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HomeBeef'You can’t go out to meet other people' - farmer on lockdown
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

‘You can’t go out to meet other people’ – farmer on lockdown

It’s May 2020 for the Rare Breed farmers and as the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown continues, it’s all about sheep, silage and horse shows in the next episode on UTV, Tuesday, February 9th.

Near Killinchy in Down, Adrian McGowan and daughter, Emily, are sorting sheep for the shearers. Sister Tory is also around to lend a hand with separating the ewes from the lambs. Only the ewes are getting sheared, so it’s easier for the shearers if this is done in advance.

Emily does know how to shear a sheep, but she prefers to leave it to the professionals. Adrian explains how the hot weather can affect the sheep’s wool and what a relief it is for them to be rid of it. He explains the wool is of no value to them, “It’s for the welfare of the animals.”

Silage season

It’s the start of silage season at the Little’s dairy farm near Tempo in Fermanagh. Andrew and Margaret are delighted to get the first cut lifted. First though, Andrew had some kit to repair as there was a problem with the harvester. Andrew’s hoping that a ‘bad start means a good finish’.

He explains that this is the first of three cuts in the year, which take place over just five months, which then has to feed the cattle the remaining eight months of the year.  Margaret enjoys helping with the silage.

silage, tractors, machinery, silage making, season silage, field, silage pit, Rare Breed lockdown

Farm shop

We’re back with the McGowan’s and Emily is in the farm shop which is exceptionally busy, with ‘lots of new faces through the door.’

She’s had to finish her degree via remote learning, and write a dissertation at home, as well as working the shop and helping on the farm.

Adrian is back at the farm taking advantage of prime planting weather. He loves growing several varieties even if means extra work. He says, “You name it, we’re trying to grow it!” as he points out they have up to 50 varieties growing on the farm.

Covid has brought another advantage – there is no shortage of supply of labour with AS and A level students at home.  “The young blood and energy are superb,” says Adrian.

Rare Breed lockdown – Shows and marts

With Covid cancelling all country shows, Claire Shearer and Davy Kinkead decide to make their own fun and host their own ‘mini Balmoral’ show for their horses at their stables near Comber in Co Down.  They celebrate their Lockdown Show with customary champagne!

Young, Zara Preston, sends a video diary for May with her and her sister, Leah, looking after lambs that they would normally have been showing. We also meet the unusually named Lamb No.11! With Young Farmers events being cancelled, Zara comments, “You can’t go out to meet other people.”

Outside Ballygawley, Des Kelly is getting lambs ready for the factory. He’s glad marts are open and that livestock can keep moving.

Also, he is planning to cut his 80-acres of grass in the good weather. And thankfully his accountancy business is getting back to some normality, with about 40% of staff back in the office.

More information

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Moy Park, Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Tuesday, February 9th at 7.30pm on UTV.

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