Tinder for bulls and Trac­tor pool Karaoke all part of the pull at plough­ing cham­pi­onships

Irish Independent - - NEWS - Kirsty Blake Knox

A NEW app match­ing bulls with heifers to en­sure the ar­rival of a pedi­gree calf will be launched at next week’s Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships in Screg­gan, Co Of­faly.

The app was de­vel­oped by farmer Brian Kelly of Lena Farm, Kilin­aboy, Co Clare, to op­ti­mise the ge­netic merit of calves and en­sure farm­ers meet cri­te­ria of the Beef Data and Ge­nomics Pro­gramme.

Bul­lMatch uses an al­go­rithm to match cows and bulls to pro­duce calves with a low car­bon foot­print.

The app will be on dis­play in the in­no­va­tion area along­side a so­lar power bin that texts own­ers when it is full.

Robotic arms to help farm­ers stack bales of hay will also be on dis­play. “The farm of the fu­ture will have ro­bots at its core,” Sharon McNevin of Ro­bot­ics and Drives said.

The iFarmer ro­bots will be able to iden­tify weeds, and pack and pal­letise pro­duce.

Away from the in­no­va­tion hub there will be plenty of en­ter­tain­ment with X Fac­tor judge Louis Walsh and Vogue Wil­liams head­ing down with the Na­tional Dairy Coun­cil.

Pick­ing up the ba­ton from James Cor­den, Macra na Feirme will hold Ire­land’s in­au­gu­ral Trac­tor­pool Karaoke com­pe­ti­tion. “It’s like Car­pool Karaoke,” or­gan­iser Joe Cof­fey ex­plained. “Ex­cept with trac­tors.”

In­stead of driv­ing along LA’s free­ways like celebri­ties do on James Cor­den’s Late Late Show, con­tes­tants will sit on parked Massey Fer­gu­sons in tilled fields around Screg­gan.

“It will be nowhere as fancy as Car­pool,” Joe said.

“For safety rea­sons peo­ple can’t drive the trac­tors so they will have to sit their parked up. But it should be good craic.”

The num­ber of over­seas buy­ers com­ing to the plough­ing has dou­bled this year. Buy­ers from Turkey, the United States, UK, Ger­many, Bel­gium, New Zealand, France and the Nether­lands will at­tend.

Left: Farmer Brian Kelly and his wife Teresa have de­vel­oped a com­puter pro­gramme to match cows and bulls; right: fi­nal prepa­ra­tions are un­der way at the Na­tional Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships in Screg­gan, Co Of­faly. Pho­tos: James Flynn and Liam Burke

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