An insight into modern farming life. On Mull, new entrant farmers Janet and Alastair take their lambs to auction.
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Across some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes of the British Isles...
There's not many views like that. It's absolutely stunning.
Scotland's farmers work day and night...
..producing our milk...
..and our meat.
Trying out new ideas...
Buffalo doesn't want to do something,
you're going to find it very difficult.
..and striving to turn a profit in tough economic times.
We're struggling, we're definitely struggling.
A new rosette.
Over the course of a year,
six very different families let cameras onto their farms...
Everything that could have gone wrong there went wrong.
The idea of lying on a beach, bliss!
..to share their struggles...
We have to get her out, or she's going to die.
..and their triumphs.
It's not about the pay cheque. It's about the lifestyle.
Nature is beginning to wind down.
But for Scotland's farmers, the hard work never stops.
It's one of the busiest times of the year.
The days are getting shorter.
We've still got 400 ewes to get off the hill.
The cows are still to come in.
There's just a whole lot of stuff around the farm we just need to get done.
Appin, on the west coast of Scotland.
A rugged landscape of heather-clad hills, stretching for miles.
To thrive on this rough upland terrain,
you need hardy livestock and resilient farmers.
What a nice day. Nice colours.
Sandra and David Coltart run a traditional hill farm.
They keep cattle and sheep,
that for much of the year roam freely over 3,000 acres.
Today, they're rounding up a group of ewes.
The mating season, or tupping time, is fast approaching.
So, the ewes need to be brought in off the hills for a health check.
Well, we're hoping that we're going to get our little puckle of sheep in.
If the dogs do what they're told, that would be a bonus.
What are you barking at?
September's been terrible, because we've had a lot of rain and mist,
so when the weather does come good,
then you've got a blitz the stuff you have to do and everyone wants to get things done.
On a hill farm, livestock are truly free-range.
Farmers spend many hours rounding up their sheep.
It's known as a gather.
With so much ground to cover,
the task would be impossible without the help of a farmer's best friend.
David has Chance, and I have June.
Chance can be extremely stubborn when he wants to, but he's a very
good dog, good stamina.
June, she's a bit of a novice on the hill, but she's been used for trials
and she's done quite well at trials.
They're like our kids, these dogs, really, so, kind of silly,
cos we don't have any kids, so...
These are the babies.
Working sheep in a field is one thing, but out on a
hill, the dogs must first find the sheep -
a skill that takes years to learn.
Some dogs will really only go out and get sheep if they can see them.
But our dogs have to learn to put their nose to the ground and keep
casting out until it actually comes across the sheep.
Once you have a good hill dog, you never part with them,
cos they get to know their job.
You can fix your bike,
you can replace your tractor and your car, but you cannot replace a good hill dog.
Look! That's her command to look for sheep.
A SHEEP BLEATS
Chance and June have found the sheep.
Lie down, Chance. Now stay there.
Now Sandra and David need to deploy some human teamwork.
San's going down here.
I'm going up to this part up here.
And I'll go down on the ridge.
San'll walk parallel with me and she'll keep an eye that I'm not going too
far forward, because the sheep are quite prone at nipping back between us.
Chance, come on.
CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS
We've got this moor
in the middle and mull in the background.
It's nice to see it, when you can see it, and it is a beautiful view.
Sandra's pushing the sheep from below.
Just wait there!
If they don't want to lose them,
David will have to put down the camera and focus on his flock.
In the south-west of Scotland,
the Roan family has been raising and milking cows on these rolling
coastal hills since 1898.
The sixth generation of this dairy dynasty,
brothers Stuart and Steven Roan run two neighbouring farms with their dad Derek.
We all work together.
We're all running the dairy business,
we're running it on two separate farms.
They're close enough to share machinery, but yet far enough
apart for each family to have their own space,
do their own thing and make most of their own day-to-day decisions.
Steven and wife Tracey run their share of the family business from their
farm, Boreland of Colvend.
And their children, Andrew, seven and Lucy, five,
are already showing signs of keeping up the family tradition.
I would disappear for hours,
and play on the farm with my sister and brother.
It was a great upbringing. It was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Loved it. Total freedom.
And so it's nice to know our kids have got the same.
This is Andrew and Lucy's supposedly
He's got some beef cows in there.
He's got some dairy cows in this field!
Andrew is, yeah, a born and bred farmer.
Better not stand on his hens.
He's got some cockerels.
I think he gets Lucy, his sister, to come in and, like,
be the gopher and help.
Oh, that's it. He rents fields out to Lucy, cos she has horses.
I can see some horses over here!
Aye, there's some horses.
I'm not always that happy with the horses on the farm.
I mainly put them in fields away from the farm.
I like cows more than sheep and horses.
Andrew is about to put his passion into practice,
as the whole family gears up for the South West Scotland Dairy Show.
We'll work out what class Andrew's in.
Tracey is the show secretary.
She helps to organise the event.
But it's also a chance for the family to compete and show off their best animals.
This year, Andrew will be competing with three-month-old calf Bliss.
Dad Steven is getting her ready for the big event.
At the moment, I've left...
..the hair on her topline
and also I've left the belly here on the calf.
It's just helping to make the calf look as deep as possible.
Steven's also sprucing up his own prize hopeful,
three-year-old pedigree Holstein Peachy.
She's got quite a bit of venation in her udder,
especially up the back of her udder.
And you're looking for her udder to be well attached,
this centre ligament.
You want a good strong ligament for the attachment.
That would point to the cow going to last a long time.
You have to be quite a strong-willed person to do farming and to
work with your husband full-time!
But it's good, it's good.
It's a nice way of life.
So, we're just shaving her udder with really fine clippers,
to make the veins show up as much as possible.
She's got a good frame. She's got a good, deep, open body.
She is looking quite good there.
You never talk so fondly about me as you do about your cows!
It's not just about looks.
It's how you handle your cow in the ring.
Hold on tight.
And with nearly 23st of boisterous heifer to handle,
it's nowhere near as easy as it looks.
You need a good strong arm.
You need to...
..put a bit of sort of weight, a bit of tension on the rope, just to...
..keep her head up.
Hold on tight. That's it. On you go.
-You take her now.
-No, you're fine. On you go.
Look, I can't do the big bump.
Right, I'll take her when she goes to the step.
-Can you take her?
It's great from my point of view that Andrew is showing an interest.
I mean, obviously, it's not to say that he's definitely going to farm when
he's older, but it's certainly, at the moment, it definitely looks that way.
It means all the work that
my grandfather and father put in and the work that I'm putting in,
that's all sort of carrying on.
No, that's very important to us as a farming family.
He's come on a lot.
He had a wee wobble last night, but Steven gave him a pep talk,
just about having his confidence and I think it's really helped.
Hopefully, it'll be all right on the night, as the saying goes.
You've got a little dirty nose.
Back across, Sandra.
In Argyll, some misbehaving sheep are threatening the smooth running
of David and Sandra's gather.
Domino effect. The ones just out of sight of us
will start moving and the ones that see them will start moving and go forward.
The sheep are still scattered all over the hillside.
They're not daft.
There's ones down here that are trying to get into the
trees, so hopefully Chance will see them and will turn them back round.
The dogs are doing their jobs perfectly.
Chance, that'll do.
And after 27 years together,
David and Canadian-born Sandra are an efficient team.
Just wait there a moment, Sandra.
The couple met at a pub when Sandra was in Scotland visiting relatives.
I remember the thing that struck me the most about David, when he gave me
a ride back down to the croft that night,
he had this little diary in the console of his car,
so I jokingly said,
"Oh, what's this? A little diary full of women?"
And he picked it up, and he said, "No, it's all my lambing dates."
And I was like, "Oh, that's so sweet!"
So I was like, "Oh, I think I kind of like this guy.
-"He's not like anybody I've ever met before."
Lie down, Chance. Lie down!
They seem to be mostly here, hopefully.
So, we'll just go down and take them into the yard.
Once in the fank, or handling pen,
the job is to separate the older ewes from the younger ones.
-You just tell me what you want me to do, that's what you always do anyway.
The older ewes will be sent off for sale.
The remaining sheep are next year's breeding ewes, so they're given an
extra dose of nutrients to get them in tiptop shape for tupping.
There's your vitamins for the year.
Have that rammed down your throat.
It's a slow release. It sits in their stomach.
The sheep are marked in a process called keeling.
It helps identify at a distance which farm the sheep belong to.
This is the messiest job on the farm.
Putting the stock mark on.
And if you're short of lipstick(!)
-Do you want us to put a wee bit of lipstick on you?
People think sheep are stupid, but they're actually really smart.
And they know people's faces as well, yeah.
When I'm in a field and I've got sheep that have been training a bit with my dogs,
I'll go out and the sheep will run up and they'll look straight up into my face.
They recognise me and they feel safe with me, cos they know I'll
never let anything happen to them.
I never allow my dogs to grip them or be rough with them.
Come on, girls.
So, yeah, they're very smart.
The girls are keen to get back to the hills.
Take your time. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
They're meant to take their time.
In the Highlands, in the far north-east of Scotland...
..autumn is harvest time for crofters Robin and Penny Calvert.
Well, we've been married 40 years just about now and so,
we've been doing this sort of thing off and on,
depending on what else we've been doing,
right the way through.
It's one of the things that's always given us a little pleasure.
You know, getting our own food out of the ground.
Well, we have our ups and downs.
-We do argue.
-No, we don't!
-Yes, we do!
-No, we don't!
There you go!
Robin and Penny moved here 25 years ago,
taking on a disused croft -
a type of smallholding unique to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Through sheer hard graft,
they've turned 110 acres of rough land
into a fully working croft that now
supplies them with most of their food
and helps support a small butchery business that sells meat and pies.
Their main source of income is from their 23 Highland cattle.
Grab that gate, then, when they come through.
The Highlanders thrive outside.
A lot of folk will say with the Highlands,
you just put them on rough ground and they'll do well.
They don't. They survive.
If you treat Highlanders well and look after them,
and give them plenty of grub during the winter and things,
they do very nicely indeed.
Come on, in you go.
Grab that gate, pet. You need a lot of hands in a job like this, really.
Brandy, get back.
Come on. Unfortunately, being single-handed crofting, with my wife,
who's not as able as she used to be - I mean, she does what she can -
it can be quite tricky. Come on.
That's it, Pen, well done. Right, that's fine.
Right, that's them.
OK, I've got to go down and get the rest now.
Today, Robin's gathering in the herd, known as a fold,
for a routine TB test.
Bovine TB, or tuberculosis, is a
contagious and potentially deadly disease,
though it's rare in Scotland.
The TB tests are basically a public health requirement. I suppose,
basically, it's a government insurance that we pay for.
Free-range Highland cattle like Robin's usually rub along well together.
Ginger, you're a horrible thing.
Come on, get off.
But when put together in close quarters,
they'll fight to establish a pecking order, bullying the weakest,
like 15-year-old Misey.
Hey, come on.
Come on, Misey. Misey, Misey, come on.
They don't like her.
And they seem to be bullying her a bit in there,
so be as well to just keep them apart from each other at the
I'd better go and find the vet and we'll see what's happening.
Local vet Paul Morrison will be taking on the task of TB testing...
Testing these things with horns, it's not the easiest!
Pecking order going on here.
Highlands are nice in the field, but working with them's hard work.
You're never quite sure when one's going to poke you in the back!
You've got to keep your wits about you all the time when you're
handling cattle like this.
That'll do. We've got one.
A bit wary that I'm coming in here now.
First, they need to get them into the race, or cattle restraint.
Go on, you can do it. You can do it. Go on.
-Get your head through.
-Getting four-feet-wide horns through a
20-inch restraint requires a bit of skill.
No, it's going to be a rope job.
Let's see if we can get one antler through. I think the rest will come.
She's through, Paul.
Oh, Paul. Grab the lock!
She's done it. Has she closed it?
It's done. Is it?
We're going to just inject a tiny amount of tuberculin today and we
come back in three days' time and just see if there's been a reaction to it.
Go on, Mary. Out you go. No, not backwards, you daft cow!
Poor old Misey is the last in.
Come on, Misey. You can do it. I know you've had a tough morning, but
you can do it. Get up there. Come on, up you go.
Up you go.
There's a girl. Come on.
There's a girl.
There you go. Perfection!
She's actually got to the stage, she's a total pain, this cow.
You bring everybody else up from the wood,
you've got to spend half an hour going looking for her.
Why have you still got her? Sentimental?
I'm not going to answer that!
She's one of the first ones we had and she doesn't owe me a penny
and she's been a good old cow, you know.
What do we do with her? You know, she's here till she's finished.
Come on, out you go.
Go on, you geriatric ruin!
Have you time for a coffee?
No, probably not, no. Thanks anyway.
Okey doke. Right, we'll leave you to it. If you want to wash
your boots, there's a bin just by the kitchen window.
Okey dokey. Thanks, Paul.
All right, cheers.
Thanks a lot. Right, we'll just have a tidy up here.
The TB results should come back in three days.
Move back, move back.
Now if the result, for whatever
reason, proves positive, in other words,
a problem within the fold, that
triggers all sorts of horrible things
that we don't want to discuss at this point.
I'm not expecting it, but if by chance we did have a problem within
the fold, that would put us into complete shutdown.
On the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides,
new-entrant farmers Janet and Alastair Taylor are trying to stay
on top of the endless list of autumn tasks.
So in the autumn, it can be quite a busy time for us.
We've got lambs to go to sale,
so there's a lot to do and it's quite a high-pressure time to get
ready for the year ahead.
Janet and Alastair rent a 700-acre farm on the south of the island,
where they rear sheep and a handful of cattle.
The couple were hired hands before taking on their own farm five years
ago. They started with nothing - no farm, no animals and no cash.
We went to the bank for all of our money, but we managed to agree
great deals with local farmers and
friends for buying stock, so that really saved us.
It was, it was really hard and it nearly broke Janet and I,
not as a couple, but just broke our spirits and our passion for farming.
SHE CALLS OUT
So many tears, so much heartache, so much trouble, but we got there,
we got there.
Today, they're bringing in the lambs to get them ready to sell.
Helping them are four of their nine dogs.
We used to have a running joke that every time someone suggested we had
kids, we got another dog!
But now that's getting out of hand, so we'd better stop buying dogs!
And just like kids, not all the dogs are well-behaved.
Janet and Alastair depend on paid contract work and subsidies to make
But the annual lamb sale is the only time they can make money from their
livestock. So it's time for a makeover.
We'll put them into the U-bend.
We'll see if there's any dirty tails.
They run the lambs through a curved handling pen, also known as a race.
Sheep are easier to manage and move when they can't see ahead of them.
These ones are actually all all right,
cos their tails are completely dried up,
so it's all dry shit that's on it.
I'm just going to tidy it up a wee bit so it doesn't look quite so bad.
A tail trim needs a steady hand.
This one that should be worried about it -
I don't want it slipping - cut it.
Shaping her, making her look pretty!
You're disappearing. You stop jumping.
I don't know if you can make this arse look pretty!
Eating too many curries, boy!
Now will be the job of sorting them out into their different lots.
These six-month-old lambs, known as store lambs,
will be sold on to other farmers to be fattened up for meat.
When they go to auction, they'll be sold in batches,
ideally of equal size.
The idea is that you're putting in the best lambs all in together and
the slightly poorer lambs all in together.
Nice, big lambs, we want the buyers to see the nice, big lambs,
not be drawn to the little lambs that don't quite fit in the group.
This pen down here, looking at it, is almost the small pen.
For every lamb that doesn't make the grade,
there's another who's upwardly mobile.
Come, boy. Come on, you're getting promoted.
Janet and Alastair's hopes for profit ride on one group.
This is our top-drawer.
This is the one that hopefully makes the most amount of money per head,
so it's very important to us. This is the only point that this
farm actually produces any money from for us, is when we sell the lambs.
actually, because a bad sale is
really bad. It affects everything.
It affects everything for the next year.
Over six months of hard work has gone into getting their lambs to
this point. But they still have to get their sheep off the island.
Now the couple have to hope the weather and the markets are on their side.
Back down in Dumfries and Galloway,
dairy farmers the Roans are also hoping their hard work will pay off.
I think I'm being over-adventurous trying to fit this in the car.
It's the South West Scotland Dairy Show and team Roan is mobilising.
Yeah, it's quite nerve-racking and certainly competitive.
It's always a sort of step into the unknown,
when you take an animal to a show.
The dairy show is held every autumn in Castle Douglas.
It's a local event
where farmers come together to show off their best cows.
Three-year-old Peachey and young calf Bliss are getting their final
touches before they take to the stage.
It's something I very much enjoy, getting your stock ready for a show.
It's not just about producing milk.
We're trying to breed a herd of cows that we're really proud of.
It's a bit of a shop window, if you like.
To show other farmers the type of stock that you're breeding.
The cattle aren't the only ones to scrub up well.
Grandad Derek is here to make sure dairy show traditions are kept up in
the handlers dress up in white, the way Brook is here.
And the way Steven's got below his boiler suit now and Andrew's got his
whites on. White is not the most practical colour,
but it looks really smart. Let's see what that's like.
-That about right?
It's something that's always nice to see at the shows, is the youngsters
taking calves. I took some calves to shows when I was young as well,
something I always remember and something that probably started off
my interest in that side of things.
You're always a bit apprehensive till you see how things are going,
but it's obviously... You're quite proud to see them doing it.
It's time for Andrew to go into the ring.
-This is the junior calf class, heifer calf - to be born in 2016.
So we have two classes, the junior, and the senior.
The judge is looking for form,
cleanliness and grooming in the calf
and good showmanship from the handler.
But the young calf is playing up.
It's OK, it's OK. We'll get it again. Are you OK? We'll get it.
You OK? Good boy. Come on, you're doing really well.
Come on. You come with me. Come with me.
My heart kind of went, there!
-Did you bump your elbow. I could hear it in the middle of the ring.
It'll be good now. You keep a tight hold.
-but it'll just run away again.
-It won't. You just remember.
It's going to run away again.
No, it won't. If you're confident, remember, confidence.
A pep talk from Dad and Andrew's back in the game.
The boy's doing well.
I don't think he looks very happy, though.
He got a wee fright, but you know, he's got to learn.
So, yeah, OK. I think I'm OK.
The calf's just playing up a wee bit.
He'll get there, though, hopefully.
I just told him to make sure the calf knows that he's the boss.
The judge has made his final decision.
Andrew takes third place.
Well done, Andrew.
-I'll help you. Come on.
-You go with Daddy.
-Come with me.
Considering he got quite a nasty knock,
I think he's done remarkably well and it was a big class, so do you know...
No, I'm pretty proud of him.
You did so well.
Did you get a wee bump?
You're so brave.
What did we get? What's that?
You've got £20. And what are we going to spend that on?
And to top it all, Steven seals team Roan's success with first
-place for Peachey.
-First place just shows a tremendous ring presence and
cleanness throughout and cleaner through her neck, cleaner right down
through her brisket. Showing great youthfulness in her udder.
The udder shaving paid off.
That makes it a bit more worthwhile when you're sort of standing higher
up the class. No, it's really good.
I'm just fair chuffed.
Autumn is a time when farmers take advantage of the last good weather,
to prepare for winter.
And in Argyll, hill farmer David has a rather fragrant task to undertake.
The cattle will soon need to come in,
but while they're out enjoying the last of the warm weather,
David can access the empty sheds...
and what lies beneath.
Each pen has a set number of cows and all the dung that is produced
from them falls in below the slats into a ten-foot tank below.
And that agitator just mixes it up into a kind of soup-like substance
that is easy to put out in the fields.
The slurry from last year has settled at the bottom of the tank
and needs to be mixed up before being spread on the fields,
which sounds harmless, but is far from it.
When the agitation is going on, it produces hydrogen sulphide,
which is a very dangerous gas,
especially when we first start mixing it at the start of the season,
when it's been settled for a while, so I have a gas detector,
which I wear and that protects me from getting overcome with the gas.
I'm not allowed into the house without actually stripping all the
stuff down - because I stink!
Once the slurry has been mixed,
it becomes a natural fertiliser to put on fields.
A job that needs good weather...
..and a thumping soundtrack!
MUSIC PLAYS: Highway To Hell by AC/DC
The slurry is like a kind of high-powered nutrition that just
kind of gives the grass a shot in the arm,
just to give it a last wee boost before the frost starts.
It's nice and dry.
The ground conditions are good and hopefully,
40 or 50 loads may well go out over the next few days.
Just having fun, enjoying the radio, bombing along!
While David gets spreading...
..sheepdog trainer Sandra is trying out five-month-old puppy, Snip.
We'll shut that over.
DOGS BARK LOUDLY
I think they're a bit jealous.
Snip is her youngest collie, but Sandra has high hopes he'll have a
stellar career as a sheepdog.
His great-great-grandfather Snip was one of my first dogs and one of the
best dogs I've ever had, so I decided I would like to have another one like that,
so I'm hoping that he's going to live up to his name.
Well, so far, he seems to be
Some pups will really make a mess,
they'll run through the sheep and take a hold with their teeth and
pull chunks of wool out and scatter the sheep all over the field.
They think it's great fun.
See, I can't put any commands on him, because he doesn't know anything.
His instincts are just
keep the sheep to the handler...
...basically. Good boy.
That's how his grandfather, his great-grandfather started out as well.
It can take up to four years for a sheepdog to reach its prime.
Get to the end of this rope. Come here!
I've been training sheepdogs for about 25 years now.
Lots of things can go wrong when you take them out to sheep for the first
time, they won't listen to you at all.
It's a job that needs patience, commitment and a sense of humour.
There we go.
That was fun. Oh!
Yep! That was my fault.
Slippery rope. Come here, come here.
Oh, no! That's awful!
This is where the fun starts!
Stand on his rope. I've got you!
Right. Good boy.
The rope was slippery. Slipped right out of my hand.
He's wanting to go again.
He's basically showing that
he wants to go around and keep them together,
which is good and he's balancing them to me,
which is also good.
Oh, he's a good lad!
He's so cute.
If he's anything like his great-great-grandfather, well,
he was a good trial dog and I did quite well with him, so...
Here's hoping that he's going to follow in his paw prints, basically.
His paw steps!
Over. Good girl.
Right, I want one.
150 miles away in the far north,
Highland crofter Robin is having better luck with his trusty sidekick Meg.
Right, on you go. On you go.
On you go. Good girl.
Hold it there, hold it there. Right,
that's immobilised now and then we'll turn her over.
Have a look at her feet.
There's no two ways about it.
Half the reason I've got these on here this year is just to keep the dog happy,
because without her sheep, she wouldn't have an awful lot to do, you know,
apart from the cattle.
It's been three days since Robin's cattle had their TB test.
The results have come in.
Well, it's Friday afternoon.
We've had the vet out again this morning.
We had a, fortunately, a clear TB test.
No problems there. So we're all quite happy with that.
Now both he and Penny can concentrate on gearing up for the winter ahead.
Absolutely fabulous day.
First real hard frost we've had.
Getting all that Scotch mist coming up Loch Fleet there.
Over the years, Robin's worked hard to clear and improve his 110 acres.
But he's also kept around 40 acres as woodland, which makes the croft
Right, this is just making use of fallen birch timber and this was a
big tree that came down a few weeks ago.
And this will be used for putting on the Rayburn at home.
This stuff has kept us going for...
..24, 25 years now in bits and pieces,
various Rayburns, keeping them going and...
it's an excellent fuel.
And it's there for the use.
It's part of the croft economy, as far as we're concerned.
It's saving us having to buy the stuff in.
I mean, that's what? Half an hour's cutting there.
That'll keep us going for about four days, which gives us
all our heating,
all our hot water and the majority of the cooking.
It's called crofting.
You either take on crofting the whole hog or you just don't do it.
We've created everything that we've got here.
Started with it just being a patch of nettles
There weren't any fences. All the fences were due to be replaced,
so Robin has actually put in every single fence.
He's built the gates
and he's built the gates to fit the contours of the hill.
He's done that with all the gates.
They all fit exactly, so he's quite a precision artist.
We moved into the house in
1992 and we came over here just before Christmas.
And it was snowing,
then we got into the house
to find that the water was frozen.
There was no electric, there was no telephone and so,
we cooked stews on the peat fire and sat on the sofa and it was just
delightful. We had plenty of candles and we didn't care a bit!
And it was like that for three days.
25 years of hard work have gone into turning disused land into the
productive croft they have today.
Right, tea break.
But six years ago, Penny began to struggle with the workload.
We're getting there. I actually gave up my teaching back in 2011.
My work was getting slower and slower and I had to just call a halt.
I hadn't worked out, I hadn't even thought about Parkinson's then and
it was another three years before it was diagnosed.
But I was getting really tired then, so I just had to stop.
I think if you've got something wrong with you,
you've just got to grin and bear it, work out what your limits are.
And just get on with it.
I've still got my motivation and motability.
I sleep a lot.
I have to take a 40-minute kip after lunch,
but I can usually recharge and it's a funny thing that if you feel like
putting your feet up,
the best way around that is to go for a walk or unload some timber,
because it's the circulation which is slowing your body down,
so you keep the circulation going, and you feel a lot better.
While Parkinson's is incurable,
for now, staying active is key for Penny, which is just as well,
as work on a croft never stops.
I've got the hens to feed and turn out their water.
And the doorstep cleaned, because it's got pen muck on it.
Never leave a rake upside down.
I know, to the detriment of my face!
Over on the Isle of Mull,
it's a big day for new farmers Janet and Alastair,
who are on their way to sell their lambs.
Luckily, the weather is on their side and the ferry is on time.
On board, 59 sale lambs, three dogs and two nervous farmers.
At least we're lucky, Janet,
cos there's no point stressing about whether or not we're going to get
good prices, cos by now, it's too late. We're going today and that's it.
Because we live on the island here,
and it costs so much in time and money to go off the island,
when we go to the sale,
there's no choice other than sell the lambs.
AUCTIONEER SHOUTS BIDS
They reach Dalmally auction in good time,
giving Alastair the chance to suss out any potential competition.
When you look around, ours look less bedraggled.
I'm really happy with the way they're looking.
Having had them in overnight and the last day,
they're looking very fluffy and very dry,
so it makes them look fuller and they stuffed themselves with silage
last night, so they're still looking reasonably full this morning.
A buzz at the ringside is what every seller hopes for.
The lamb prices have been in a slump for the last two years and today,
trade is slow.
Once they factor in the costs of raising the lambs and getting them
to market, they'll need an average
of £35 per sheep to make even a small profit.
19.50 for them three in the rings.
Trade's not great.
In the south-west,
the rosettes and show whites are packed away and it's back to
business for dairy farmers the Roan family.
Their dairy cows need milking and today it's Tracey's turn to
round them up.
Go on, girls. In you go. Come on.
I always remember when Steven trained me -
he said, "If you remember anything,
"always remember to put your milk pipe across into the tank."
This is what basically carries the milk through
into here. If I didn't put this over, the milk
would just run out into the ground, and that would be it gone
and yeah, that would be disastrous.
What could he do, sack me?!
I might get a break if he did!
Get a wee holiday!
Right, let's rock and roll!
Everything is run on a vacuum.
It's like a Hoover. It needs suction.
So think like a breast pump, basically!
It takes on average three and a half hours to milk the entire herd
twice a day, every day.
Cows are just like us women, we're just kind of built the same.
We all come in different shapes and sizes and we produce milk.
Pedigree Holsteins can produce up to 8,500 litres of milk a year.
That's 41 pints a day per cow.
It's these girls that keep our bread and butter,
keep our roof over our heads, so, like, if we didn't have these girls,
we wouldn't have what we have.
Steven is checking the afternoon's takings.
Tonight, there was 2,165 kilos.
That was off of 167 cows.
So it's probably fairly average.
Once the cows are shut in during the day, they'll produce more milk.
It's intensive work,
especially when the most the family will make is 2p per litre.
Milk prices have hit farmers hard.
Half of British dairy farmers have gone out of business in the past
The milk price is a huge thing for us.
It is a worry.
It does annoy me when you see the price of a two-litre jug and you think,
"That's just giving it away."
You need to be resilient to be a dairy farmer these days, and I suppose you
need to be, in a way, you need to be quite brave.
Going forward, I think, it's basically probably going to be boom or bust.
Are we ready to go?
-Aye, the second pen first, if that's all right.
Further north, at Dalmally auction,
a decent profit is also on the minds of new farmers Janet and Alastair.
It's their only chance this year to bring in cash for their farm and
their sale lambs are next in the ring.
Trade is down today, so Alastair deploys a cunning strategy.
I've sent Janet into the ring, cos she's smaller,
so she makes the lambs look bigger.
To make any money today, they'll need an average of £35 per lamb.
It's one of the sad states of farming that, you know, one sale can
just make or break you with regards to making money for it.
We're just having to hope for the best.
Their first batch go for just £30 each.
It's not a good start.
The second batch manage £32 each, slightly better,
but everything now rests on their top-draw lambs.
41. At £41. At £41.
41, 41. 41. At 42.
At 43, at 44,
at 44. Six, seven, eight.
48. 50. It's 50. £48.50.
They go for £48.50 each, a good price...
giving them a total profit of just under £2,000.
I'm quite a pessimist and I like to think if I average £35,
then I'm doing all right but our average there was 38,
so that's not too bad.
We're not going to go home and open the champagne, but...
We can definitely afford the new trailer.
-We can get the new trailer, yeah.
-The bale trailer. Some feeding.
-A bit of Tesco's shopping.
-Yeah, next one's to get some shopping.
What's important to us is having a good, happy life and not be rich.
In the far north,
Highland crofter Robin's also busy trying to boost his finances.
We did get dirty today.
To bring in extra money, they sell croft-reared meat and home-made pies.
Crofts, per se, were never, ever meant to be a living.
They were never meant to be a livelihood.
You go back into the history of crofting...
But everybody that has a croft has a different source of income one way
This is beautiful meat.
Like Janet and Alastair,
Robin used to sell lambs at auction but struggled to make a profit.
If we put it through the ring, as a live animal,
you're probably looking at
anywhere between £40 and £60 at today's prices,
depending on just how the markets are going.
Doing this is where we add a tremendous amount of value into them.
It's about added value. You know,
it's getting the maximum return out of the animals that we possibly can.
The croft makes approximately three times more per lamb by selling their
animals as butchered meat.
To do that, Robin built his own cutting room and taught himself butchery.
Doing what we're doing, producing completely birth-to-plate,
is very good for the produce.
But everything we produce on here has got two purposes.
It's either towards self-sufficiency -
and I hate that expression,
cos it really does scream sort of Good Life,
woolly-back stuff which we are absolutely not into.
There's too much work in here for that.
But we do really believe very,
very strongly in making the croft wash its face as far as it can.
We're making a living, we're paying the bills,
but we're never going to get rich from it, you know.
We need a smoke and we need a cup of tea, I think.
While the butchery helps the croft pay for itself,
it also allows Penny to step back from farming duties.
You're being a sook. You're being an absolute sook, aren't you?
Go on, on your chair.
Is that a pot-full of coffee on there, Penny?
-No, but it could be.
-That sounds like a good idea to me, that.
Are you needing a snooze, or are you dithering?
I just did too much this morning.
OK. Have you taken your pills?
I will do in half an hour.
Have you tried taking about ten at once, to see what happens?
Well, the problem is,
your body gets used to them, and then they run out of their efficacy.
Yeah, but you could have a lot of fun on the way past, couldn't you?
I've never met a sort of hyperactive Parkinson patient, you know!
Here you are.
Not much wrong with those at all.
Back down in the south-west,
the day's milking is finally over for the Roans, but work never stops
on a dairy farm.
Steven is in the barn, preparing for some new arrivals.
This is what we would call the calving pen or the
maternity ward, if you like.
Ideally, you like to just get a constant sort of stream of
pregnancies in your cows, so that you're getting cows calving all the time.
As cows don't produce milk until they calve,
the Roans depend on this constant cycle of pregnancies.
Little heifer calves, they're the sort of lifeblood of the farm.
They're the future, future generation.
They'll all be milking animals in two years' time.
You know they're healthy enough if you see them skipping about like that.
I just basically love working with cows.
It's my hobby as well as my job.
There's no clocking off in farming,
especially when it comes to pregnant cows.
It's almost nine in the evening
and Tracey's concerned about first-time mum Daisy.
The feet are out, so, yeah, it's imminent.
She wasn't really progressing, but now, there's two feet there,
so I'm just going to check that the head's definitely there as well,
just to make sure it's been presented the correct way.
This is her first calf. It's just a heifer.
So there's never as much room when they're just a first-time.
The head's there OK.
Heifers are young cows that haven't had their first calf.
They're much more likely to suffer complications than mature cows.
The skill is to know when to help.
Intervene too soon and it could harm the cow's ability to calve in the
-I would rather just leave her half an hour,
just... There's a fair chance, if we leave her in peace,
she might just calve herself.
Steven goes to check on the other cows while Tracey stays behind to
keep an eye on the labour.
Oh, she's laid down, look.
There, you can see, like, she's like laid down and she's like pressing,
so I think, as we have contractions, so she's starting to get there.
She'll just be a bit unsure, because it is her first.
She doesn't really know what's happening.
There's no antenatal classes!
No gas and air or anything.
That's a good sign.
Sounds worse than it is.
Oh, I think that'll be the head.
It's a red and white.
That's a girl, oh...
There we go.
Every farmer wants a healthy calf, but for dairy farmers,
the added hope is it's a girl that will go on to join the milking herd.
It's a heifer! Yes!
Ideal. Welcome to the world, eh!
Well done, lass.
There you go, there's your baby.
Phew, that was a success.
You just needed a wee hand, didn't you?
Oh, it is quite a good end to a long day.
It's a really good end.
Alastair has set his sights on honing new skills for the farm.
Then you can see deer in everything.
It's man versus very stubborn beast for buffalo farmer Stevie.
The more you fight them, the more they go against you.
And our old friends Mel and Martin introduce their new addition.
Oh, she'll definitely be a sheep girl!
BABY CRIES OUT
The hit farming documentary series returns and in this first episode of the second series, four new families are introduced .
On Mull, new entrant farmers Janet and Alastair take their lambs to auction, in Dumfries and Galloway, three generations of the Roan dairy-farming family enter a cow and a young heifer into competition at the South West Scotland Dairy Show, and in Argyll, hill farmers David and Sandra prepare for autumn by gathering in their sheep for a mineral dose and spreading slurry, while in the far north in the Highlands, crofters Robin and Penny's cattle are tested for bovine TB.