‘Rare Breed – A Farming Year’ is the ground-breaking year-in-the-life observational documentary series charting the reality of farming in 21st century, giving a unique insight into one of Northern Ireland’s largest and oldest industries.
Twelve families are taking part, and viewers were introduced to six of them in the first episode.
In the February episode we meet another five of the families. From Fermanagh to the North Coast our farmers are tending to sheep, cattle, pigs and horses.
Near Aughnacloy in Tyrone we meet Paul Beatty who runs Tirelugan farm alongside his grandfather Cecil, and his dad Donald.
They keep cattle and a flock of Jacob sheep. It’s been a month of tricky weather. The fields are very wet but the milder than normal temperatures raise the risk of disease for the animals who have to stay indoors.
As it’s lambing season, the Beattys are keeping a close eye on their ewes and newest arrivals. He has a real soft spot for pet lambs and comments, “Feeding one is the same as feeding 21!”
With 70 ewes to lamb, they know they are in for manys a sleepless night!
Next we’re off to Fermanagh where Dale and Vicki Byers have a dairy herd of 150 cattle at their farm in Ballinamallard. Dale is the third generation here while Vicki got into farming when she and Dale started dating when they were 15 years old.
In the second part of the programme, we meet a couple who split their farm between Portrush and Dungannon - Shay O’Neill and Susan Chestnutt. They met at a country show. Seven years later they’re engaged and have joined forces to create Seaview Farm.
It’s a logistical challenge as Susan’s farm is on the north coast of Antrim while Shay’s land is 50 miles away near Derrytresk in Tyrone. They comment that they couldn’t do it without the support of their families. When asked how strong their relationship is, they laugh and say, Nothing strengthens a relationship like trying to move pigs!”
In Templepatrick in Antrim, we get an insight into the equestrian world with rider and sports orse breeder Lucca Stubington who runs the family business with her mum Georgia.