Rare Breed - A Farming Year was once again the most watched programme in Northern Ireland at 8.30pm last night with over 142,000 viewers tuning in, equating to a 26% share of the entire Northern Ireland viewing audience, more than double that of the next most watched programme at that time.
Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday at 8.30pm UTV where our farmers are making preparations for winter, made all the easier by the unseasonably warm and dry October weather.
Grass gets cut, sheds get cleared out, livestock gets moved, ewes get scanned for lambs, and cider production begins after a successful harvest.
The Chestnutt family from Bushmill, Co Antrim is busy preparing fields and livestock for the winter. Victor comments that “Land is King”, saying that he prefers to try and own land as opposed to renting.
He says wryly: “Land is a long term investment and I suppose it’s kept me poor all my life!”
He tends to his pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd which is still out in the fields on the north coast enjoying the mild weather.
Victor reminisces about his 40 years of farming since leaving Greenmount Agricultural College.
He and his son also move sheep to Portrush for the winter and outline their plans for this flock well into 2020, explaining that sheep are a long term investment.
Finally back at the farm, we see David cutting grass for the last time in 2018, and Victor’s granddaughter Jane “helping” clear out sheds.
Victor loves having the family around him commenting: “One of the strengths in Northern Ireland is our family farm.”
Elsewhere, Richard Beattie is scanning 90 ewes in Gortin, Co Tyrone after they were implanted with embryos last month. He explains how he spray paints the sheep different colours according to what the scans show.
In Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, Robbie Wilson is starting his apprenticeship as a tractor mechanic, having done well in his GCSEs.
He says: “It’s good to know the ins and outs of machinery…but I’ll always be a farmer.”
Meanwhile his dad David is preparing to house bulls for the winter and is glad they are still out in October, as last year they were brought in in August.
He’s also glad that the silage he has stored won’t all be needed as a result.
In Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Joel Kerr has bought a new ram for his Dorset Horn ewes, and is hopeful for lots of lambs come spring.
He’s also getting ready to house cattle for the winter, and is delighted that the fields are still dry in October.
Joel is also preparing his own “shelter”, as he’s embarked on building a new house in the same place as the original farm house where his dad grew up.
He’s delighted to be soon on site, closer to the farm activities.
Finally in Portadown, Co Armagh at the McKeever orchard, all the apples have been harvested.
They are now in the cold store and the apples are starting to get pressed for cider production.
We also hear how nothing get wasted with by product going to pig and cattle and farms with anaerobic digesters.
UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 8.30pm on UTV.