Malone Farm Machinery, the Mayo-based machinery company, has been named as the overall winner of the 2020 Innovation Arena run by Enterprise Ireland and the National Ploughing Association (NPA).

Malone won the award for its latest product, a new purpose-built round bale chaser with capacity to carry 16 bales at a time.

The new round bale chaser from Malone Farm Machinery that won them the overall award at the 2020 Innovation Arena. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

With a weight capacity for 26t, this new bale chaser from Malone is designed with two loading arms on each side of the trailer that can load and unload bales at ease.

The bale chaser also incorporates a telescopic mast that can lift eight bales to a higher elevation, which allows for another eight round bales to fit underneath.

Judges at this year’s Innovation Arena were impressed with the superb design and high quality of engineering of the machine.

Malone Farm Machinery sees significant opportunities for this new bale chaser among farm contractors in Ireland, as well as in export markets such as Germany and the Netherlands.

As overall winner at the 2020 Innovation Arena, Malone Farm Machinery will receive a prize worth €5,000.

Virtual judging

While the National Ploughing Championships were cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Enterprise Ireland and the NPA decided to push ahead with the annual Innovation Arena competition for new innovations from agri-tech and farm machinery companies.

The 2020 Innovation Arena was held virtually this year as the Ploughing Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19. \ Donal O'Leary

This year’s Innovation Arena was completed virtually, with companies making their pitches to judges via video link. Over 60 entries were received this year, with 30 companies selected to pitch in the final.

“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,” said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English.

Other category winners

While Malone Farm Machinery took home the overall award, there were 10 other awards handed out to different companies for various new products and innovations developed over the last year. Category winners included:

Overall award for best start-up: Iamus Technology.

Sustainability award: Hexafly.

Safety award – established company: Dromone Engineering.

Safety award – start-up company: Dickson Agri Solutions (Third Arm).

Best software award: Equine MediRecord.

Young Innovator award: Fence DeFence.

On-farm Innovator award: Bullseye Engineering.

Under 10-years engineering award: SUIP manufacturing.

Best engineering start-up: StrongBó.

IFAC award: StrongBó.

Ronan Timmins, lead engineer at Dromone Engineering, receiving the safety award for an established company from James Moloney of Enterprise Ireland. \ Barry Cronin

SUIP Maunufacters, Sligo, developers of the new Quad Lock. Pius McCloat with his award. \ Brian Farrell