‘RARE BREED – A Farming Year’ continues on Thursday night at 8.30 pm on UTV, and in this episode, it is July where farmers are working against the clock and the weather to get their harvests in.
The first port of call is Templepatrick in Co. Antrim, and Georgia Stubington is working with her mares.
They are coming to the end of their breeding season, and she relies on a mix of modern and old-fashioned methods to check fertility.
With fertility and pregnancy scans, Georgia can be more certain of what’s ahead, ensuring the safety of the mother and foals at all times.
She comments, “In the early days, it was complete guesswork, and it is fascinating now to see what can be done”.
Next up in the episode is Chris Wilson from Streamvale Farm – a popular open farm and dairy enterprise – on the outskirts of Belfast.
In 2020, Chris started a food delivery business which was a vital service during lockdown.
But with rising costs and pressures, Chris has had to make a difficult decision to close this side of the business.
He is philosophical about it, though, commenting, “One crisis helped build ‘Moo’, and one crisis has ended it”.
He plans to push on with the farm and has big plans for events.
In Co Fermanagh, dairy farmer Dale Byers is out cutting silage, a job he has “loved since boyhood”.
He runs a multi-cut system, so he mows as early and as often as possible, which means cut grass is “young and sweet”, and there is higher cow performance.
He, too, laments the rising costs of meal and fertiliser, making it “all the more important to get as much grass in as possible for the cattle”.
He points out, “You cannot plan holidays; you have to take it as you get it”.
Next at Castlewellan Show, Mourne sheep farmer, Aine Devlin, has been showing sheep since she was sixteen.
But this summer, she is bringing her Scottish Black Face Sheep out for the first time.
She was not expecting any prizes but was keen to see all the other breeds of sheep and how she could improve for next year.
In the second part of the programme, outside Limavady, Richard Kane is dealing with the impacts of recent storms.
He is rushing to bring in the oilseed rape crop, and he has 160-acres to harvest.
He points out that after four inches of rain, the spring barley “is a mess”, and he needs less moisture in the rapeseed crop before harvesting as drying costs are so high.
He points out the importance of planting several types of crops so if one fails; there are others to fall back on.
Finally, in this episode, we head to Silverbridge in Co.Armagh to An Tobar Farm and the Finnegan sisters.
There are 30 varieties of vegetables and fruit, and this produce is vital for the farm’s tearoom.
Margaret’s daughter Hannah is setting up for an event which she hopes will pave the way for a regular safe space for the LGBTQ+ community in South Armagh.