2Succession Seminar

Pictured L2R at the  Farmex seminar on Family Farm Succession were James Staines, Solicitor, Austin Finn, Land Mobility, Paddy Cowman, IFAC 

with Clare O'Keefe, Succession Ireland and Derri Dillon, Macra na Feirme, Chairperson.

FARMEX the business of farming was a new a one day conference & trade exhibition on how to increase profitability, sustainability

and add long term equity value to the family farm business.

It took place at the Hub, Kilkenny on Friday October 12 and  attracted 50 trade exhibitors from Britain, France, New Zealand

and leading Irish agribusiness firms such as

Agrinet, Alltech Keenan, AXA Insurance, Biocell, Farm TV, FBD, FRS Networks,

Glanbia, Greenbelt, Herdinsights, Herdwatch, IFAC, Kingswood Computing, Local Power, McAree Engineering,

Mullinahone Coop, PE Services, Staines Law, Terra Liquid Minerals, ThatsFarming, Volac etc.

The major sponsor was Eurogene AI services and LIC Ireland based in Cahir.

Larry Burke, Territory Manager for Ireland said that they were delighted to support this new Agri event.

Herdinsights an award-winning agribusiness had also kindly agreed to sponsor this show.

This new show had the support of Animal Health Ireland, Embrace Farm, Farm Contractors of Ireland (FCI), FRS Networks,

Glanbia Agribusiness, ICMSA, ICSA, IFAC, IHFA, Teagasc, UCD & Waterford IT

The Farmex conference included seminars on Agritech, Animal Health/Nutrition, Dairying, Farm Business, Livestock & Tillage.

Each seminar had four top-class speakers (10 minutes each) followed by a Q & A session chaired by an Agri VIP.

Details on these seminars were as follows:

  1. 1. Family Farm Business Seminar

            Chairperson- Darragh McCulloch, Agri journalist and Meath milk producer

  1. 2. Profitable Dairy Seminar

            Chairperson, Pat McCormack, ICMSA President

  1. 3. Profitable Beef Seminar

            Chairperson, Patrick Kent, President ICSA (Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association)

  1. 4. Improving Farming Health, Lifestyle and Safety

            Chairperson, Maura Canning, former Chair of IFA Family Farm & Social Affairs C

  1. 5. Succession on Family Farms

             Chairperson, Derry Dillon, Agri & Rural Affairs Manager, Macra na Feirme & past President of the ASA

  1. 6. Animal health Seminar

             Chairperson, Mike Magan, Animal Health Ireland

  1. 7. Livestock Crops & Soil Seminar

            Chairperson, Chairperson-Matt O’Keeffe, Editor of Irish Farmers Monthly

  1. 8. Working Smarter not Harder on Farms

             Chairperson, Liam De Paor, Event Manager for Farmex

Among the well-known speakers were Peter & Paula Hynes from Aherla in Co. Cork, Clare O’Keeffe from near Mallow,

West Cork man Cathal Bohane from Alltech Keenan,

Doreen Corridan Munster AI, Brian Reidy, nutritionist & Farm Exam columnist, Alan Jagoe former Macra President,

Dr Dan Ryan from Fermoy, Martin Kavanagh, Tipperary veterinarian, Peter Byrne, FRS Network, James Greevy Herdwatch

& Chris Murphy, Saber Sales Manager from Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford and Mike Ross the Irish rugby icon from Fermoy.

This was also a Dept. of Agriculture (DAFM) Knowledge Transfer approved event for livestock & tillage farmers

The Hub is the largest arena in the south-east of Ireland and home to many successful Agri events.

A number of Farm Safety demos were also be organised on the day with the Garda, HSA & Teagasc.

IHFA. website


Pictured on a busy Cookstown Dairy Services stand at the RUAS Winter Fair discussing the award-winning Dairymaster range of milking equipment

are L-R , John Martin Holstein Northern Ireland, Sean Reid of Cookstown Dairy Services, Julie Wallace-Holstein NI,

Cathal Gibbons Lakeland Dairies and Charlie Gallagher-IHFA

At this year’s Winter Fair, Cookstown Dairy Services (CDS) were showcasing the latest in dairy equipment and technology.

The equipment & solutions on display included products from all categories including: Milking, Feeding, Cooling, Scrapers and Health & Fertility Monitoring.

This year CDS has seen a range of dairy equipment installed in Northern Ireland operating from their depot in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim and head office in Ardee, Co. Louth.

In particular, Rapid Exit and Rotary Parlours have been very popular.

These parlours milk more cows in less time with less labour. As herds are increasing in size, the need for efficiency in milking has grown even more important.

For farmers who want to go the automation route, Dairymaster’s intelligent technology boosts efficiency by controlling all functions from milking to feeding to drafting

and even seamlessly integrates with its health and fertility monitoring system – the MooMonitor+.

At the RUAS Winter Fair CDS were showing the benefits of these parlours along with a special offer on a cluster exchange –

Allowing a trade in deal of old milking clusters for new Dairymaster lite claw pieces and liners.

The team from Cookstown Dairy Services included Sean and John Reid, Gavin Connaughty, David Smith and Michael Callaghan. 

Dairymaster personnel on the stand included Pat Ryan and Niall O’Hanlon.

Editor’s Note

Cookstown Dairy Services (CDS) specialises in sales, installation, service and support of award-winning Dairymaster dairy farm equipment, milking technology

and herd health systems.

This ranges from milking equipment to health and fertility monitoring and milk cooling solutions.

Their in-depth knowledge of the industry allows their highly trained personnel to provide expertise on sales, planning, drawings, installation and aftercare service 365 days of the year.

CDS use advanced software and electronics to help milk producers farm more efficiently.

According to the CEO, Sean Reid, “the Dairymaster milking equipment we supply is now milking a large percentage of the cows in Northern Ireland.

We offer a 24-hour technical support to our customers and our dedicated installation team that can fit on average a parlour per week.”

CDS prides itself on offering its solutions to dairy farmers of all sizes.

The company also supplies feeding equipment as well as a scraper, aeration, and wash-down systems.

They also provide water boilers/heaters and a wide range of second-hand equipment.

This business was established by Sean Reid in the mid-eighties and according to his son John Reid who is responsible for business development

they are now a market leader in dairy equipment supplies for Northern Ireland servicing customers from their impressive premises in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.

For further info please phone Gavin Connaughty or Paul Thompson at (028) 2764 9284 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or visit the website   www.cookstowndairyservices.com

FG website

Pictured on the FreshGraze stand at the NPA Innovation Arena at Ploughing 18 where they were announced as Ag-tech Startup winner and overall winner of the Alfie Cox perpetual for the best start-up innovation. This prize is worth €15,000. In the photo are Damien Dempsey, UCD Ag Sc. & Food Dept. Maura Canning, Galway IFA  along with Charlie & James Drumm young farmer entrepreneurs.Photos by Fergal O'Gorman.

The FreshGraze Story-What Sparked the Innovation

FreshGraze awards at the NPA Innovation arena during #Ploughing18 included the Alfred Cox Founder’s Cup Perpetual Trophy, (overall winner of the best start-up innovation) and the Agri-Technology Start-Up

The two Drumm boys (James 18 and Charlie 17) were putting up an electric fence for strip grazing in the rain, coming in wet and late for football training. They both play with the local Downs GAA club (Mullingar, Co. Westmeath) which has progressed to the County final. They asked their parents Thomas and Laura would it be possible to have a moving fence.

Both young lads are very IT literate and knew there could be an internet solution to make the boring but essential chore of moving the fence easier for busy and hard working livestock farmers. Many dairy farmers have expanded milk production post milk quotas so they have bigger herds. However, they are seriously short of labour so their time is critical.

Their father Thomas was a dairy farmer of over 30 years and supplied Lakeland Dairies with both winter and spring milk. He won scholarships (Stephen Cullinane and Farmers Journal) so he had the opportunity to study farming in Holland and New Zealand. His wife Laura is a veterinarian (equine and livestock) so she has a keen interest in animal welfare.

Laura and Thomas encouraged both lads to check out the IT possibilities and the result is that the family now has patented Freshgrazing a  cyber-physical device which will revolutionize grassland  production, milk yields and liveweight gain.

Their concept is Fresh Grazing- their prototype introduces Fresh Graze, an automated moving fence system using two robots to allocate fresh grass to livestock on a continual basis at a rate that ensures the entire sward is consumed before the fence moves again.

Their invention has been entered for an award and will be shown on their stand in the Innovation Arena* at the National Ploughing Championship. They have created a simple, reliable and robust system and a powerful tool for managing grassland. Thomas believes that the payback for a dairy farmer could be within 18 months or two years of purchase.

After a suitable trial period and feedback from early customers their prototype should be ready for a market launch within two years to customers in Ireland, EU and worldwide. The family have been working on this project for over three years.

They are happy to acknowledge the great assistance and encouragement they have received from Enterprise Ireland, Athlone and Tralee Institutions of Technology, Teagasc etc. The TEG group in Mullingar were a very big help. The family also worked with various talented individuals from all over the world and outsourced work to people around the world. I.e. They put project problems on the internet and got people to solve them.

Thomas retired from dairy farming in 2014 when he was milking 80 cows and has been a part-time suckler farmer and working full time on the FreshGraze project since then. He says “we are part of the 4th industrial revolution that can use digital, Internet of Things (IOT) and mechatronics to have an impact on soil, plant, animal, farmer, processor and consumer for the good of society”.

Benefits of the Fresh Graze System

  • It saves a busy dairy farmer** a lot of time moving fences and ensures that it is done at the right time as the software knows the stocking rate and grass availability.
  • It prevents selective grazing and allows for more research into mixed species swards.
  • These swards improve biodiversity, soil fertility, animal and plant health and deliver a more wholesome product for the consumer
  • The cows don’t walk or contaminate the grass they are about pasture utilisation is much better.
  • Freshgrazing provides flexibility and eases grassland management leaving decisions easy to implement, improving grass production and utilisation
  • It leaves a digital footprint for farm to fork traceability while effective utilisation of mixed species and clover swards promote sustainable agriculture production.
  • Data from the milking parlour and grass measuring devices can be integrated with the Fresh Graze software to optimise milk production and liveweight gain.

Editor’s Note

*The National Ploughing Association (NPA), organisers of the annual National Ploughing Championships, have teamed up with the Irish Farmers Journal and Enterprise Ireland to recognise and reward outstanding innovation in the agricultural sector in the NPA Innovation Arena.

According to a Teagasc report some 6,000 new entrants will be required by the dairy industry in the next 10 years. As dairy farmers prepared for milk production post-quota, cow numbers have increased by 327,000 since 2010 to over 1.35million.

James Drum has a keen interest in agriculture having studied it at Leaving Cert level. He is now a first year Engineering student at UCD. He is an Astra scholar and has also been awarded a Naughton scholarship. James is the 2017 Irish national tetrathlon under 21 champion. (Running, swimming, riding and target shooting). He represented Ireland at the International Championships in America this summer and they won the team competition

Charlie Drumm is a 5th year student in Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar. He took the opportunity during transition year to do work experience with the Technical Engineering Group (TEG),  Robotics and Drive, Athlone IT (COMAND) and Tralee IT (IMaR) where he gained valuable hands on engineering and software experience. He is studying Computer Science for the Leaving Cert and did Technology and Tech Graphics for his Junior Cert.

More Family Background

Charlie also was on the school running team but his main interest is in Gaelic football. He was named by the Westmeath examiner as Man of the Match when on the Colaiste Mhuire all Ireland under 16 winning team in 2018. This was the first time the school had ever won this title. He also plays for the Westmeath minor football team.

Charlie is also a keen horseman and represented Ireland on teams at the tetrathlon in Britain. He also enjoys going to concerts and hanging around with his friends.

James says that his involvement in activities helps him to develop skills that he would not have learned in the classroom such as leadership, communication and teamwork.

Through determination and hard work, he has won three All-Ireland Schools cross country running team titles and three silver medals. He has also represented the school’s senior football team. James won Drama Student of the Year in 2016.

James has  completed a GAA coaching courses and gives  horse-riding lessons to special needs children and works  with his little  sister Anna age 12 at home who has Down-Syndrome. 

He received a Gaisce bronze medal for his work in the community and school. Both lads have also been IREUSO Olympiad contestants, and have All-Ireland medals for draughts.