Ploughing Championships

As is tradition, at the midpoint of September the National Ploughing Championships descended on Ireland, this year guiding a record 297,000 agri enthusiasts to the small town of Fenagh in County Carlow. The agricultural festival, in its 88th year, took place over three days, with more than 1,700 exhibitors present across the 160 acres exhibition and trade field.

This year the event saw host to over 80 Enterprise Ireland backed companies, 50 of whom exhibited their range of unique and exciting solutions at Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena. The Innovation Arena, officially launched by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD and Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association Anna May McHugh, gives Irish businesses the opportunity to showcase their pioneering innovations to the thousands of visitors in attendance, with awards presented to the leading businesses across categories such as best agri-technology start-up and young innovator of the year.

This year’s overall winner, taking away a prize of €15,000, was that of Dairymaster Mission Control. Representing the future of Irish agri-tech, Dairymaster, who have seen huge success in both Australian and New Zealand markets, received the top prize for their innovative introduction of artificial intelligence to rotary milking. Through the introduction of their advanced cow recognition system ‘CowNow’ and the incorporation of OptiCruise technologies, Dairymaster have successfully optimised milking times, identifying the milking history of individual cows and even accurately predicting milk out times. Dairymaster, along with the diverse range of successful exhibitors present at the Innovation Arena, highlight the innovative nature of Irish agri businesses, with their world leading agricultural solutions paving the way for continued international success.

L-R: Overall Innovation Arena Award winners Michael Ryan and John Daly, Dairymaster Mission Control

 Across the 3-day event, Enterprise Ireland organised an international innovation visit welcoming a delegation from Australia and New Zealand, representing key machinery importers, distributors and Co-ops in the region. During the 3-day event the delegates were treated to a first-hand experience into the Irish agribusiness landscape, visitingCountry Crest Farm as well as a private tour of the machinery exhibition at the National Ploughing. Here international markets met with Irish capability, with the visiting delegation getting an insight into the best of local Irish farming.

Building on the successful Trade Mission to Fieldays led by Minister Heather Humphreys, it was excellent to see such a strong NZ contingent represented at Ploughing. This year New Zealand Trade and Enterprise were on show at Ploughing where they hosted events at their NZ Agritech hub alongside New Zealand companies such as Waikato Milking Systems and Gallagher and launched the New Zealand Agritech story, Powered by Place. In particular, we were delighted to welcome Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s Innovation agency and Agritech NZ’s trade mission to Ireland and the UK. Their mission brought together some of the key players on the New Zealand agritech landscape such as Fonterra, Rezare Systems and the National Fieldays Society, with NZ firm Zero Harm Farm exhibiting at the Innovation Arena. We were delighted to host the New Zealand delegation at the innovation arena where we heard about the strong and growing bonds between Irish and NZ agriculture and an overview of the challenges and opportunities for Irish companies in New Zealand by Brendan O’Connell.

During the proceeding 2 days, our international visitors were treated to private CEO briefings from leading Enterprise Ireland agri clients such as Keenan and McHale, receiving valuable industry and company insights. Many meaningful client-buyer interactions were also established throughout the event, developing crucial relationships that will look to further expose Irish agri businesses to Australian and New Zealand markets, whilst transforming the agri business processes of our international buyers.

This year’s Ploughing Championships proved a resounding success, with Enterprise Ireland welcoming its largest ever delegation of international clients, with over 100 buyers and international media personnel representing 12 countries worldwide. With Australia and New Zealand becoming increasingly attractive markets for Irish clients, largely due similarities in culture, farming landscapes and the economic stability of both regions, it can be expected that the Irish Advantage offered by many Irish agri businesses will continue to lead the way in transforming and evolving the agricultural industries within Australia/ New Zealand and the broader APAC region.

If you wish to know more about Irish Agritech in Australia and New Zealand contact Niall Casey at niall.casey@enterprise-ireland.com

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