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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Rare Breed continues this week with a visit to Randalstown

Randalstown farmer James Alexander

Randalstown farmer James Alexander

RARE BREED – A Farming Year’ continues this Thursday where it’s now June.  And in this episode, our farmers are managing their way through a dry spell.

‘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.

This episode starts in Randalstown in Antrim, and we see a familiar Rare Breed face – James Alexander. It’s a new chapter for him. James is a big cattle and sheep farmer, but now he’s venturing into tourism, and has created a deluxe glamping site in a redundant field.

Randalstown farmer James Alexander

June sees Northern Ireland in the middle of a heatwave. Although the sunny days are welcomed by many, the grass is starting to suffer.

Alise and Arthur Callaghanfarm between Carlingford Lough and the MourneMountains. They’ve had no rain in nearly a month.Elsewhere on the farm they’ve sown a field that will provide food for birds in the winter. They’ve used a flower and cereal mix, and they have to roll it, to kickstart growth and to stop the birds eating the seed before the crop has a chance to get going!

Down in Fermanagh deep in the Lakelands Rodney and Emma Balfour specialise in premium sheep meat, that they sell direct from their home. They’ve a busy weekend ahead as they’re opening the farm to anyone who wants to come and see how they produce food.

Their friends and family are helping out as around 500 people will be visiting to learn more about how the Balfours do things. It’s a real community affair -- Fellow farmers lend kit for the machinery display while there’s a day set aside for local schools.

In Loughgall in Armagh, Jack Wilson is also on a mission to spread the word about local produce. He’s just graduated in business studies and is now focused on a summer of talks about bee-keeping and the benefits of honey. He’s got plenty of help – Grand-dad, William, cousin Daniel and of course, the bees!

And the episode ends up in the Belfast hills, where 18 year old Dan McCaffrey is busy making hay while the sun shines – literally! He’s got around 900 bales to do along with 180 acres of silage.

UTV’s Rita Fitzgerald narrates this episode.

Sponsored by NIE Networks, ‘Rare Breed’ – A Farming Year continues on Thursday 29th 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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