Winners of 2022 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards in association with the National Ploughing Championships announced at international networking event.

From machine learning to on farm automation, the most innovative Irish agri-tech and agri-engineering products were named by Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy and National Ploughing Association managing director Anna May McHugh. 

L-R: Lee Wilson, David Pearson and Lloyd Pearson of Pearsons Milking Technology

Showcasing the future of Irish agri-tech, the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards recognise innovative agri-tech and agri-engineering capabilities and new product development in the agriculture sector. A strong theme which emerged from this year’s Innovation Arena Awards was a focus on efficiency while also contributing to food security and the fight against climate change.

Automated visual inspection

This year’s overall Innovation Arena Awards winner was Co Kildare-based manufacturer of milking parlours and robotic systems Pearson Milking Technology. Its new winning invention – ‘Bullseye’ – provides a real time Body Condition Scoring (BCS) of dairy cattle which is based on an automated visual inspection of the fat around the pin bones of the cow.

Identifying a cow’s BCS during breeding is an important task as it is vital in optimising a farm's milk production. The ‘Bullseye’ invention drives innovation through the automation and delivers benefits to farms as it frees up resources, improves overall outputs and increases efficiencies, contributing to sustained food production and addressing the challenge of labour shortages on farms.

The best overall startup award went to Micron Agritech which provides rapid on-site parasite testing for grazing animals. The company’s new invention - ‘the Rapid Liver Fluke Test’ – allows farmers to easily test livestock for liver fluke on-site through its ‘Micron Kit’ app, with results delivered in minutes using AI analysis.

Infections in livestock by liver fluke are a major economic problem for farmers, reducing yield and leading to significant treatment costs, as well as representing a serious animal welfare issue. Micron Agritech’s innovation provides an efficient, reliable solution to this issue, which often goes undetected.

For the past two years, the Innovation Arena Awards were held virtually, but 2022 saw the return of the live and interactive ‘Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena’ at the three-day National Ploughing Championship, which were held from September 20-22, 2022.

The total prize fund for this year’s award winners was in excess of €25,000, including two top prizes of €5,000 for the Established Company ‘Innovator of the Year Award’ and the Startup Company ‘Innovator of the Year Award’ for 2022.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said: “A strong farming heritage and cutting-edge technologies have made Ireland a global centre for agri-tech quality and innovation. By focusing on greater efficiency across every aspect of modern agriculture, Irish agritech businesses are delivering forward-thinking solutions to address some of the industry’s greatest challenges and changing demands. The positive impacts that these solutions will have on future global agriculture, particularly in relation to environmental, sustainability and digitalisation, are inspiring.”