Cotter Agritech has launched its Cotter Crate sheep handling unit and new SmartWorm app in the UK market.
Developed by Kerry sheep farming brothers Jack and Nick Cotter, the SmartWorm app is marketed as “an advanced weighing and targeted selective treatment (TST) phone app that enables weight recording, treatment management and uniquely enables farmers to conduct targeted selective worming based on an algorithm”.
The algorithm calculates a lamb’s potential growth based on a number of factors including weight gain, rainfall, temperature, pasture availability and pasture quality.
It gives each lamb an individual target and if lambs are not reaching the target set it recommends treating the animal for worms.
The company claims that use of the algorithm can enable a sheep farmer to reduce their use of wormers by up to 40% without any loss in animal performance.
It adds that the algorithm has been validated in research projects with University College Dublin Lyons Research Farm and Queens University Belfast, highlighting that testing has taken place across 18 commercial sheep farms in Ireland and the UK.
Within these farms, over 4,500 lambs across 18 breeds and lowland, hill and mountainous land types have been put to the test.
Reducing anthelmintic use will obviously reduce cost, but the big gains emphasised by the company include reducing the rate of anthelmintic resistance developing and the identification of worm resistant or resilient flock replacements.
SmartWorm can be used with the Cotter Crate or with any other sheep handling and weighing equipment already on farm to conduct selective treatment.
It will integrate with the Trutest weigh bar, Allflex, Agrident and Trutest EID readers and FarmIT3000, TGM and Agriwebb software platforms and others on the market.
The Cotter Crate is a sheep handling unit designed to make handling tasks more efficient and safer.
It caters for lambs and adult sheep and tasks promoted include dosing, vaccinating, tagging, dagging, weighing, age identification and mouth assessments, body condition scoring, and three-way drafting.
A unique feature of the unit is the potential to hold an animal at operator height.
Return on investment
Co-founder and CTO of Cotter Agritech Jack Cotter says: “For the average UK sheep flock (220 breeding ewes), a return on investment for the software solution is delivered within 12 months.
"This is achieved through delivering wormer and labour savings, breeding improvements and preventing production losses by slowing resistance development on farm.”
Jack says issues due to resistance is costing the UK sheep farming industry £84m (€98m) per year.
“Our hardware and software solution is the most practical, simplest and complete way of reducing wormer use on-farm.
"Farmers can now do TST in a manner which doesn’t slow them down. This solution unlocks this technology on to the sheep farming industry.”
It will help to preserve and strengthen the sustainability and profitability of farmers
Nick Cotter says the SmartWorm technology will also bring about significant environmental benefits.
“The trend is towards higher welfare and more nature friendly farming, reduction of chemical use and protection of our biodiversity. And this delivers.
"It will help to preserve and strengthen the sustainability and profitability of British farmers and boost UK agriculture’s social licence. This is a win-win-win, for British farmers, for the British public and for the environment.”
Cotter Agritech is offering farmers who already have suitable weighing equipment a three-month free trial of SmartWorm.
The pricing mechanism for SmartWorm is detailed in Table 1, with savings of €30/£30 where committing for a year’s service.
The company will be exhibiting at Balmoral Show which takes place from 11 to 14 of May and further information can also be found at www.cotteragritech.com.
The company says the technology is supported by government grant aid for English farmers under the Farmer Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) and for Irish farmers under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).
They aim to have it grant-aided for Welsh farmers under the recently announced Sustainable Farming Scheme.