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Boot-mounted 'Grassometer' to help farmers monitor fields

Kernel Capital has invested €1m in Monford Ag Systems, a company that has developed a technology to help dairy farmers keep track of feedstocks.

The so-called Grassometer is said to enable the accurate measurement of the height and density of grass, thereby facilitating improved pasture management and farm output. 

The product uses ultrasound to measure grass as the farmer walks around a field with an ultrasonic sensor mounted to their boot.

The measurements are triggered by an accelerometer, mapped with GPS and sent to the farmer’s smartphone using Bluetooth, where an ‘app’ will do all the calculations for the farmer.

According to Kernel, EU milk quotas are to be abolished in 2015 and dairy farmers will be focused on maximising the return on their feed inputs, the most significant cost in the production of milk representing on average over 50 per cent of costs.

Measurement and proactive herd management is critical to ensure the optimal performance of the herd and to achieve high economic returns. Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority estimates that good grass management is worth approximately €120 per cow and can double the amount of grass grown per hectare.

Jerrold C Manock is the lead designer of Monford’s technology, which is currently on trial with farmers on 20 farms in Ireland, New Zealand, the US and the UK. Monford will use the funds to bring the Grassometer to market by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Co-investors include Glanbia, Enterprise Ireland and a syndicate of New Zealand-based investors.


Readers' comments (2)

  • What a wonderful idea! Congratulations to those who had it and those who are prepared to support it!

    I do believe that there is always mileage in any transfer of skills, knowledge, and technology between industries. In this case engineering and horticulture and hence animal husbandry.

    I did propose about 10 years ago that there had to be merit in considering fruit bearing plants, bushes, shrubs, etc not only as biological specimens (and a route to improving them is via development of seeds, fertilizers, etc) but also as engineering structures. Depending on the orientation, slope, soil type, and a host of other parameters there must be a 'best' positioning between rows and individual plants for such bushes/plants: and the pruning of them and trees, could surely benefit from analysis of the airflow, rain flow, and so on that affects their growing patterns.

    I did suggest a programme of research to both a major retail house (who expressed a substantial interest) and the UK university at which I was teaching. Unfortunately the management?of the latter thought it more valuable to apply silly rules than be part of an innovative venture. What a shame, as the work has now been taken up overseas.
    Hey ho
    Mike B

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  • Hi Mike B,

    Please feel free to contact me to discuss this opportunity you have put forth in more detail. My email is hardweb1 at gmail.com

    Many thanks,
    J

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