Limerick winners at Enterprise Ireland’s National Ploughing Championship arena

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick winners at Enterprise Ireland’s National Ploughing Championship arena

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, presents Robert Shine, of Samco, with Innovation Arena Award. Also pictured is Anna May McHugh, managing director of the National Ploughing Association

FROM new machinery to cow recognition software solutions for farmers, the most innovative Irish agri-tech and agri-engineering products were named at the National Ploughing Championships this week.

And Limerick was to the fore. The county boasted two winners at the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards.

The Agri-Engineering Start-Up award went to The Cotter Crate, Abbeyfeale. Nick and Jack Cotter’s invention facilitates the quick, safe, easy and accurate administration of vaccines, dose and drenches to lambs from three weeks of age. The innovation lies in how the lambs are safely and comfortably constrained in the crate; allowing the farmer / flock owner administer multiple treatments quickly and accurately.

While Samco in Adare - already a multiple award winner - took home the Agri-Engineering Established Company prize for its silage wheel loader extensions.

 Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and National Ploughing Association managing director Anna May McHugh presented the accolades.

Representing the future of Irish agri-tech, the awards recognise innovative agri-tech and agri-engineering capability and new product development in the agriculture sector.

The overall winner was Kerry’s Dairymaster Mission Control which has introduced artificial intelligence to rotary milking. Features include ‘CowNow’ which is an advanced cow recognition system. The OptiCruise technology incorporated into the design adjusts the speed of milking so that milking time is optimised. It also identifies the history of each individual cow, predicts its milk out time and combines it with the milk out time of the cows already featured on the problem.

Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena, in association with the National Ploughing Association, showcases ground-breaking agri-related products and innovations from 50 Irish agri-companies, acting as a funnel for agri-tech innovation in Ireland.

Almost 100 applications to exhibit were received with the top 50 exhibitors selected, all of whom were finalists in the awards.

Ms Sinnamon said: “The Innovation Arena Awards showcase the future of agri-business and offer Irish agri-innovations a world stage. This is Enterprise Ireland’s sixth year co-hosting the Innovation Arena and during this time we have brought in over 500 international buyers to the arena. Each year we see significant progress in the innovative agri-products and services on display.”

The good news continues as Limerick scooped one of the big prizes on day one. Ken Smyth, of Palatine Engineering, in Askeaton, was announced as the winner of the Machine of the Year award from the main bandstand.

Palatine Engineering is a young Irish agricultural engineering company dedicated to designing and producing high-quality agricultural machines. They currently manufacture a range of grass harrows designed using the latest CAD software and manufactured on some of the latest cutting edge machinery. Backing up this technology is comprehensive field testing of their products in real-world conditions.