Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 April 2018

Rewarding farmyard innovation

Winning combination: The
Winning combination: The "Eco Combi" drainage machine from designer Bernie McNamee took first place in the Inventions in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry class last year.

The ever-popular Tullamore Show returns to Co Offaly on Sunday August 9 and offers serial inventors a great shot at success.

Incorporating the AIB National Livestock Show, the Tullamore Show seems to gain more fans every year, with around 60,000 visitors set to head for Offaly in a fortnight's time.

One section of the event we love to support here at the Farming Independent is the National Inventions Competition. The inventions arena draws out the curiosity and inventor in every one of us, and it's a must-visit for any one coming to the event.

You are guaranteed to meet some inspiring characters and they all tend to have an infectious enthusiasm in their search for the perfect invention.

This year there are three sponsors WR Shaw, Rosenallis, Co Laois, and Glenngorey Pumps Ltd, Newbridge, Co Kildare and the Farming Independent.

A total fund of €2,000 in prize money is on offer.

All inventions and modifications to existing inventions are eligible and welcome to be entered into competition.

In order to facilitate the judges getting around and assessing the different entrants, judging of the inventions competition now takes place from 10am on Saturday, which is the day before the actual show.

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The following are the classes for entries:

• Class 900 Inventions in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry. Prizes: 1st - €300, 2nd - €200, 3rd - €100.

• Class 901 Best Student Exhibit in the above class. Prizes: 1st - €100. No pre-entry.

• Class 902 Inventions in Home, Leisure and Building. Prizes: 1st - €300, 2nd - €200, 3rd - €100.

• Class 903 Best Student Exhibit in the above class. Prizes: 1st - €100. No pre-entry.

• Class 904 Labour Saving Devices. Prizes: 1st - €300, 2nd - €200, 3rd - €100.

• Class 905 Best Student Exhibit in the above class. Prizes: 1st - €100. No pre-entry.

Entries cost €20 and this can either be done at or by phoning 057 9352141.

Last year there were around 60 entries, which organisers say was the biggest number since the competition began.

For younger readers there is now a student category in each competition classes, with a cup for the overall student winner.


The judges come from educational, scientific and industry backgrounds, so a fair and thorough assessment of all entrants is assured.

A more recent addition to the inventions competition is the presence of a very helpful team from the patents office in Kilkenny. The patents team will again be at the event this year to answer any queries from budding inventors.

This is a really important consideration because without a patent the inventor would not be able to prevent others from copying the invention.

It is often the case that first time inventors - even though they might have a really good idea - are not in a position to produce or market their invention from their own resources.

Patents provide a basis for owners to negotiate with potential investors while preserving their intellectual property rights.

This is the kind of advice that is crucial to any up and coming inventor.

The beauty of all the inventions on display at Tullamore is that they are usually borne out of necessity on the ground in Irish farms.

They are not the idea of an engineer in an office, but instead the brainchild of a farmer who is faced with a given problem.

The farmer has developed a solution to his own situation, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it could be applied to thousands of other farms across the country.

As you can see from our brief look at last year's winners, all entries shared the common values of being innovative and focused on improving on-farm health and safety.

Indo Farming