July Means Harvest, Hives And The Hairdressers For The Rare Breed Farmers

The next episode of UTV’s Rare Breed – A Farming Year features four of our farming families. It’s July and they are all taking advantage of the good weather and making hay while the sun shines, some quite literally!

Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday at 8.30pm UTV and we’re off to the McGovern’s farm near Clogher in Tyrone. Dad Sean and the four girls are working against the clock – and the weather – to make sure they get the best quality fodder. This will be used to feed their own cattle plus they’ll sell bales to other farmers.

Sean has to do some ready repairs to the baling machine, commenting,” The baler’s a bit like myself, it’s old, not as old as me, but going better !”  Orlagh is waiting on her ‘A’ Level results and shares her plans for university. She says, “I’ll be living in Belfast but Daddy’llwant me back on the farm helping out with the other girls.”

Next, we head to Newtownards in Co.Down, where Valentine and Chris Hodges are rearing new Queen bees.  They need to find, mark and then clip them to prevent the hive from swarming. It’s delicate and important work, made all the more complicated when the Queens decide to play hide and seek!  Chris says, “She’s been trained to elude all beekeepers!”  Valentine points out how beekeeping is good for mental health, as you need to be calm and stay positive. They are both surprised and delighted to find brand new queens.  “You never know what you are going to get when you open the box.”

We then head down to visit Jack Smyth in VictoriaBridge in Tyrone. He’s getting his Suffolk and Zwarblesheep ready for sale season in Ballymena and Carlisle. Whilst he is a renowned breeder of cattle, he brings in a sheep grooming specialist to make sure the rams are looking their best. They get a wash, cut and then a spray tan to top it all off. Jack jokes that girlfriend Emma should be doing the spray tan part!

Finally, we pay a visit to Bushmills, where David Chestnutt is checking sheep for ticks and flies. He says that the warm but wet weather is causing a problem with maggots.  His lambs won’t be sold till later in the year, so he needs to pay close attention to and treat the flock for parasites.  He’s selecting lambs to be kept for breeding. He says, “I’m not expecting high flyers this year.” But he’s happy enough with the quality.

UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series, sponsored by Moy Park.   Rare Breed – A Farming Year continues on Thursday 20th February at 8.30pm on UTV.