The big winner in the National Dairy Innovation Awards was the Limerick-based start-up, Anuland, at the National Dairy Show last Saturday in Millstreet.
Their new grass management technology won the overall and best start-up awards, and the gold award in the technology section.
The Carbery Group-supported awards were the biggest yet in the eight years since they became part of the National Dairy Show.
The judging panel had the unenviable task of picking winners from 22 finalists.
The panel of six judges was initially divided into three pairs to judge the individual section winners.
The sections were Science, Engineering and Technology.
The panel then considered the winner of each section, to determine the overall winner.
The judges in the Science section were Dr Gerard Coakley, Lecturer in Agricultural Science in Institute of Technology, Tralee (PhD in Biosystems Engineering and Research Fellow, UCD), and Paddy Barrett, Quality Assurance Manager of award sponsors Carbery Group.
At the conclusion of their judging deliberations, they declared natural bolus manufacturer AHV International as the Gold Award winner.
AHV International offers a wide range of what they call ‘new pharma’ solutions by supporting the resistance of and the immune system of animals, for recovery after illness, without antibiotics.
The award-winning product was the company’s Cow Extra Bolus which is scientifically proven to treat clinical mastitis and high-cell-count cows.
The judges were impressed with the scientifically proven approach of the product in an era when farmers need to be careful about the amount of antibiotics that are used.
The Silver Award in the Science section went to ICBF for their scientific work behind the d Sire Advice breeding tool. Overhauled in 2018 in collaboration with Teagasc, the improved algorithm has shown significant increase in usage for the 2019 breeding season.
The Gold winner in the Engineering section was RAMGen with their new method of covering silage clamps. The judges in the engineering section were two multi-award-winning farmers.
Carbery supplier John Joe O’Sullivan is an Origin Green Sustainability Overall Winner and Carbery Quality Milk Winner, and was joined by farmer Paula Hynes, who starred in RTÉ’s Hardest Harvest TV documentary. It’s her second year as a judge.
The award-winning RAMGen Silage Safe was chosen for “taking the hardship out of one of the hardest jobs of the year.”
The Silage Safe is a completely new way of covering a silage clamp.
It does away with tyres or sandbags, making the job cleaner, and making adjustments after pit shrinkage much easier.
The cover is anchored on either side, using the weight of the silage, and connected together on top and ratcheted to provide full and equal tension on the surface, edges and down the sides.
The Silver in the Engineering section went to King Coupling who devised a way to repair burst hydraulic pipes.
The judges said, “every dairy farmer should have one. Imagine 5 o’clock on a Sunday, and you’re feeding cows and the hose bursts, just use the King Coupling, and you’re back up and running to get finished up in no time.” A farmer can use the three-part coupling to join two broken pieces of hydraulic hose pipe within 20 minutes.
The Technology section of the National Dairy Innovation Awards is the section that has seen growth year-on-year.
It is also the most successful when it comes to the overall winner of the awards, with five overall titles out of eight.
The judges of the section this year were Joe Kirk, an agricultural data specialist with Acorn Agricultural Research, and Agricultural Science Association council member Julie Roche of JR Agricultural Consultants.
The runner up in the Technology section was Mitchelstown-based Rea Refrigeration with their milk tank sensors, Coolcare.
The retrofit sensor technology can provide information to farmers in relation to the tank’s performance, and notify of any issues.
The remote milk monitoring system can notify immediately in many bulk tank malfunction scenarios, including ice formation in the milk, low refrigerant, and wash water temperature incorrect.
They were runner-up to Anuland, the new company who would claim the top prize in the awards. Their product is the Fieldsense, a new systemised approach to grass measurement.
It helps farmers reduce time and improve decision making for optimum grass cover.
Anuland FieldSense offers a first-of-its-kind camera technology that automatically measures grass using artificial intelligence vision technology, algorithms, and machine learning.
The farmer takes an image of the grass any time during their daily tasks.
This image is paired with the Anuland monitoring station and transmitted to the Anuland insights platform.
The grass measurement data is returned to the App for grass management recommendations in real-time.
It was launched just one month ago, after two years of research and development.
Receiving the awards, Anuland Director David McDonnell said, “We are thrilled to receive such recognition for our company and our technology. It is testament to the hard work and brilliant minds of our team, and a fantastic endorsement for how our grass measurement technology is addressing real and pressing issues that farmers face.
“Our camera technology enables farmers to measure their grass on-the-go, by taking a photo of the grass whilst doing other daily tasks.”
“This image data feeds into our system, giving accurate grass measurement in real-time, helping farmers to keep on top of grass management decisions at all times.”
The awards are judged on the innovative aspects of the product/service in relation to dairy farming, the practicality of a product/service in assisting with common dairy farming chores/problems and the presentation and promotion of the product/service.