unique spongy texture which is what makes it so good at providing important nutrients which help plants to grow.


Used to control pests, pesticides take many forms and are typically designed to target specific pests.

Plant (Factory/Packhouse)

A building or place where fruits and vegetables are packed and stored before being transported to a shop or distribution centre.

Plant tissue

Plants are made up of different types of plant tissue, each type of plant tissue has a special job, such as absorbing light, transporting water or moving food.


They look like a large banana but need to be cooked before they are eaten and don’t taste as sweet.

Planting clovers

Clover is a small herb and is often planted as it can improve the nitrogen levels in soil, and so improves overall soil health.


An animal that moves from plant to plant fertilising them as they go and ensuring that the plants they visit are able to produce seeds.


Measurement used to compare two values, such as the quantity of feed and milk produced, which will show how efficient a cow is at producing milk.

Risk Manage

This involves knowing about, understanding and controlling any problems so that they do not get too big.

Shallow Trough (seed sowing)

A shallow trench.


This is a type of food which can be fed to cows and sheep, made from green crops (such as maize or grass) that has been denied air so that it ferments (pickles).

Single use plastics

These are plastic items such as shopping bags and water bottles which are only used once, or a very few times before being thrown away.

Social economic opportunities

An improved standard of living, such as better schools and housing, and less crime.

Soil erosion

Is when wind or water break down the soil and rocks.

Soil fertility

Soil fertility is the ability of the soil to support plant growth by providing essential food (nutrients) that the plants need to prosper.

Soil Quality

Soil quality is the ability of the soil to support plant growth by providing essential food (nutrients) that the plants need to prosper.

Soil retaining carbon and water

Soil can process and hold considerable amounts of water, some of this water will steadily drain through soil due to gravity and end up in the waterways and streams, but much will be retained dt be used by plants and other organisms, helping improve soil health. Soil can also store carbon in the form of organic matter (plant and animal matter, fungi, bacteria, etc.) which helps to improve the health of the soil and benefits those plants growing in it.

Soil structure

Describes the texture of the soil, how sticky, crumbly, or heavy it is. Soil structure depends on how the soil particles (sand, slit, clay and organic matter) are arranged.

Solar Panels

Special cells are mounted in panels to capture sunlight and turn it into electricity.

Table grapes

These are grapes which are eaten raw, rather than made into wine.

Taupe Pot

A flowerpot which is a dark grey-brown colour.


This is when it is possible to track the movement of food, from the beginning to the end of its journey.


A range of…


A thin short river

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Is where water is cleaned, so that it can be reused.

Water evaporation

This is when water is heated and turns into a vapour (gas).

Water scarcity

When there is not enough water to enable plants and animals to thrive.

Wheat is milled into flour

Seeds from the wheat plant are ground into a powder, which is flour.

Wood Fibre

Trees are a great carbon dioxide sink, and when cut down and finely chopped are grainy and fibrous, this wood fibre can be used to make paper and insulation.


A measurement of how much of a crop (such as wheat) has been harvested, it is usually measured in tonnes per acre/hectare.