The Scottish BAFTA winning series This Farming Life is back!
Starting on Wednesday, 6th September at 7pm on BBC TWO with three new episodes airing each week for four weeks, series two introduces five new farming families and sees the return of one family from last year.
This series is featuring a dairy farm and Scotland’s first buffalo farm. Once again the farms’ stunning locations are captured with aerial photography. From financial struggles to buffalo burgers, the spectre of retirement to milk prices, the new series delves further into the personal narratives of the farmers over the course of the year giving an inside view of the realities of farming life today.
Returning to the series are Mel and Martin Irvine from Moray. Mel and Martin’s wedding was the finale of series one; in series two we follow the next chapter in their lives – with the addition of Baby Erin.
In Fife, maverick farmer Stevie Mitchell looks to expand his buffalo empire, finding innovative ways to increase his herd of four hundred and get the word out there about his tasty alternative to regular beef. But dealing with unpredictable Asian water buffalo can be a hair raising business.
In the south west of Scotland, in coastal Dumfries and Galloway, the Roan family have been raising and milking pedigree free range Holstein cows since 1898. Currently the day to day operations are run by the sixth generation of Roans. Brothers Steven and Stuart, have neighbouring holdings that they run with their wives Tracey and Aylett. Stuart and Aylett have invested in modern technology and use robots to milk their half of the herd; next door Steven and Tracey use a traditional milking parlour. Together with their parents Derek and Kathleen, and with the help of their young kids, everyone pulls together to keep the family business going through a period in which milk prices have been so low that 50% of the UK’s dairy farms have gone under. The Roans are doing everything they can to keep afloat, from setting up milk shake stands to running a door step delivery service.
In the far north in the Highlands, Robin and Penny Calvert’s croft provides most of their food and fuel needs as well as supplying a bespoke hand butchery business. Twenty-five years ago they took over the run-down property – complete with waist-high brambles, a roofless barn and a house with no running water. Through years of hard work and attention to detail they’ve turned it into the fully functioning croft it is today - but at 60 and 61 respectively, old age and illness loom and their future on the croft is uncertain.
On the isle of Mull committed new-entrant farmers Janet and Alastair Taylor rent a small farm where they keep 140 sheep, 20 Highland cattle, ducks a goose and nine dogs. Five years ago they started their farm from scratch with little to no money. For them it has been a struggle constantly juggling the benefits of cash incomes from paid contract work on other farms against the need to spend time building their own farm into a profitable enterprise.
In Appin hill farmers Sandra and David Colthart keep 540 blackface sheep and 45 cross breed cattle that for much of the year roam freely over 3237 acres of stunning Scottish hillside. This very traditional method of farming poorer land – which relies on scale rather than quality – means lots of hiking! With their animals spread over such a large area even a basic sheep dosing requires heading out with the dogs to spend up to up to six hours gathering the sheep off the hills. Luckily Sandra breeds pedigree Border Collies and Highland Ponies so there’s always a dog or three to help out.
This Farming Life will be on for four weeks Wednesday to Friday evenings (UK network); on BBC2 Scotland, episodes will air on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays.