Dairymaster behind technology at new €2.3m facility

Simon Coveney to open research farm which aims to increase efficiency for dairy farmers

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney: . The research emphasis at new facility will initially be on maximising the potential for milk production from grass. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney: . The research emphasis at new facility will initially be on maximising the potential for milk production from grass. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Kerry-based Dairymaster has provided the technology to help power UCD’s new €2.3 million dairy research facility in Co Kildare, which will be opened tomorrow by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The MooMonitor+ device, which tracks cow fertility, will be worn by all 200 cows on the UCD dairy farm, recording more than three million data points on each animal every day. This information is transmitted regularly to the farmers’ smartphones.

In addition, its Swiftflow Commander device, described as an iPad for cows, will be used on the UCD farm to process 90 million instructions per second from the milking parlour. This allows farmers to manage their herd and milk output more efficiently and to increase milk yields.

UCD students of agriculture, veterinary sciences, food production and related sciences will use the farm to investigate innovative models of milk production.

The research farm will also provide IDA Ireland with a venue to showcase technologies provided by Irish companies in the booming global agri-food sector.

Major industry

Some of the research already in the pipeline relates to genetics, nutrition, reproduction of dairy cows and herd health management.

Dairy is a major industry for Ireland, with exports valued at €3.24 billion in 2015. Irish dairy production is expected to increase by 50 per cent to more than 7.5 billion litres by 2020.

The farm will have 200 cows with the herd comprising of spring calving and autumn calving groups. The research emphasis will initially be on maximising the potential for milk production from grass.

UCD and the industry groups involved with this project last week received €1 million from the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Project, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Recruitment drive

In addition to Dairymaster, other groups involved in the new dairy research facility are Devenish Nutrition, Glanbia, Munster Cattle Breeding Group, Progressive Genetics and the Irish Holstein Friesian Breeders Association.

The UCD Lyons Research Farm consists of more than 580 acres and is located near the village of Newcastle, Co Kildare.

Dairymaster recently launched a recruitment drive to fill 60 new jobs in 2016. Some of the roles will be based in the UK and the US, where the company is targeting growth this year.

The company already employs 360 people in manufacturing, sales, engineering and software roles. It currently has customers in more than 40 countries.

“Ireland has a proud tradition of innovation in the agriculture sector,” said Dairymaster chief executive Edmond Harty.

“This new UCD facility will be of enormous value to students, researchers and industry and it will help secure our international reputation as a country dedicated to excellence in the agri food sector. Dairymaster is proud to support this world class facility.”