Cantillon: Sheikh, rattle and moo

Dairymaster chief executive impresses in Abu Dhabi with his MooMonitor

Former EY Entrepreneur of the Year Edmond Harty (second form left) at the Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture in Abu Dhabi.

Former EY Entrepreneur of the Year Edmond Harty (second form left) at the Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture in Abu Dhabi.

 

While his colleagues in Causeway were weathering the Kerry storms last week, Dairymaster chief executive and former EY Entrepreneur of the Year Edmond Harty was rubbing shoulders with the great and the good in the sunnier climes of Abu Dhabi.

Harty was a panellist at a session of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, which was held last week in the oil-rich emirate.

Other contributors included Microsoft’s Bill Gates, albeit by video link, and Mark Post, the scientist behind the Google-funded lab burger.

The forum addressed the issue of food security and the looming prospect of a world population of nine billion people being fed from a limited quantity of arable land. It was attended by the governments of 20 countries and 2,000 delegates, including a small delegation from rural Kerry.

Harty’s panel looked at the top-10 apps for agriculture and how technology will change the way we produce food and boost profits from the sector.

Among the apps featured was the MooMonitor, a neat piece of kit invented by Harty at family-owned Dairymaster. It is a necklace worn by a cow that tells the farmer, via a smartphone app, when the animal is in heat.

As Cantillon knows only too well, each missed heat can result in a loss of three weeks’ milk production in a spring calving system. That can cost a farmer about €160 per animal each time and can build up into a tidy sum over the course of a year across a dairy herd.

Harty also gave a lecture at Al Hosn University and was granted a royal audience at the palace of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE minister for culture, youth and community development.

By all accounts, the MooMonitor went down well, with the sheikh quizzing Harty at length about his technology.

Dairymaster already has customers in chilly Siberia and must be hoping that this short, sharp trade mission to the Gulf state will net it some orders in the blazing sun.