Rare Breed farmers prepare for winter

Chris Johnson judging
Chris Johnson judging

It’s October and with the days getting shorter, our Rare Breed farmers prepare for the winter months ahead as Rare Breed - A Farming Year continues on UTV on Tuesday (21 March) at 7.30pm.

Farmer Chris Johnson, Fivemiletown Co. Tyrone is judging calves at the Enniskillen market in Fermanagh.

He says: “I’ve done a few shows like this one before, this is a commercial show so it’s about the correctness on feet and legs, plus the colour of the animal comes into it too.”

The judging takes place ahead of an auction and careful consideration sees Chris pick his champion. Chris laughs: “The prices will reflect on the judging, that’s the whole method in the madness.”

In Templepatrick, Co. Antrim, George Bingham is racing to empty his slurry tanks ahead of the slurry ban which comes into effect mid-October until the end of January.

George says: “If the weather is in your favour it means you can spread for longer. As bad as the smell is in the countryside, it works as a good natural fertiliser, years ago it would have been seen as a waste product but now it’s all part of the plan.”

Near Comber, Co. Down vegetable farmer James McKee starts his day early at 6.30am to begin harvesting his parsnip crops.

James explains: “Parsnips are a very expensive crop to grow and can be very easily damaged during the harvesting process.

“It costs the same to grow carrots as parsnips, however you can wash 25 tonnes of carrots per acre whereas parsnips would be seven tonnes per acre.”

In Hillsborough, Co.Down, Barbara Erwin is preparing her garden for winter.

She says: “When the clocks go back you know you’ve got the cold, long, wet days ahead of us. The light levels are dropping so growth slows down significantly so I need to spend some time clearing out the garden.”

Barbara is on the horticultural forum to try promote it as a career, she says: “I think a lot of young people don’t think there is a good career in horticulture but in fact there are lots of great opportunities out there.”

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, which is sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Tuesday (21 March) at 7.30pm on UTV.