Author: Ciara Greene

farmeye logo blue

Green farming is demonstrated by Farmeye through the utilization of space and ground technology.

In collaboration with the European Space Agency, the agri-tech company based in Roscommon, Farmeye, is developing advanced Earth observation technologies specifically designed for agriculture. By leveraging Earth observation technology, Farmeye aims to showcase that farming can contribute positively to the environment.

Having secured a contract with the European Space Agency in 2021, the company utilizes satellites and a ground-based lidar (light detection and ranging) device to analyse and report data on biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

To keep track of the nutritional makeup of each field on a farm, a laptop, desktop or smartphone app can be used to access the map-based soil management system.

“A common misconception in the public is that farming is inherently bad for the environment, and that the industry is using green washing to cover the damage” stated its chief executive, Eoghan Finneran.

In June, Farmeye was established by a trio of individuals: Finneran, a farmer, scientist, and agricultural consultant; Brendan Allen, a marine scientist and food entrepreneur; and Joe Desbonnet, an expert in software engineering. The company originated as a spin-off from a University of Galway project in 2017.

The initial offering from Farmeye was the geotagging feature, which utilized soil samples to create maps detailing the soil quality of various fields and their corresponding timeframes.

It gathers 25 soil samples from each field, assessing them for various soil parameters. The outcomes are then displayed on the field’s map. Farmers can view the results through a cloud-based dataset using either a computer or an app. By pinpointing areas where fertilizer is genuinely required, farmers can potentially save up to 30% on fertilizers. This optimized approach also leads to increased crop yields, resulting in higher output for sale.

Farmeye asserted that it successfully mapped 1.7 million hectares of land across Ireland, the UK, and Australia. By the end of 2023, the company achieved a turnover of €1.6 million and maintained a workforce of 22 employees. During the winter season, a time when soil health analysis is typically prevalent, this workforce can be expanded with the inclusion of subcontractors.

In the upcoming year, Farmeye intends to advance its satellite and lidar technology while also introducing a novel analysis technique.

Read more about Farmeye here.

c-and-dfoods

Investment of €48 million in the C&D Foods Longford plant

Petfood manufacturer C&D Foods is set to allocate €48 million for enhancements at its Edgeworthstown facility in Co Longford, resulting in the creation of 100 new positions. These roles will span various departments, including engineering, operations, supply chain, and quality assurance, contributing to a 25% increase in the site’s production capacity.

 

Simultaneously, the extension of the Edgeworthstown plant will generate an additional 100 jobs during the construction phase. Enterprise Ireland is providing support for this investment, which aims to implement cutting-edge, sustainable innovations such as automated multi-packing and pouch filling lines.

 

C&D Foods, a division of ABP Food Group, stands as one of Europe’s foremost private-label pet food manufacturers, boasting production facilities across 11 locations on the continent. With 500 employees in Ireland and an additional 1,400 across Europe, the company’s commitment to this significant investment in the Edgeworthstown plant showcases the vibrancy and growth potential of the Irish food sector.

 

The expansion aligns with C&D Foods’ remarkable success in the production of premium pet food. This announcement not only bolsters Longford and the broader Midlands region but also positions the company to substantially expand its operations, reflecting positively on the Irish food industry as a whole.

 

Find out more about C&D Foods here.

Deciphex Logo - Grey background with orange logo and white writing

Deciphex has been awarded the title of Irish Medtech Company of the Year.

Deciphex, a Dublin-based pathology startup situated at the DCU Alpha campus, has been honoured as the Medtech Company of the Year at a recent awards ceremony hosted by the Irish Medtech Association. This recognition comes after Deciphex successfully secured €10 million in funding aimed at expanding its services and growing its team.

 

The accolade acknowledges Deciphex’s outstanding contributions to the field, particularly in the development of an AI diagnostic platform known as Diagnexia. Launched at the close of 2021, Diagnexia offers a digital and fully remote expert pathology service, eliminating the need to transport physical samples over long distances for diagnoses and significantly reducing waiting times. This virtual service grants on-demand access to remote pathology experts and has already been employed by international healthcare providers, including the UK’s National Health Service.

 

Established in 2017, Deciphex has not only pioneered a remote pathology solution but has also created a digital pathology workflow and integrated AI platform for research pathology. The company, based at the Dublin City University Alpha campus, recently raised €10 million to support its expansion plans, building upon the €3.9 million in additional Series B funding secured earlier in the year. The total Series B funding for Deciphex now stands at €14.4 million, complemented by a €5.45 million Series A round in 2020, supported by Enterprise Ireland and various Irish and US investors in the life sciences and diagnostics fields.

 

In addition to being crowned Medtech Company of the Year, Deciphex also received the Digital Health Innovation of the Year Award at the Irish Medtech Awards. Other notable winners at the ceremony, co-hosted by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, included Nua Surgical, Symphysis Medical, Croom Medical, and 3M Healthcare in various categories such as Emerging Medtech Company of the Year, Collaboration in Medtech Award, Partner/Supplier of the Year, and Best Diversity and Representation Company Initiative, respectively.

 

Deciphex’s achievements at the awards ceremony underscore its significant contributions to the medtech industry, marking a milestone in the company’s journey since its founding in 2017.

Read more about Deciphex here.

Cattle in field

Bord Bia successfully lands deals to boost the marketing of EU beef and lamb.

Bord Bia has secured two new EU contracts to promote organic EU lamb and beef, as well as EU mushrooms. These initiatives, valued at a total of €5.7 million over three years, receive support from the EU (€3.96 million), Bord Bia (€1.73 million).

 

The organic campaign, with an investment of €2.7 million including VAT, focuses on promoting organic beef and lamb in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. Simultaneously, the mushroom campaign, backed by €3 million including VAT, aims to promote mushrooms in the United Kingdom.

 

A significant portion of Irish organic beef, almost two-thirds, is intended for export markets, while half of the organic lamb is currently sold abroad. The organic beef and lamb campaign aims to increase awareness of the positive attributes of organic beef and lamb, while enhancing trade recognition of the EU organic logo.

 

Germany stands as Ireland’s largest market for both organic beef and lamb, followed by Belgium as the second-largest market for organic Irish lamb. Sweden and Austria, with strong consumer demand for organic produce and a reliance on imports, are also targeted.

 

Bord Bia highlights that over 85% of mushrooms grown in Ireland are destined for the UK market. In 2022, more than 43,000 tonnes of mushrooms, valued at €106 million, were exported to the UK.

Irish Agri-Food Exports 2022: €19 Billion Growth

In 2022, Irish agri-food exports were valued at €19 billion.

2022 saw €19 billion in Irish agri-food exports, employing 165,000 people in the industry, according to the Department of Agriculture. Overall sales were up 22% from 2021.

The Department of Agriculture’s annual review and prognosis report for 2023 outline the 165,000 jobs are spread across 135,000 farms, 2,000 locations for fishing and aquaculture, 2,000 businesses that produce food and beverages, and 180 countries where agri-food goods are exported.

The United States, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom continue to be the major export markets.

The sector’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 1.2% in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to the research.

Food, drink, and primary production supported 6.5% of total employment, mostly in rural and coastal towns. It accounted for 40% of all export sales by Irish-owned businesses.

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