The Crush Mate is a unique animal-handling device designed to help restrict the movements of smaller animals in a crush or chute.
The idea was born out of necessity over Laois farmer Seamus Dunne’s 35-year career in dairy farming.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Seamus explains that the concept for Crush Mate came to him around 10 years ago. He would often see and work with animals in a crush and thought that there had to be a better way to secure them.
As Seamus worked in the industry freeze-branding livestock as well as dairy farming, he had hands-on experience of handling cattle in the crush. After failing to find a similar product on the market, he set about designing and testing prototypes in his workshop.
In late 2020, Seamus and his brother-in-law, James Dooley, took action and together, began to refine the product and work on getting it market-ready.
After months of development, the result was the Crush Mate. After applying for a patent on the device with the help of his Local Enterprise Office, Seamus proudly brought it to the market in February 2021 through his new website. Crush Mate picked up this year’s Alfie Cox On-Farm Innovation Award at the Innovation Arena.
How it works
The Crush Mate is placed on the side of a crush or chute and can be adjusted to reduce the size of the crush, according to the size of the animal. This helps restrict the side-to-side movements of smaller animals.
It can be used on a right- or left-handed crush by adjusting the fixed brackets and placing the middle ram to the opposite side.
The main focus of this device is to protect the animal and the user when carrying out individual tasks and to make the job more efficient.
Seamus says that the device can be used for activities such as freeze-branding, artificial insemination, castrating, clipping and many other tasks.
He says it is also very beneficial in the training of young heifers in robotic milking systems and he has had an increasing amount of enquiries from dairy farmers about this.
Seamus says it is a family business, from product design to website creation and more.
He says it was only through the combined support of family members that the Crush Mate was made possible.
He tries to source locally, where possible, with the materials sourced and galvanised by local companies before being assembled at his workshop on the farm.
He is currently selling the Crush Mate on his website and has made sales all over Ireland. In the short term, he intends to advertise the Crush Mate on media outlets as well as on social media and to engage with co-op stores and other retail outlets to increase sales.
However, he believes there is significant potential to export the product.
For more information on how to purchase the Crush Mate, go to https://www.crushmate.ie/