Farmers star on the small screen in UTV’s Rare Breeds series

Farmers star on the small screen in UTV’s Rare Breeds series

20 January 2021

FARMERS and rural businesses from Saintfield, Crossgar and Comber featured heavily in last night’s episode of UTV’s hugely popular Rare Breeds series.

It’s March 2020 and the programme honed in on the huge changes across the farming community due to the coronavirus and the onset of the first lockdown.

Some of the farmers turn their hand to camerawork to keep video diaries, with a couple of familiar faces from previous series also popping up.

As it’s spring, animals have to be looked after; silage, grass and crops grown and milk, vegetables and meat produced. 

Claire Shearer and partner Davy from outside Comber are on the road early to pick up a new mare and foal. 

They’ve drawn a positive from lockdown, remarking that there is no traffic on the roads, enabling them to make the journey much quicker. 

And, after a bit of persuasion, they get the mare and foal loaded up into the horse box and head home. They are both grateful that despite lockdown, they can be outdoors with the horses.

Part time pig farmer and full time firefighter Robbie Neill sends a video from his farm in Crossgar, with son Angus on his shoulder. 

Disappointed that he is not being able to show the pigs this year, he is keeping busy with his full-time job with the Fire and Rescue Service and helping to home school young Angus.

Rare Breeds also stops off at Emily McGowan’s Millbank Farm Shop in Saintfield. 

Millbank Farm Shop is busier than ever, offering a click and collect service and providing deliveries to the more vulnerable in the community.

Emily has also introduced a one way system in the shop, but she’s aware that being in contact with so many people on a daily basis – up to 300 per day coming into the shop —  she’s worried about bringing illness home. 

It’s then off to the farm where it’s the first day of sowing kale, broccoli, cabbage and brassica. Emily’s dad, Adrian, explains the seeding and planting process and having to cut back to two planters on the machine instead of three due to social distancing and safety requirements. But it all goes well, albeit a bit slower than normal.

Last night’s episode featured Co. Fermanagh dairy farmer Andrew Little, Ballygawley’s Des Kelly, James Alexander from Randalstown and Dungannon’s Joel Kerr.