There’s worry, wool and weddings in the next RARE BREED


‘RARE There’s worry, wool and weddings in the next RARE BREEDBREED – A Farming Year’ continues on Thursday night at 8.30pm on UTV.

It’s June and summer has arrived for farmers across Northern Ireland. In the Mournes in Co. Down, Áine Devlin has brought the shearers in early as the temperatures are climbing.

Today, there’s more than 150 to do and it’s back-breaking work! Aine says it’s like running a couple of marathons a day. She explains that the ewes are at risk of infection if they are left too long.

She points out the cost of shearing a sheep versus the price you get for the wool, and hopes that the fashion industry will start using wool more saying ‘it’s a great resource.’

She’s keen to get them all clipped, dipped and off back up the mountain at the same time.

William Gilpin with the new bio methane tractor

Near Loughgall, Armagh the Gilpins have been growing vegetables for half a century, but they’re always thinking of new ways to farm. In 2015 they found a way to turn waste vegetables into energy.

Today they’re looking at new kit, a bio-methane powered tractor. We meet William’s father Thomas, who started the business, and he reminisces about how he started the business with a field of scallions and picking them by hand. He’s glad to have been part of all the changes over the years.

Leona and Richard Kane

In Limavady, Leona and Richard Kane grow more than 150 acres of oilseed rape which they use to produce premium cooking oil. With harvest a few weeks away, the couple is keeping a close eye on the crop.

They are always a bit edgy when it comes to harvest time as they are at the mercy of the weather, where crops can be severely damaged by one bad spell.

Richard recalls how a storm wiped out over 30% of the crop back in 2015, the day before harvest was due to take place.

In Dromara in Co.Down, Michelle and Stephen Dunniece are running their summer alpaca academy. They have 16 years’ experience farming alpacas and with an increase in interest in the animals they are passing on their knowledge.

Michelle explains the academy is a mixture of classwork, followed by a hands on session working with the animals. The demand for this type of training has grown, with Michelle explaining they are always oversubscribed when they advertise the classes.

Shay talking about the chickens

June is a massive month for Shay O’Neill and Susan Chesnutt – they’re getting married. The day before the big event, Shay’s moving chickens so they can fertilise the grass. He explains that their manure feeds the soil and the worms and in turn the cattle get better grass to graze on.

Susan meanwhile is back in Portrush finishing decorating the barn at her family farm, and she is grateful for all the help from her family in getting things ready.

Back in Co.Tyrone, the Beatty family is weaning lambs and preparing for the summer sales. It’s a noisy job but it gives Paul a chance to have a good look at his animals, so hecan pick the best ones for breeding stock.

Paul’s Dad Donald gives a helping hand. Paul explains this is time of the year when they make money, with most income coming in for the year, in three short months.

Charlie’s very special sheep, Pearl has a swollen tummy and ends up at the vet’s. Paul is worried but points out that son Charlie has to learn that sometimes things do go wrong with livestock.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Dromona, ‘Rare Breed’ – A Farming Year continues this Thursday 23 rd February at 8.30pm on UTV.

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