Wicklow and Mayo-based agricultural technology company Monford Ag Systems Ltd has secured a €1m investment to enable it to bring an innovative grass measurement device to market by the end of this year.
The syndicated investment is made up of a €200,000 investment by Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, with the remainder of the funds provided by Glanbia, Enterprise Ireland and a syndicate of New Zealand-based investors.
According to Kernel, Jerrold C Manock, designer of the original Apple Mac, is the lead designer of Monford’s Grassometer technology, which is based on research and development carried out in Trinity College Dublin. The Grassometer enables accurate measurement of the height and density of grass to facilitate improved pasture management and farm output.
The Grassometer uses ultrasound to measure grass as the farmer walks around a field with an ultrasonic sensor mounted on their boot. The measurements are triggered by an accelerometer, mapped with GPS and sent to the farmer’s smartphone using Bluetooth, where an app carries out all the calculations.
The device is currently on trial with farmers on 20 farms in Ireland, New Zealand, America and the UK.
Monford will use the funds to bring the Grassometer to market by Q4 2013.
This is an ambitious project combining technology, software, hardware, innovation and the application of big data,” said Monford CEO, Steven Lock. “We will be measuring grass in all key farming areas of the world and it is great to see Kernel and The Bank of Ireland supporting projects that will benefit farmers at home in Ireland whilst generating exports on an international stage.”
“Kernel Capital is delighted to support innovative Irish companies like Monford whose solution is a great example of innovation at the convergence of two growth disciplines, IT and agriculture,” said Kernel Capital partner Ger Goold. “Supported by the great team in place we see it addressing a global market from launch enabling farmers worldwide to measure, manage and optimise grass production.”
“This is an innovative company with leading edge technology that has developed a product that clearly meets a defined customer need in the agriculture sector,” said Brian O’Neill, manager, industrial and life sciences high potential start-ups at Enterprise Ireland. “We look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow their business at home and in export markets.”