RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 14

Ireland Produces 15% Of World's Baby Formula
At any given time three in twenty babies around the world are drinking formula made using Irish milk. Darragh Mc Cullough visits the country's largest producer, Abbott Nutrition in Co Cavan. Approximately 1,000 dairy farms in Ireland and Northern Ireland supply milk to the Cootehill factory that processes 500,000 litres per day. Baby formula is a very lucrative export and generates employment in many areas around the country. Darragh investigates the role that baby formula plays in the economy and in our society.

The Old Ways Are The Best
Thatched houses are a rare yet wonderful sight around the country. Helen Carroll joins thatcher Tommy Roberts in Limerick for the day, to learn more about this ancient craft. Tommy practices Scallop Thatching, which is specific to the area, and thatches using local reeds. Helen goes out on a boat to harvest the reeds from the banks of the river Shannon in the same manner, as it would have been done for generations. She'll also speak to thatch historian Fidelma Mullane who hopes that the craft will continue through experts like Tommy and she'll find out what the benefits are of living under a thatched roof.

Lambs Are In The Air
In sheds and barns around the country the bleet of new-bon lambs can be heard. But to bring this new life into the world farmers have to adhere to a timetable and procedures of almost military precision. Farmers can't leave a sheep's fertility to chance and much time and effort is invested into making sure that lambs are arriving now, in time for the Easter market. Earlier this year Ella Mc Sweeney visited James Murphy's farm in Co Kilkenny to follow the whole process from start to finish. Will "Ellie" the Ear to the Ground branded sheep have a new arrival for Ella to meet when she returns to the farm?



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