UTV’S Rare Breed returns with episode 8

Peter McKeever from Co Armagh
Peter McKeever from Co Armagh

Rare Breed - A Farming Year returns on Thursday at 8.30pm on UTV with our farmers welcoming the August rain.

You wouldn’t think that August is a “quiet” month in farming when you see how busy our farmers are.

Eileen Hall from Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh

Eileen Hall from Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh

Trees get graded, silage gets cut, and apples get harvested, eggs get packed, all as part of the August activity.

Tony Johnston is delighted with the “right sort of rain”, which has allowed his Christmas trees to recover well from the dry weather. August is a key month for selecting and grading trees for harvest in November. He’s hopeful of new customers from south of England where the dry spell lasted longer and has affected their supplies.

Joel Kerr from Dungannon has entered an exciting new chapter. A local supermarket chain has listed his spice blends that he has developed to complement his beef. He upscales production from his kitchen at home to Loughry College where his dad is helping him out.

In Lisnaskea, the Wilson family are checking cows for ticks and trying to spot a disease unique to the area called “red water”, which can very quickly be fatal for cows if undetected.

Alex Lyttle from Newtownards, Co Down

Alex Lyttle from Newtownards, Co Down

Young Robbie is checking that a new ram that he’s placed with his Suffolk ewes is doing his job!

In Newtownbutler, John and Eileen Hall are busy packing eggs. John explains the grading, measuring and packing of their eggs which is a sophisticated process. John’s brothers assist with the distribution of the eggs and Eileen is in the office organising trade fairs and workshops.

The McKeevers are ready for harvesting the apples in Armagh. They bring in 25 highly skilled professional pickers who carefully work their way through the orchard ensuring that the apples don’t get damaged in the process. Son Peter feels there’s a “good bumper crop all over Co Armagh”.

Alex Lyttle in Newtownards has seven days’ worth of wheat and barley to harvest. He’s glad he invested in his own combine harvester which he admits he’s hooked on! It’s not as computerised as some newer models so there’s a bit of skill required. He explains that yields are down this year but prices are up slightly, so he’s hoping “it should all even out”.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 8.30pm on UTV.