Innovation runs through the heart of Ireland’s agricultural industry. Each year, the best innovations within the sector are showcased at the National Ploughing Championships in the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Awards.

The competition winners were unveiled at the event, with sustainability and farm efficiencies proving to be key themes among the entries this year.

GrassMax from Dublin took home the top prize of established innovator of the year.

The Irish Farmers Journal attended the awards, and this article will run through the main category winners.

Overall innovator of the year – established: GrassMax, Dublin

The Dublin-based company and its product, GrassMax App, picked up the top award.

Its system combines modelling techniques with remote-sensing data to provide a suite of bespoke nutrient and grass management decision-support tools, including satellite-based grassland growth yield measurement.

The aim of GrassMax is to remove the need for farmers to routinely walk their grass paddocks, optimise soil fertility and deliver verified enhancements in crop performance and resource use efficiency.

Startup innovator of the year: Proveye, Dublin

Proveye won the best startup innovator of the year, for its AI-powered digital image analysis platform. Its innovation uses remote-sensing technology to provide frequent measurement of grass yield, sward quality, sward composition, biodiversity and habitat. Proveye also picked up the Ace Agritech Centre of Excellence Award.

Smart farming award: Pearson Milking Technology, Kildare

The Pearson Vision System monitors milking platform performance consistently.

It provides the operator with tools such as dashboards and alerts, and analyses metrics, including Bi-Modal milking and other vital key performance indicators (KPIs).

Pearson Milking Technology picked up the smart farming award.

This system allows prompt action when significant performance changes are detected.

Crop technology award: Beotanics, Kilkenny

Beotanics has developed prototypes of sweet potato purées using dairy technology evolving in Ireland over the last three years.

These purées, trialled in baked goods and snacks, had improved biofortification, texture and sugar reduction.

Using oversized sweet potatoes that would typically be wasted or undervalued, Beotanics has optimised their use.

Beotanics picked up the crop technology award for their sweet potato purées.

Young innovator of the year: TrojanTrack, Dublin

TrojanTrack transforms horse biomechanical analysis using only a smartphone camera and tripod. Bypassing traditional methods like wearable sensors, it uses a pre-trained Neural Network to identify 52 key points on a horse quickly as it walks past the camera.

This detailed analysis includes joint angles, velocities, proportions and other movement characteristics.

TrojanTrack picked up young

innovator of the year.

Agri-safety award: M-TEC Engineering, Cavan

M-TEC engineers a range of products for the agricultural and construction sector.

At this year’s Ploughing, it showcased its M-TEC livestock trailer, optimised for safety, durability, and strength for farmers.

Agri-engineering award: Malone Farm Machinery, Mayo

Malone Farm Machinery developed a front mower, which was manufactured to deal with harsh conditions and increased workloads in short timeframes.

It features a one-meter vertical range, 17° side tilt, hydraulic flotation, quick-change blades and is equipped with Comer beds, gearboxes, and Walterscheid shafts.

Ifac best newcomer: Livefarm, Carlow

Livefarm is a digital platform for soil and farm management, offering agricultural advisers an integrated tool for gathering, visualising and analysing farm data.

The platform aims to aid in refining agricultural practices and making well-informed decisions.

On-farm innovation: SpreadPoint, Down

SpreadPoint’s newest SX-A Auger System allows powdered materials to be applied in a more efficient and cost-effective manner and picked up the on-farm innovation award.

Research emerging from third-level award: PolyBo, Westmeath

PolyBo has developed a distinctive mineral bolus system made of FDA-approved biodegradable polymers. Its self-adjusting micropores allow for a consistent, adjustable release rate for its ingredients.

With the flexibility to alter the polymer formulation, PolyBo guarantees steady ingredient delivery lasting between one and nine months.

Farm software award: Herdwatch, Tipperary

The new Grass & Crops by Herdwatch service allows farmers to digitalise their grass and crop production and soil health data in an easy-to-use app, while being provided with decision support tools to optimise the use of on-farm and imported soil nutrients.

AgTechUCD startup award: Agri Data Analytics, Offaly

The bovine breathalyser non-invasively gauges methane emissions from ruminants.

By luring animals with feed into a testing zone, it captures breath samples during feeding, which are analysed by specialised gas sensors.

This determines the average methane production of the animal, enabling researchers to identify both high methane producers and the most efficient animals that optimise beef/dairy yield with reduced methane emissions.

Farm automation award: Dairymaster, Kerry

Dairymaster Farm automation award for its autonomous invention, the DM 3X+. The system provides real-time information on cow performance in the milking parlour, including advances for reliability, speed, and cow flow.

AgriTech award: Abbey Farm Machinery, Tipperary

Agricultural technology company Abbey Machinery won the agritech award for the Abbey Diet Feeder with its EvoNIR feed sensor.