It’s early November and we’re nearing the end of the Elliot family’s turkey farming cycle. While they are busy getting the birds ready for Christmas, Olive and her son Mark are also using all the natural resources Portaferry has to offer. They pick up seaweed from the shore which is great for the turkeys to peck at. They also check the weight of the birds to ensure they are progressing in time for Christmas orders.
Near Comber in County Down, vegetable grower Trevor Gabbie is using the winter months to carry out essential maintenance work and ensure everything is ready for next year’s growing season. Trays must be spotless and sterile. Labor shortages, rising gasoline, fuel and fertilizer prices have led to a tough 2021 for Trevor, but he is happy his customers are having good vegetable harvests.
For Hillsborough dairy farmer Stephen Gibson, November means he’s busy tending to the new arrival of 70 calves on the farm. These calves will join the herd or be sold as dairy beef. He prides himself on the quality of his cattle saying, “Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole is a very sought after place to buy.”
In the second part of the episode, near Limavady, Alastair Crown is busy producing and packing all the customer orders for Christmas. His range of chorizo is the most popular and he’s happy the company has had a good year. Alastair left a career in IT to pursue his dream of pig farming and food production and he wouldn’t trade anything! He is, however, looking forward to December 23, when they can finally close for Christmas.
November also means 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. His fiancée Kendall is the steward called in that day. Richard is delighted with the high level of commercial cattle for sale. Libby Clarke is also there.
UTV’s Mark McFadden narrates the series. Sponsored by Moy Park, “Rare Breed – A Farming Year” continues tonight, Tuesday, April 19 at 8 p.m. on UTV.