Irish agritech companies win big at Innovation Arena Awards

4 days ago

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Micron Agritech and Pearson Milking Technology bagged the top prizes at the Enterprise Ireland event for agritech innovators.

Pearson Milking Technology and Micron Agritech have been named the big winners at this year’s Innovation Arena Awards. This Enterprise Ireland agritech event took place ahead of the National Ploughing Championships starting tomorrow (20 September).

The innovator of the year award for an established company went to Kildare-based Pearson Milking Technology. A manufacturer of milking parlours and robotic systems, it has developed a product called Bullseye that provides real-time body condition scoring (BCS) of dairy cattle.

BCS is based on an automated visual inspection of the fat around the pin bones of the cow – an important task for optimising a farm’s milk production. Bullseye helps farmers by freeing up resources, increasing output and efficiency and addressing labour shortages in farms.

While Pearson won the award for the best established company, Micron Agritech was adjudged the best start-up. This TU Dublin spin-out provides rapid on-site parasite testing for grazing animals.

Its latest invention, the Rapid Liver Fluke Test, allows farmers to easily test livestock for liver fluke through an app that uses AI to deliver results within minutes. This can help farmers dealing with livestock liver fluke infections, which can often incur high treatment expenses, reduce yield and raise animal welfare concerns.

In May last year, Micron Agritech was one of two winners of a Welsh hackathon focused on the agritech sector. In December 2020, it raised €500,000 in seed funding from animal health company Bimeda, agritech venture capital fund The Yield Lab Europe and Enterprise Ireland.

“A strong farming heritage and cutting-edge technologies have made Ireland a global centre for agritech quality and innovation,” said Leo Clancy, Enterprise Ireland CEO, at the Innovation Arena event.

“By focusing on greater efficiency across every aspect of modern agriculture, Irish agritech businesses are delivering forward-thinking solutions to address some of the industry’s greatest challenges and changing demands.”

Total prize money for the Innovation Arena Awards this year was more than €25,000, with the two top winners – Pearson Milking Technology and Micron Agritech – getting €5,000 each.

There were other winners in areas such as agri-engineering, sustainable agriculture, agri-safety, animal health and software.

‘Europe’s largest outdoor event’

Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena will showcase agri-related products and innovations from companies at the National Ploughing Championships.

Out of 80 applications received, a total of 40 were selected to exhibit at the event in Ratheniska, Co Laois, running from tomorrow to Thursday.

“[The championships] provide an excellent opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and innovators in the agritech and agri-engineering space to showcase their product at Europe’s largest outdoor event,” said Anna May McHugh, managing director of the National Ploughing Association.

Clancy added that tech advances are reflected in the Innovation Arena Awards, “which showcase the ingenuity and talent of Irish farm experts, entrepreneurs and businesses on a world stage”.

“We look forward to working with the winners and finalists as they start, innovate and scale their businesses, grow exports internationally and create jobs in Ireland,” he said.

At last year’s awards, Kerry-based Brandon Bioscience was named the established company winner while Kildare-based equine start-up EquiTrace was judged best in the start-ups category.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com