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