Kernel Capital has led a €1 million (£870,000) investment into Monford Ag Systems and its maiden Grassometer product, with help from Enterprise Ireland and a group of New Zealand-based investors.
The technology being developed by Republic of Ireland-based Monford Ag Systems is based on research and development completed at Trinity College Dublin.
Its Grassometer product is aimed at facilitating improved pasture management and farm output and has been developed by Jerrold Manock, designer of the original Apple MAC computer.
Monford Ag Systems says that the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 will see dairy farmers focussed on maximising the return on feed inputs – which it says is the most significant cost, at 50 per cent, in the production of milk.
The Grassometer uses ultrasound to measure grass as a farmer walks around a field with an ultrasonic sensor mounted to their footwear. The measurements are triggered by an accelerometer, mapped with GPS and sent to the farmer’s smartphone using bluetooth, where an app does the calculations.
Steven Lock, CEO of Monford, comments, ‘This is an ambitious project combining technology, software, hardware, innovation and the application of big data.
‘We will be measuring grass in all key farming areas of the world and it is great to see Kernel and the Bank of Ireland [through its Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund] supporting projects that will benefit farmers at home in Ireland whilst generating exports on an international stage.’
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Joining Kernel Capital and Monford’s New-Zealand based investors in the funding round are funds managed by dairy food company Glanbia.
Brian O’Neill, manager for Industrial and Lifesciences High Potential Start Ups at Enterprise Ireland, adds, ‘This is an innovative company with leading-edge technology that has developed a product that clearly meets a defined customer need in the agriculture sector.
‘We look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow their business at home and in export markets.’