Prior to the National Ploughing Championships, the 2019 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards were announced. The event is designed to highlight some of the latest agritech and agri-engineering projects underway in the country.

The overall winner was the Mission Control system developed by Kerry-based Dairymaster, which has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) to rotary milking and includes an advanced cow recognition system called ‘CowNow’.

The OptiCruise technology incorporated into the design an ability to optimise milking speeds. It also identifies the history of each individual cow and predicts the time it will take to complete the milking process.

‘The future of agri-business’

Other award winners included The Cotter Create from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, which was named as the best agri-engineering start-up for its handling crate that facilitates safe, quick and accurate administration of vaccines and other animal health products. FarmEye from Oranmore, Co Galway, was named the best agritech start-up for its efforts in measuring food chain sustainability.

Keelings CEO Caroline Keeling was also named as winner of the Anna May McHugh Female Leadership in Agriculture Perpetual trophy.

National Ploughing Association managing director Anna May McHugh commented: “My congratulations to all of the Innovation Arena Award winners and particularly Dairymaster Mission Control as the overall winner.

“This is quite an achievement given the high quality and standard of all the exciting entries being showcased here at Europe’s largest outdoor event.”

Meanwhile, Enterprise Ireland’s CEO, Julie Sinnamon, added: “The Innovation Arena Awards showcase the future of agri-business and offer Irish agri-innovations a world stage.

“There is clear evidence of the value and potential of the agri-sector to drive economic growth and Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting the global ambition of our agri-sector by looking to new markets and overseas growth opportunities.”

Colm Gorey
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