From sustainable Black Soldier Fly farming to a Third Arm for farm safety, the most innovative Irish agri-tech and agri-engineering products were announced today by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD.
This year’s overall Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards winner was Michael Malone from Malone Farm Machinery in Mayo. The company’s winning entry is The Malone Express, a 16 bale trailer which can accommodate 16 round bales on a chassis that is shorter than other comparable machines on the market. This makes the implement easier to manoeuvre while accommodating a large quantity of bales.
The best overall start-up award went to Shane Kiernan from AI and Robotics company Iamus Technologies based in NovaUCD Dublin which is collaborating with a large poultry processor and using its technology to continuously gather data from birds, providing feedback that could save the poultry industry billions of euros annually.
For the first time in its ten-year history, the 2020 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA ), took place online, with shortlisted innovators pitching their groundbreaking designs to a virtual judging panel over the course of two days.
Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena traditionally showcases ground-breaking agri-related products and innovations from Irish agri-companies at the National Ploughing Championships, but this year’s competition was moved fully online due to the cancellation of the event as a result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Winners of this year’s awards are automatically eligible to exhibit in the ‘2020 Winners Enclosure Section’ at the Innovation Arena in 2021.
More than 60 entries were received for this year’s Awards competition with the top 30 selected for virtual pitching.
Announcing the winners, Minister Damien English said: "Enterprise Ireland’s annual Innovation Arena Awards represent the future of Irish agri-tech and highlight new product development as well as the innovative agri-tech and agri-engineering capability in the Irish agriculture sector.
"I am delighted to see such a vast range of innovative concepts and ideas being brought to fruition from entrepreneurs and farm experts from all around the country.
"Ireland’s innovative contribution to advances in agri-business is recognised globally and we are leading the way with technology solutions that improve efficiencies through greater automation. This puts us in a great position to take advantage of the significant overseas opportunities for this sector which will help to drive economic growth.”