Can Kiwi technology help Irish farmers?

The drive for on-farm efficiencies in the New Zealand dairy industry will appeal to expanding Irish herds, a trade commissioner has said.

With a number of firms from Down Under travelling to the National Ploughing Championships, the latest technology will be on show, from sensor systems to rotary parlours.

New Zealand trade commissioner for the UK and Ireland Daniel Taylor said there were strong similarities in farming styles between the two countries.

“The trend to moving to slightly larger herds means technology does become more important when it comes to managing the assets that you have at your disposal,” he said.

“A lot of Irish farmers travel to NZ and vice versa, so there is comfort in using the technology.”

Mr Taylor said they were seeing interest in NZ rotary parlours and more environmentally-friendly seed drilling technology.

Among the NZ companies making the trip to Tullamore are LIC Automation, specialist seed drill manufacturers, Duncan Ag, Aitchison, UBCO all-terrain bikes and Waikato Milk Systems.

UK-based Brent Crowthers with Waikato Milk Systems said they were currently installing three rotary parlours in Ireland, with prices for systems starting from around €130,000.

He said the most interest was in the rotary parlours.

“It is because of the staffing issues on the farm, as one person can milk 200 cows by standing in one spot,” he said, pointing out that staffing was also a hot topic Down Under.

Mr Crowthers said many Irish farmers were familiar with their systems from NZ.

“Efficiencies are becoming very important to all,” he said, after a “tough” three years of poor NZ milk payments.

He said their new Centrus platforms were made out of Kevlar – which is used for bullet-proof vests – meaning that their platforms are now 80pc lighter and five times stronger than concrete.

[“Source-independent”]