It’s All About Bees, Babies and Building Work In The Next UTV Rare Breed

The next episode of UTV’s Rare Breed – A Farming Year features five of our farming families, with everyone involved in outside activities, despite the mixed June weather.

Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday at 8.30pm UTV and we’re off to Crossgar where Robbie’s getting a helping hand from 3 year old son Angus, as they wean and check piglets together. “He’s a great helper, one for the future,” Robbie remarks. While they work, he talks about the importance of farm safety and ‘needing eyes in the back of your head’, but Robbie does say that already Angus follows the ‘do’s and don’t’s’ around the yard.  Despite the pigs not liking being handled, Robbie needs to check them all and pick out the best for breeding. We also meet Robbie’s new baby, born during Balmoral Show week, “not great timing!” he jokes.

Next, we head to Bushmills where David and Dad Victor are fencing fields in very ‘un-June’ like wet weather. As they work to protect mosses and wild flowers, Victor points out “It’s not a fencing scheme, it’s an environmental farming scheme.”  It’s time consuming and hard work, but they feel it’s a vital job to care for the peatland on their farm. David jokes that he’d like a step counter to see how many miles he clocks up in a day, while his dad prefers to sit in the tractor!

We then head down the road to Cloughmills where it’s all systems go on Wallace Gregg’s farm, with the installation of the new milking parlour well under way. New kit has arrived from Kerry, and Wallace explains what the extra capacity will mean for him and future generations.   The main bonus is that once complete, the new parlour will cut down milking from 7 hours a day to just three.

Meanwhile in Antrim, Mark McConnell and his two daughters introduce us to more of his menagerie, starting with the llamas – he has a full herd now after buying one out of curiosity 10 years ago. He talks of the growing interest in llamas, especially in how useful they are proving in protecting sheep. Daughters Caroline and Olivia proudly show off their goats and pony and are a dab hand at looking after both.   Mark points out that they love helping out and that they are not scared of the animals as a result.

Finally, we pay the bees a visit and meet the future of bee keeping, with Chris giving some last minute tips to three young local people who are heading off to Slovakia to the World Young Beekeeper Championships. He points out that beekeeping is ‘no longer the sport of an old man’ with these young people demonstrating their comfort with, and knowledge of, the bees in their care.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, sponsored by Moy Park.   Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday 13th February at 8.30pm on UTV.