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Our co-founder wins 2023 FBD Better Farming Champion Award!

Our co-founder wins 2023 FBD Better Farming Champion Award!

Our Co-founder Nick Cotter won both the AHV Innovator Farmer of The Year and the Overall FBD Better Farming Champion Award at the 2023 Agri Insider Better Farming Awards sponsored by FBD.

Aged just 23, and up against some of the most experienced innovators in Irish farming, Nick was named the overall winner for Cotter Agritech's latest product, SmartWorm - software that allows stockkeepers to reduce wormer use on sheep by up to 60% without hampering productivity.

SmartWorm uses data on how the animals are growing, local weather conditions and pasture availability and quality to predict whether stock should be treated for worms with 95% accuracy.

Already, the software is being used by more than 100 farmers in Ireland and the UK, having been validated in trials with UCD, QUB, and Beef+LambNZ.

Nick was interviewed by the Irish Examiner's Rachel Martin (who also won an award on the night winning the Best Journalistic Content award for her article "The Carbon Cost of Poor Animal Health on our Planet").

Nick said to Rachel on the inception of SmartWorm (full article here -,up%20to%2060%25%20without%20hampering):

"When we were doing the weighing, we thought it would be great if we could offer a low-cost option for weighing instead of having to spend a grand or more on a standalone weigh head.

“We had this idea to build a mobile phone application that would talk to it over Bluetooth and would just lower the cost for guys to weigh sheep. As we were doing that research, we realised that what we could also do was target the drenching of animals based on weight gain.

“A single metric looked at on it’s own can be misleading . It’s very difficult to say, ‘They all should grow at 200g/day; anything less than that we’ll dose. Anything above that, we’ll leave as they all have different growth potential.’ So instead, we got into this idea of looking at the first principles of nutrition in animals to try to develop a set of algorithms to accurately predict which ones would need dosed and which ones wouldn’t.” 

The brothers worked alongside the same 20 farmers who helped them develop the crate as well as Queens University Belfast and University College Dublin, and most recently Beef+LambNZ.

SmartWeight enables weight recording treatment management and uniquely enables farmers to conduct targeted selective worming.

“It can reduce the use of wormers by 40-60% without any compromise on productivity or welfare compared to if you were to drench on a monthly basis, and the software only has to see the animals once a month,” Nick explained.

“It’s a big reduction in cost because you’re using half or less of the amount of wormer, and it’s a game-changer in terms of labour because you’re only having to drench half or less of your flock, too.

“But the main reason for this is to tackle the issue of drench resistance – it’s a huge problem. We’re on a very unsustainable path of treating all of the animals at regular intervals and resistance now exists on pretty much every grass-based sheep farm globally”.

“There are five drugs for dosing sheep, and in New Zealand, resistance is so bad that they have to mix them together – many sheep farmers in New Zealand only use combination drenches because the older generation single active drugs aren’t working. The only single actives which do still work – the new-generation drenches are four times the price. We are looking at it as a huge market for us because they are already suffering hugely economically.”

We are delighted with this high profile win to cap off a very successful 2023 for Cotter Agritech, and look forward to an even better 2024!

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