We are delighted to announce that ifac is the 2018 sponsor for RTE’s show “Big Week on the Farm” which starts on Monday, 9th April. The award-winning farm show has been a huge success for RTE attracting more than 1.3 million viewers in 2017.
This year’s Big Week on the Farm will be presented by Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor, from a purpose built studio on the farm of ifac client and dairy farmer Gillian O’Sullivan in County Waterford.
This sponsorship is part of ifac’s commitment to building awareness of its brand and range of services, and supporting Irish farming at this crucial juncture, with Brexit just twelve months away. Promos for the show are expected to run over the weekend.
Commenting on the sponsorship ifac CEO John Donoghue said, “ifac is delighted to support Big Week on the Farm, it has been fantastic for farming over the last few years, farmers love the show and it’s a great help in educating the general public about farming and food production”.
BIG WEEK ON THE FARM, RTÉ One, nightly at 7pm from Monday, April 9th to Friday, April 13th
Early April, is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers, as the land welcomes new life once again. From April 9th, every evening at 7pm, Ella McSweeney, Áine Lawlor, and celebrity guest presenters, Deirdre O’Kane, Alison Spittle, Sean O’Brien and Lee Chin will descend on the O’Sullivan family’s dairy farm, amidst the chaos of spring calving and milking.
The Big Week on the Farm studio will play host to a 150-strong live studio audience, in a field overlooking Dungarvan Bay where the cattle of Gillian and Neil O’Sullivan usually graze.
Gillian and Neil and their children Fionn (6), Hannah (4) and Tim (2), are our host farmers this year. The family have been farming for generations and Gillian’s father and mother Marianne & Michael Wall are still heavily involved in the farm.
The O’Sullivan farm and surrounding area is home to a vast array of wildlife. From the adjacent woodland which is alive with squirrels, pine martens and woodland birds to the coastal spoonbills who dig into the sand with their bills and push the mud through their spoon shaped bills and curlews, oyster catchers, gulls, Brent geese and peregrine falcons to the otters who occupy the rivers and coastal waters, with the help of animal behaviour experts, hidden cameras and drones, the O’Sullivan family will learn about the covert lives of some of Ireland’s most fascinating wild animals.
In unique and beautifully filmed footage, Big Week on the Farmwill look at the secret lives of farm animals, as we peer inside the world of the misunderstood crow and witness one of the cleverest of the species. We will follow the life of the calf from birth to separation from the mother, and we see what happens when a roosters coop is invaded by a potential competitor. Featured in this years series for the first time will be a look into the secret life of the Vet. We follow a vet as he attempts to deliver a calf by Caesarian section – can he preserve the life of both cow and calf as we witness the arrival of new life? Also he takes us through a seemingly routine hernia removal but as with all procedures potentially fatal danger is never far away.
Meanwhile, our location presenters Darragh McCullough and Helen Carroll will be broadcasting live from ten different farms across the country; two different farms a night! They’ll witness the makeover of a cow as it is prepared for a live sale at an evening mart, the difficulties of being the only producer based on an island, the girls school which is rearing Aberdeen Angus Cows and a world record attempt to gather the largest collection of Massey Ferguson tractors in one place to name a few.
Big Week on the Farm will also explore new technologies in farming, as researchers from around the world uncover how the farm of the future may be inhabited by a selection of robots and artificial intelligence. We also find out how to produce a real steak without an animal dying. We uncover a farm which is underground in London and can deliver from farm to shop in a matter of minutes, the dangers of soil depletion and using ground-breaking and world-leading research here in Ireland we analyse the effect of sensory stimulation and confusion in the production of the ultimate steak.
Following from the huge success of previous year’s sheep shearing Guinness World Record with Ivan Scott, and the World Tractor reversing record which is currently held by last year’s host farmer Patrick Shalvey this year, the Big Week on the Farm team will be hoping to break more Guinness World Records, while our celebrity guests aim to beat actor, musician and comedian Pat Shortt’s current hand milking record in ‘Pull the Udder One’ after his huge success in the milking challenge last year.
Each night, on Big Week on the Farm, Ella, Áine and celebrity guests will present live studio demos, discussions, dissections, hatchings and births. From calving, to lambing and laying, Big Week on the Farm provides the nation with real-time access to the incredible lives of Ireland’s farm animals and farmers. Join us as the drama unfolds every night, April 9th-13th, from 7pm on RTÉ One.
Viewers can tweet @ifac_advice or @RTEOne using the hashtag #onthefarm.
Episode 1, RTÉ One, April 9th at 7pm
Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor are joined by guest presenter, comedian and actress Deirdre O’Kane for the first episode of Big Week on the Farm, LIVE from the O’Sullivan family farm in Waterford. We’ll take a look inside the secret world of the much maligned crow family, we experience the beauty and excitement of wildlife on the beach and we show Farmer Gillian O’Sullivan how the farm of the future may thrive using robots and artificial intelligence. The farm in Waterford will play host to a 150-hundred strong audience, but with a live-link up to a sheep farm, on the first night of the show, will we have a live lambing?
Episode 2, RTÉ One, April 10th at 7pm
Guest presenter Marty Whelan joins hosts Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor for day two of Big Week on the Farm, live from Gillian O’Sullivan’s farm in Waterford, where we will see if it is possible to create artificial beef and ask the question would you eat it? Plus we follow a vet who in the course of performing a routine op on a cow finds something very sinister and we visit Roscommon evening mart for a sale, but only after a makeover. And in the busy maternity ward of the O’Sullivan’s farm, will we have a live calving?
Episode 3, RTÉ One, April 11th at 7pm
Top Wexford hurler Lee Chin will join Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor as they host day three of Big Week on the Farm, live from O’Sullivan’s farm in Waterford, where we will be eavesdropping on the plentiful wildlife that lives in local woodland. We’ll be analysing the secret life of the calf and experiencing the challenges and difficulties of farming life on a farm on a small island and we check the Waterford soil to assess the dangers of soil Farmageddon. But will one of Gillian’s pregnant heifers give birth while we’re on air?
Episode 4, April 12th, RTÉ One at 7pm
Actress, writer and comedian Alison Spittle will be our guest presenter on day four of Big Week on the Farm, as she joins hosts Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor live from Gillian O’Sullivan’s farm in Waterford. We’ll be checking out the value of poo and finding a highly productive farm which exists entirely underground. Location presenter Darragh McCullough joins the students from Laurel Hill School in Limerick who are rearing Aberdeen Angus cows – will the live weigh in reveal the good news of substantial weight gain? And Helen Carroll is in Kildare, where she will be part of a live world record attempt to create the largest procession of Massy Ferguson tractors ever seen. Will we see the birth of a calf, live on air?
Episode 5, April 13th, RTÉ One, at 7pm
On the last day of Big Week on the Farm special guest Ireland and Leinster star Sean O’Brien joins Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor, on the O’Sullivan family farm in Co. Waterford, where Gillian goes in search of local otters, we follow the bloody and confrontational secret life of the rooster, visit a farm on top of a school building in the middle of the city and get to peek behind the gates of a very private residence. But will we have one last birth before the week is out?