FROM machine learning to on-farm automation, the most innovative Irish agri-tech and agri-engineering products were this week named by Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy and National Ploughing Association Managing Director Anna May McHugh.
Showcasing the future of Irish agri-tech, the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards recognises 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.
Limerick-based Unison Process Solutions 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. This solution 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 Newcomer Award. Cotter Agritech has developed the Cotter Crate, an innovative sheep handling system that makes handling sheep and lambs easier, 50 per cent faster, and safer.
They have 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 per cent – reducing costs, slowing drug resistance, and mitigating negative biodiversity impacts.