Taking the grind out of grass management
Grass measurement is about to get a whole lot easier with the launch of a brand new piece of kit called the Grasshopper.
Developed by Clareman Paddy Halton, the technology represents the next generation of plate-meters for measuring grass drymatter in pasture.
"I was actually in discussing ideas with Teagasc about how to improve electric fences when I had a sort of epiphany," said Mr Halton, who worked as a engineer in global positioning satellite (GPS) technology in North America during the 1990s before returning home to start up a mapping company.
Using high frequency technology similar to ultra sound, Mr Halton has developed a platemeter that is accurate to 1mm, compared to the 5mm variance on existing plate meters.
It then combines these readings with the latest weather forecast data and ground conditions to provide a measurement of grass drymatter that is accurate "to within a couple of percent," according to Mr Halton.
However, the real appeal of the grasshopper for farmers is likely be its ease of use. By seamlessly uploading the measurements as they are being taken, the inventor of the device believes that it is likely to save farmers 10-15 minutes per paddock.
"You don't have to write down numbers or punch in readings into your phone. And it does all the calculations, factoring in all the variables like weather and drymatter via a series of algorithms that have been developed in conjunction with Teagasc," said Mr Halton.