UTV Rare Breed’s success continues

John and Eileen Hall
John and Eileen Hall

The return of Rare Breed - A Farming Year was the most watched programme in Northern Ireland at 8.30pm on Thursday night with an average audience of 162,000 viewers and a 29% share, almost double that of the next most watched programme on BBC1.

Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday at 8.30pm UTV with a look at February 2018.

It’s all happening with TB testing, sheep worrying, egg laying and much more.

Rare Breed returns to Richard Beattie’s farm in Tyrone where there’s an unexpected and unwelcome TB test, due to a failed test on another farm in the area.

Like thousands of other farmers, he’s hoping all is ok with his herd.

Rare Breed are introduced to Victor Chestnutt at the family farm outside Bushmills. They are juggling roles at the farm, as they have beef cattle, sheep and a dairy herd. Victor says it’s great to be your own boss and then laments, “These cattle are the boss!”

He also talks about his role as deputy president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, of which is very proud. Rare Breed also sees him at market in Ballymena selling bulls.

Returning to Joel Kerr’s farm in Dungannon, the vet is visiting to castrate some bulls, using a technique called ‘squeezing’.

Rare Breed also hear about a dog attack on his Dorset Horn ewes, with him now hand rearing some lambs, battling to keep them alive. “A sick sheep is a dead sheep,” he says.

In Fermanagh, Rare Breed meet egg producers John and Eileen Hall for the first time.

They are welcoming a new flock of egg laying hens.

They used to farm cattle but made the switch to hens and have since won awards for their eggs.

Eileen points out how the free range hens interact with each other, forming gangs and cliques. “I’m a free range bird myself”, she jokes.

The episode ends with the Wilsons from Fermanagh attending Beef Expo 2018 at Dungannon mart, where they attend the Hereford stand and speak with local processors and supermarkets.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday 24th January 2019 at 8.30pm on UTV.