Heat is on for inventor of frisky cow monitor

A Kerryman is vying to be crowned cream of the world’s entrepreneurs with his frisky cow monitor.

Edmond Harty jets to Monte Carlo on Wednesday to promote his invention, which maximises a dairy cow’s fertility.

Mr Harty, who heads Dairymaster, designed a necklace device that alerts the farmer when a cow is in heat.

The MooMonitor fertility device will be among his products in the world finals of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards this week.

“About 70% of heats on a dairy farm are at night- time, when the farmer isn’twatching his cows,” said Mr Harty, who will represent Ireland. “They are generally more active at that time. In simple terms they are friskier, and he won’t see it.”

Technology from rockets and smartphones was used for the design of MooMonitor, which sends a text or voice alert to farmers, giving real-time information about the health and fertility status of each cow.

Mr Harty, 37, believes he has a good chance at the finals of the Ernst andYoung competition as his collection of farm devices is so different to the entries being put forward by almost 50 other countries.

“This is so important because for a cow to produce milk she has to have a calf, and for that to happen there’s obviously a right time for breeding. So from an economic point of view, every time a farmer misses a cow’s heat it costs him about €250,” he said.

“It allows a cow to be a cow and breed on its natural cycle so there’s no use of hormones, which can be used quite a lot in the US.”

Dairymaster was set up by Mr Harty’s father in Tralee in 1968 and is at the cutting-edge of product innovation, exporting to more than 40 countries.

Other products include milk-cooling tanks that text messages to the farmer about supply, and milking machines that follow the natural sucking of a calf.

He has already patented about 45 devices in the last 15 years, and his team of300 has another eight ideas in the pipeline.

“Food and population growth is becoming a huge issue around the world. Becoming more efficient on farms, and improving lifestyle and quality of life, is very important.”

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