It’s show time for the Rare Breed farmers at Balmoral

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Rare Breed – A Farming Year farmers take a rare break from work on the farm in this week’s episode as they attend Balmoral Show.

Each year May brings the most important event in Northern Ireland’s farming calendar – The Balmoral Show. Attracting more than 90,000 visitors, the show celebrates all aspects of agricultural life from farming to food and of course, the family fun.

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Co Tyrone farmer Chris Johnston is giving some friends a helping hand preparing cattle to enter the show ring.

Chris explains: “We all like to help each other out and come along for a bit of craic. It is competitive enough but at the end of the day it’s a good day out and a good bit of fun.”

Also at the show is Ballyclare farmer Michael Robson. He is one of more than 300 volunteers helping the show run smoothly. He explains: “The show always has a lot of interest from the farming community and it’s great to see people you maybe haven’t seen from the year before.”

While the judging continues at the Balmoral show, vegetable farmer James McKee is sowing a new variety of carrots imported from Holland. James says: “We’ve been getting really good feedback from the supermarkets about the quality of these carrots.”

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This year James will sow around 50 million carrot seeds. He continues: “Farming is becoming a scary business to be in no matter what area you specialise in, we’re all in the same boat. I do think people will disappear from the farming industry which is a very sad thing because who will look after the countryside and grow the crops to feed the public?”

Near Hillsborough, Co Down, May marks the start of the wedding season for flower grower Barbara Erwin.

She explains: “I have some ladies coming into the garden today to try out some flowers for a DIY wedding.”

Last year Barbara grew flowers and foliage for 20 weddings and this year she wants to double that. “I’m expanding my range of eucalyptus, a lot of local florists are contacting me increasingly saying they want eucalyptus for weddings.”

Meanwhile, in Strabane, County Tyrone, Tynan Routlson is tagging and dosing his three week old calves, which isn’t a straightforward job.

Tynan explains: “This can be a dangerous job because the cows get anxious about being separated from their young calves. You need to keep them as calm as possible and always be aware that they are a lot heavier than you.”

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, which is sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Tuesday (14th February) at 7.30pm on UTV.