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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

TV | Balmoral is a ‘show to remember’ for the ‘Rare Breed’ farmers

RARE BREED – A Farming Year’ continues on Thursday night. It is May and Balmoral is back with a bang. More than 3,000 farmers are competing for the red ribbons.


Among them is Katesbridge goat producer, Geoffrey Ringland who has been showing at the show for nearly 30 years, winning many rosettes with his British Saanens goats. Geoffrey may be an old hand but this year he’s under pressure as it’s the first time he’s shown his new Anglo Nubian breed.

As Geoffrey achieves success through the classes - he now has his sights set on gaining a Breed Challenge Certificate for Alwyn, his British Saanen.  He says he’s still as competitive as ever, and has no idea how Alwyn will do.  

Elsewhere near Loughgall in Co. Armagh, William Gilpin is under pressure to plant seedlings for Halloween. He needs to get 400,000 pumpkins in the ground now if they’re to be ready in time. “No one wants pumpkins on the 1st November,” he remarks. Once the pumpkin planting is underway William needs to get Balmoral to set up his stall at the fair. He calls it ‘the week of madness.’

Although there’s no alpaca classes, breeders Michelle and Stephen Dunniece from outside Newcastle Co. Down never miss a Balmoral. They have being coming since 2012 – it’s a chance to showcase their animals and to catch up and swap news with other farmers. Michelle is delighted ‘to be talking alpacas for four days’.

The Beattys from Auchnacloy are competing in the show this year with their top pick of Jacob sheep. They’re making a family trip of it, and they have even commissioned a new banner promoting their flock. They have six sheep to show and Mia and Charlie are stepping up in the ring. Wendy Beattie is a beautician so she has some top tips for making the sheep look their best, but Paul has said a flat ‘no’ to sparkly hairspray!  He’s delighted that the children enjoy the experience of coming to the show.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Dromona, ‘Rare Breed’ – A Farming Year continues this Thursday 16th February at 8.30pm on UTV.


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