A COMPANY established by two County Limerick brothers to reduce chemical use in agriculture has won the first national accelerator programme for early-stage AgTech and FoodTech start-up companies.
Cotter Agritech founders, Jack and Nick Cotter from Abbeyfeale, were winners of the inaugural UCD Agtech Start-up of the Year award which included a €10,000 prize sponsored by AIB and Yield Lab Ireland.
They have developed a system that uses advanced algorithms to enable livestock farmers transition from blanket treating animals with antiparasitic drugs, to a very precise application by identifying and targeting only the animals that need treatment.
This approach reduces antiparasitic drug use by up to 50 per cent, which reduces costs, prevents against parasite resistance, and reduces impacts on biodiversity.
Cotter Agritech has recently concluded research trials with UCD, Queens University Belfast, and 18 commercial farmers across Ireland and the UK which have validated the solution. The hardware and software products are being launched next month.
The brothers participated in the AgTechUCD Agccelerator Programme, an intensive 12-week virtual programme which included dedicated business development workshops and investor readiness training.
Based at UCD Lyons Farm, AgTechUCD is focused on accelerating the launch and scaling of AgTech and FoodTech start-ups in Ireland and has been funded through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.
Nick Cotter said the new programme delivered a lot of value for the company, and to win the award was a welcome bonus.
“It’s a great way to kick off 2022. The prize money will go a long way, and it’s a great source of confidence as we move to launching the product in the coming weeks in Ireland and the UK.”
The Cotters are no strangers to business awards and their Cotter Crate, a sheep monitoring system that uses hardware and software to help farmers keep keep track of their animals and identify which ones need treatment, won best agri-engineering start-up at the 2019 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards.