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Test Your Word Knowledge With a Quiz About Farm Terms

A mare and colt in field of yellow flowers
A mare and colt in field of yellow flowers

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Today we have a test for you -- a vocabulary quiz. The words are all related to agriculture. We start with two questions about terms for plants.

Ready? First question: What do we call a plant that lives only one year or one growing season? That kind of plant is called an annual.

You can probably guess the next question. What do we call a plant that produces new growth year after year? Plants that keep growing back are called perennials.

Now we are going to ask some questions about terms for livestock.

What is another name for a male cow? A bull, right? Well, a "bull" can just mean a male cow that has not had its reproductive organs removed. If the animal was castrated as a calf, the name for it is -- what? The answer: a steer.

Next question: What is another name for a young cow? That should be easy. We just said it. A young cow is a calf.

But we have a special name for a young female cow, especially if it has not had a calf yet. What is that name? The answer: a heifer. Maybe you knew that. But can you spell it? This question is just for our radio listeners. Heifer is spelled H-E-I-F-E-R.

Cows, like all mammals, produce milk. There is a medical name for this process. What is it? The answer: lactate. Cows lactate for up to ten months.

In milk, the fat rises to the top. But some people do not like to drink milk that way. So there is a process that is used to reduce the size of the fat particles and mix them all through the milk. What is the name of that process? It's called homogenization.

Milk can be made into cheese. Some people like cheese made with milk from a sheep. Our next question: What do you call a female sheep? The answer: a ewe, spelled E-W-E.

Male sheep have their own name. What is it? Males are called rams.

A lamb is a sheep under a year old. But what do you call the meat from a sheep that is over a year old? Then we call it mutton.

Age also plays a part in terms for horses. For example, a "mare" is generally defined as a female three years or older. But what do you call a female horse that is under three? The answer: a filly.

And the last question: What is the name for a male horse that is under four years old. A young male is a colt.

So how many did you get right? If you want to take this quiz again, you can find it at or on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English.

And that’s the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. I'm Barbara Klein.