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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

TV | Christmas preparations well underway in Rare Breed



UTV’s hit farming series, ‘Rare Breed - A Farming Year’, returns - while some farmers are busy with Christmas orders, others are ensuring the cycle of farming continues, making preparations for the new year.


It’s early November and it is nearing the end of the turkey farming cycle for the Elliot Family.



While they are busy getting the birds ready for Christmas, Olive and son Mark are also making use of all the natural resources Portaferry has to offer.

Olive collecting seaweed.

They’re collecting seaweed from the shore which is great for the turkeys to peck at. They also check the birds’ weights to ensure they are progressing in time for the Christmas orders.


Near Comber in Co. Down, vegetable producer Trevor Gabbie uses the winter months to do essential maintenance work and make sure everything is ready for next year’s growing season.

Trevor Gabbie.

The trays have to be spotless and sterile. Labour shortages, rise in prices of gas, fuel and fertilizers have led to a challenging 2021 for Trevor, but he’s happy that his customers have good crops of vegetables.


For dairy farmer Stephen Gibson in Hillsborough, November means he is busy tending to the new arrival of 70 calves on the farm.



Stephen Gibson with the calves.

These calves will either go on to join the herd or be sold as dairy beef. He’s proud of the quality of his cattle saying, “Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole, is a very desirable place to buy from.”


In the second part of the episode, near Limavady, Alastair Crown is busy producing and packing up all the customer orders for Christmas. His chorizo range is the most popular and he’s happy that the business has had a good year.

Alastair Crown.

Alastair left a career in IT to follow his dream of farming pigs and food production and he wouldn’t trade a thing! He is looking forward however to the 23rd December when they can close finally for Christmas.


November also means that it’s time for the annual Beef and Lamb championships! While Richard Beattie has the important task of auctioning off the animals, County Tyrone farmer Chris Johnston has high hopes for the sale of one of his calves.


Chris Johnston with his winning calf.

His fiancée Kendall is call-up steward on the day. Richard is delighted with the high standard of commercial cattle at the sale. Libby Clarke is also there.


Kendall at the beef and lamb sale.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Moy Park, ‘Rare Breed – A Farming Year’ continues on Tuesday 19th April at 8pm on UTV.


Libby Clarke delighted with how the sale and show has gone.

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