Following on from two years of COVID-19-related absence, the North Eastern Holstein Friesian Breeders Club field evenings returned this summer with a bang.

During the lockdown, two club members were honoured with national success and, as a result, the committee chose them to host the club field evenings this year.

In 2020, Brendan Meade of the Stamullen herd in Stamullen, Co Meath, achieved the status of the highest EBI herd in Ireland. Brendan runs a spring-calving system, using 12 of the top genomic AI sires available across the herd each year.

In 2021, Tom and James Kelly of the Monamore herd in Drogheda, Co Louth, won the large herd section of the national herds competition. The Kellys run a split calving herd with particular emphasis on grass utilisation.

Heifer donation

To celebrate their achievements, both herd owners kindly donated a heifer calf to the club to raise much needed funds for the people of Ukraine.

A committee of Gerard Caffrey, Leo Collins and Pat Murray came together and organised a raffle and an auction. It proved a phenomenal success.

Various companies and organisations in the area donated detergents, AI straws, calf feed, vouchers, tickets and so on and the event was launched with an early bird draw at the field evening in Stamullen.

Lively bidding

The raffle and auction took place two weeks later at a field evening in Monamore. The auction was conducted live and online with the help of Michael and Brian Taaffe of Taaffe Auctions.

There were 18 lots in the auction, with the calf commanding the most interest. The calf was a November-born heifer calf from Monamore. Bidding was lively in the shed and online, with the calf finding a new home in the Fowlerstown herd belonging to the Moore family. The final event on the night was the raffle for a spring-born Lunasa-bred daughter from the Stamullen herd. This €275 EBI calf was won by Frank and Mary Crinion of the Glandore herd.

All funds raised were donated to the Irish Red Cross for use in Ukraine, with a whopping €18,000 handed over.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Gerard Caffery said: “The club would like to sincerely thank all of those who supported this very worthy cause. A special thank you to Brendan Meade, Tom and James Kelly, all of those who sponsored prizes and to Gavin Duff and his team in the Red Cross for all the help we got.”