Rare Breed farmers enjoy highs and lows of Balmoral Show

Kile Diamond in the ring with his sheep. Credit: UTV

The hugely popular ‘RARE BREED – A Farming Year’ continues this Thursday where it’s now May.

And in this episode, our farmers enjoy the highs and lows of the Balmoral Show.

‘Rare Breed – A Farming Year’ is the ground-breaking year-in-the-life documentary series charting the agricultural year.

Filmed during 2023, each episode captures the highs and lows of each month of the year, as the families deal with economic and environmental challenges.

All the families featured reflect the diversity and innovation in Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector. 

Be they big or small, traditional beef, sheep, dairy, pig or arable, farm shops or even tourism, the passion and commitment shines through in every episode.

So it’s May and we’re off to Strangford Lough where Emily McGowan is working with her team in fields there.

They’re experimenting with a new crop – sunflowers, which they hope to harvest later in the year. She comments on taking this risk, “You’re not going to know until you try it.”

All roads lead to Lisburn for the Balmoral Show.

Trevor and Leanne Hutchinson are joining hundreds of farmers who will be exhibiting their prize animals. It’s a massive adventure for the young family and Val the sow – it’s their first ever Balmoral. Trevor says he’s ‘excited and nervous.’

Away from Balmoral and the McCann sisters are hard at work caring for their cattle.

They farm along the border at the foot of Slieve Guillion in Armagh. The fields are grazed in rotation.

Once the cattle move on to fresh pasture, the McCanns top and treat the land to boost the grass growth. Colleen explains how the good weather can cause sunburn and even sunstroke in the cattle.

Back at Balmoral and the Diamonds are gearing up for a long day of showing their animals.

They’ve brought several sheep and their best young bull – Pointhouse Thunderstruck. He’s in a popular class and the standard is very high as a result. Kile’s dad Michael eyes up the competition in the sheds before Kile heads into the ring.

Up from Fermanagh, the Balfours have had an early start.

They were on the road at half past four to get to Lisburn in time. They have brought two breeds – the Isle de France and the Dutch Spotted. Donnie’s competing in the mature ram class.

They’re all fully grown and although good natured, they’re strong animals.

UTV’s Rita Fitzgerald narrates this episode. Sponsored by NIE Networks, ‘Rare Breed’ – A Farming Year continues on Thursday 22nd February at 8.30pm on UTV.

You can catch up afterwards on ITVX. Simply select ‘Categories, then News, select UTV as your region from the box and scroll across to find the episode.

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