Irish machinery firm signs €15m export deal with Chinese
AN IRISH agricultural company has signed a deal with a Chinese firm to sell almost €15m worth of hi-tech feeding machinery over the next three years.
Richard Keenan & Co, based in Borris, Co Carlow, said the deal with the Shanghai-based Yan Hua followed four years of work in the Far East which was now yielding dividends.
A high-level Chinese delegation, which included Vice-Agriculture Minister Zhang Taolin, visited the company's premises yesterday to see the system in action.
Keenan produces feeding machinery and has also developed a computer programme named 'Keenan Mech-fiber' which promises to increase production by up to 25pc, knocking 20 cents from the cost of producing a litre of milk.
The system measures the amount of feed being used, and develops a dedicated programme based on the type of animal involved and best feeding mix to increase production.
Information on the exact type of feed and how it's mixed and delivered is sent to the farmer electronically, meaning it takes just 2.5 seconds to arrive, and the system can be adjusted to improve output.
It means there is no over-feeding, keeping costs down, while animals will also receive the best possible feed which will result in higher yields.
Managing director James Greene said the company hoped to roll out the system to other countries, which would result in new jobs being created for nutritionists, IT specialists and programmers.
"We're working with the Chinese for about four years now," he said.
"We have spoken at major dairy symposiums, and they have trialled our technology and are very happy with it.
"With a 1.4 billion population, the Chinese are very interested in getting more food to the table.
"But feed efficiency should interest every country. We have a commercial agreement with a feed company named Yan Hua, based in Shanghai, and they will import our machinery which is worth around €12m-€15m over the next three years."
The company currently employs 240, of which 170 are in Ireland, and exports 90pc of its products.