Rare breed: Ground-breaking farming series returns to screens on Thursday night

Rare Breed
Thursday's episode follows farmers during calving and kidding season across Northern Ireland Credit: UTV

'Rare Breed - A farming year' is set to return to screens on Thursday night - this time giving viewers an insight into March and Spring for farmers.

There's lots of calving and kidding going on!

The ground-breaking year-in-the-life observational documentary series charts the reality of farming in the 21st century in Northern Ireland and follows 12 families to give unique insight into one of Northern Ireland's largest and oldest industries.

This episode takes us back to Rosslea where John Egerton and his three sons run an award-winning farm.

They produce beef cattle and this month they're busy with calving season.

John comments that the calving is going well with 32 cows calved and 15 to go, including a set of twins.

He and the boys get to work tagging the cattle as soon as they are born.

The Egertons are also part of a group trying to do their bit to tackle climate change and cut their carbon footprint and in March they're planting rowans, birch and oak.

John explains that "farmers are custodians of the countryside,” and he’s aiming to get as close to net zero as he can without reducing output.

Also in this episode we catch up with the Morrow family at Streamvale Farm, a large a busy dairy farm.

John Egerton is keen to do his bit to tackle climate change and cut carbon footprint on his farm Credit: UTV

Tim Morrow is in the middle of a calving marathon! Streamvale is also one of the oldest open farms in Northern Ireland and in this episode we join them in March when they're preparing to open their doors on St. Patrick’s Day.

Near Katesbridge in Down, Geoffrey Ringland has goats and cattle.

He’s just finished 10 days of kidding his 20 nanny goats and Geoffrey is now training them on the milking machine.

March is also an important month for Geoffrey as it’s the start of his Balmoral Show campaign.

Richard Kane grows arable crops and vegetables near Limavady Credit: UTV

Near Limavady in Londonderry Richard Kane grows arable crops and vegetables.

The weather means a change in the calendar at Richard Kane’s farm.

With the temperature nearly a degree hotter than average and half the usual rainfall, Richard is sowing Spring Barley early.

Kathleen Finnegan runs a social farm with her sister in Armagh Credit: UTV

And finally in this episode we meet the final of the 12 families. Near Silverbridge in Armagh, sisters Margaret and Kathleen Finnegan took over their family holding 30 years ago.

In 2018, they have diversified and joined the growing number of social farms.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Dromona, ‘Rare Breed’ – A Farming Year continues this Thursday 2 February at 8.30pm on UTV.

The programme is also available to watch again on ITVX.

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