Farmer opens up new possibilities with device to speed up milking

GrazeMate Drover won the NPA/Toplink Innovation Award at the Ploughing Championships for farmer-inventor Neilus Murphy from Coolagown, near Fermoy, Co Cork.

A mobile phone text message sent to this battery-powered unit opens and closes a barrier fence on demand.

It does away with the time-consuming task of following the herd back to pasture after milking, to secure them.

It can also be operated using a time clock set for the regular milking times of the herd. It can also make buffer feeding easier, or allow housing of cows during bad weather without having to go to the paddock.

Users can open or close paddocks at will, when leaving cows back in batches, such as when testing and dosing. It can reduce daily visits to the fields by at least 50%, allowing huge time savings.

GrazeMate Drover can be attached securely to a typical electric fence post, and is powered by a rechargeable battery.

Celebrating with Neilus at the Ploughing, and congratulating him were the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership Leader group, and the North Cork Enterprise Board, both of which helped him bring his product from concept to market in less than two years.

Neilus has first-hand experience of the amount

of time spent bringing the herd in for milking. He approached Avondhu Blackwater Partnership (www.avondhublackwater.com) in late 2011 with his idea.

It was quickly decided to award a grant of 75% funding for a feasibility study, undertaken by PLAS Consulting Engineers (www.plas.ie).

The study confirmed that Neilus’ invention was viable to manufacture, that it could exploit a niche in the market, and critically, that a sufficient target market existed.

The study included an action plan for the most efficient way to manufacture the product and bring it to market, and set out financial targets.

The project was passed to the North Cork Enterprise Board to assist in establishing manufacture of the product.

Now, it is hoped that, once the product is established in Ireland, it will also have considerable export potential.

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