Sunday 18 March 2018

MooMonitor keeps eye on frisky cows

Cows wearing the MooMonitor fertility device
Cows wearing the MooMonitor fertility device
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

AN IRISHMAN is vying to be crowned cream of the world's entrepreneurs for his frisky cow monitor.

Dr Edmond Harty jets in to Monte Carlo on Wednesday to promote his invention that maximises a dairy cow's fertility.


The Co Kerry man, who heads up Dairymaster, designed a necklace device that alerts the farmer when a cow is in heat.


The MooMonitor fertility device will be among his products in the world finals of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards this week.


"About 70% of heats on a dairy farm are at night-time, when the farmer isn't watching his cows," said Dr Harty, who will represent Ireland.


"They are generally more active at the time. In simple terms they are friskier, and he won't see it."


Technology from rockets and smart phones was used for the design of MooMonitor, which sends a text or voice alert to farmers giving real-time information about the health and fertility status of each cow in their herd.


Dr Harty, 37, believes he has a good chance at the finals of the Ernst and Young competition as his collection of farming devices are so different to the winners being put forward by almost 50 other countries worldwide.


He said of the device: "This is so important because for a cow to produce milk she has to have a calf, and for that to happen there's obviously a right time for breeding.


"So for an economic point of view, every time a farmer misses a cow's heat it costs him about 250 euro (£215).


"It allows a cow to be a cow and breed on its natural cycle so there's no use of hormones, which can be used quite a lot in the US."


Dairymaster was set up by Dr Harty's father in Tralee 1968 and is at the cutting-edge of product innovation, exporting to more than 40 countries.


The MooMonitor is being used in farms across the world and Dr Harty said UK figures estimate missing heats cost the dairy industry £200 million (235 million euro) a year.


Other products include milk cooling tanks that text messages the farmer about his supply, milking machines that follow the natural sucking of a calf on its mother, and manure handling.


He has already patented about 45 devices in the last 15 years, and his team of 300 has another eight ideas in the pipeline.


"Food and population growth is becoming a huge issue around the world," he added.


"The population is growing by about 200,000 people a day, the equivalent of the island of Ireland every month, and there's huge demand for more food.


"Becoming more efficient on farms, and improving lifestyle and quality of life, is very important."

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