Mayflowers in bloom at the Virginia farm of Kathleen Duffy.

A month of fundraising

Stand in the Gap

Kathleen Duffy

We are just past the Spring Equinox, though the weather could be considered summer-like with a temperature of 18 degrees and brilliant sunshine as I write this: Daffodil Day. We were collecting again in Supervalu in Virginia with the Men’s Shed helping out. This year I figured that people might not be as interested in Daffodil Day with so much other fundraising going on, but how wrong I was, we were sold out by 1pm with a great response. It was fantastic meeting so many people just to say hello. In particular I want to thank the lady who arrived with a cloth bag full of coins, which she saved up for the last two years. Every penny counts and she, like almost everyone else, had her own story of her mother with cancer. Others used the Night Nursing service which is funded from Daffodil Day. Next year we will order more as now they have the facility to scan a QR reader with the phone to pay. More and more people don’t carry cash and their only method of payment is Google Pay or Revolut apps on their phones. So handy to tap, but you need to keep an eye on the bank statements.


Isn’t it lovely to hear the birds singing and see the buds starting to emerge. The mayflower is beautiful as it peeps from the bottom of the ditches.

Unfortunately COVID has not gone away and it is hard to organise anything with people having to pull out last minute due to this new strain. Some people are getting it quite bad and having to lie low for a week or so.


On the farm we are well on way to finishing the calving season with about 75% finished. This week should see a batch to take us near the end, but as always we have a few stragglers in April. We had a great run of healthy calves thank God. First replacements then mainly Angus but we had a few Limousins, Aubracs, and Herefords that are being purchased by local farmers. We used sexed semen on the early cows to get enough replacements and this worked out very well. Spring definitely needs young people with their strength and stamina and we were lucky enough to get an excellent student from Ballyhaise for the month of March and we are grateful to be so lucky with our own health.

Ground conditions are brilliant but the grass is not growing with the hasky weather and night frosts. We have put out 2,500 gallons of slurry on silage ground, and also protected urea on silage ground and the milking platform. Because we are in derogation we are already limited to what we can do as we work to a nitrates plan and trying to save on fertiliser. We already have some paddocks in multi species and have red clover over on the silage fields in Cross. The grass is not growing like it should, our average cover has fallen and growth is not matching the demand. The cows are being supplemented with 4 kgs of meal and 2kgs of silage. Breeding season will start again soon, and heat notices are being recorded. It will soon be time to buy the paint for the tail painting of cows which we find very useful for heat detection.


What can we say? How can people be so cruel to others. We see it in Africa, in the Far East places like Afghanistan, The Congo, Somali and others who seem to constantly struggle. We had our eyes opened wide when war in Ukraine started as this is on our patch of the world. Such madness and such needless suffering. Power over others is an awful thing and we never thought we would see the threat of world war three grinding so may sections of the economy to a halt, and the effects of this threat is hard to comprehend. So much has happened to so many, it will take a long time for people to come to terms with what happened.

Starting this week, the Farmers for Ukraine Fundraising appeal is dedicated to fundraising by members of the agricultural community in Ireland to provide for those displaced, to help them find homes and services they need. As a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine millions have become displaced fleeing war and violence. This appeal is in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and is organised by the immediate past Presidents of Macra na Feirme (Thomas Duffy), ICMSA (John Comer), IFA (Joe Healy), ICSA (Edmond Phelan), INHFA (Colm O’Donnell). They are linking up with Concern to achieve this. For more, see:

As we look forward to Easter we hope it brings good and bright things into people’s lives. Virginia Show Centre is buzzing with activity and it is great to see so much use being made of it by so many. We attended the Graduation ceremonies for Ballyhaise College this week. It is great to see so many young, and not so young, people entering farming.

For us, we were very glad to see four students get their certificates, having done their placements on our farm over the two years, we especially wish them well.