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04 Oct 2022

Limerick companies win Innovation Arena awards at National Ploughing Championships

Limerick companies take home Innovation Arena awards at National Ploughing Championships

Unison Process Solutions won the Agri-Engineering Award in the established company category while Cotter Agritech (pictured below) won the IFAC Best New-Comer Award | PICTURES: Traction

A NUMBER of Limerick-based companies have taken home awards at 2022 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards.

The annual awards take place in association with the National Ploughing Championships and the winners were announced at Ratheniska, County Laois this Thursday morning.

The awards recognise and showcase innovative agri-tech and agri-engineering capabilities and new product development in the agriculture sector.

A strong theme which emerged from this year’s Innovation Arena Awards was a focus on efficiency while also contributing to food security and the fight against climate change.  

Unison Process Solutions, which is based at the Kilmallock Road Enterprise Centre in Limerick, took home the Agri-Engineering Award in the established company category. Unison’s Smart Microdairy is a pasteurising solution that is making milk vending simple. The plug-and-play unit includes everything needed for processing and dispensing milk. It is is built to the Department of Agriculture standards and is installed in just one day. The unit is operated by an app remotely and does not require the farmer to enter the processing room. 

When compared to batch pasteurisation, the Smart Microdairy is three times faster, requires ten times less labour, and is much more economical – generating six and a half times less operational costs, along with less energy and water usage. 

Limerick’s Cotter Crate also won the IFAC Best New-Comer Award.

Based at Dromtrasna North, Abbeyfeale, the company has developed the Cotter Crate, an innovative sheep handling system that makes handling sheep and lambs easier, 50% faster, and safer.

It has also developed an app called SmartWorm which integrates with the crate. SmartWorm enables sheep farmers to transition from blanket treatment with antiparasitic drugs (wormers) to targeted applications treating only the animals that need it.

This is achieved via advanced algorithms which identify in real-time whether an animal will benefit from a wormer treatment or not. This reduces antiparasitic drug use by up to 50% - reducing costs, slowing drug resistance, and mitigating negative biodiversity impacts.  

This year’s overall Innovation Arena Awards winner was Co Kildare-based manufacturer of milking parlours and robotic systems Pearson Milking Technology.

Announcing the award winners, Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said: "A strong farming heritage and cutting-edge technologies have made Ireland a global centre for agri-tech quality and innovation. By focusing on greater efficiency across every aspect of modern agriculture, Irish agri-tech businesses are delivering forward-thinking solutions to address some of the industry’s greatest challenges and changing demands. The positive impacts that these solutions will have on future global agriculture, particularly in relation to environmental, sustainability and digitalisation, are inspiring." 

National Ploughing Association Managing Director, Anna May McHugh, added: “Congratulations to all of the Innovation Arena Award winners and particularly Pearson Milking Technology as the overall winner this year. This is a remarkable achievement given the high standard and calibre of entries being showcased this year."

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