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JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business

Moominder, an innovative new product that constantly measures a cow’s temperature, won the overall prize at the 2013 JFC Innovation Awards for Rural Business, which was presented in Newry this week. Moominder was one of fourteen finalists, shortlisted from 67 entrants, competing in the JFC Innovation competition. The competition is sponsored by JFC manufacturing and run in conjunction with Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (DARDNI).

Moominder is a system developed by part time farmer and software engineer Albert Moylan from Gort in County Galway. Albert has been joined by Pat O’ Donnell and Michael Quinlan in the business. Moominder allows a farmer to be notified, via text message, with an update on each cow in their herd if they are calving. An ear tag with a sensor is attached to each cow’s ear to measure the cow’s temperature. A cow’s temperature drops before she calves, which triggers the text notification to the farmer. The possibility of using the systems to identify when cows are sick or even when they are ready for mating, based on a rise in temperature, is being examined. When a cow is ready for mating her temperature rises.

The other category winners in the competition were:

  • Energy/manufacturing : Raymond Boyd, Boyd Bedding
  • Artisan/Speciality food: Adrian Morrow and Peter Hannon, Glenarm Shorthorn salt-aged beef
  • Services/Rural Tourism: William Sullivan, Irish Military War Museum
  • Social Media: Jacqueline McGonigle, www.whatsonni.com

The other finalists were:

  • Alan Winters and Ger Daly – Alstrong Ltd, New concept in soil aeration
  • Janette O'Hagan - Heatboss
  • David and Helen Harrison - Harrison’s of Grey Abbey
  • Daniel Connolly, -Recon Waste Management Ltd, recycling motorway waste
  • Eileen McClure - Kitchen Incubators Kerry
  • Chris McGillycuddy – www.clubcolours.ie , Merchandising and fund raising solution for clubs
  • Mark Carr and Sean Donnelly, - East Wind Energy Ltd
  • Aidan Rob – Cargo Defenders, anti theft device for curtain side trailers
  • Cynthia Coleman - Fluffy Sheep Quilting

Speaking at the presentation of the awards, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle congratulated all of the finalists on their entrepreneurial spirit and their drive and determination to develop successful businesses. “These awards exemplify the characteristics of quality and innovation. I would like to thank the sponsors of the awards. JFC and John Concannon are great supporters of innovation, and I would also like to thank the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland, the Irish Farmers Journal and the Rural Development team in Teagasc for organising this event.”

John Concannon said that these awards are all about encouraging innovation, enterprise and community spirit. He commended all of the participants in the competition for ‘making things happen’ by creating a job for themselves and for others in their businesses.