Reducing Drench Usage in Sheep with Nick Cotter
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Reducing Drench Usage in Sheep with Nick Cotter
Jun 17, 2024 Season 2024
Cotter Agritech

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From direct organic lamb sales to a firewood business and developing algorithms for drench recommendations, the Cotter family pretty much do it all.

This week we have Nick Cotter of Cotter Agritech on the podcast to chat about their farm in County Limerick, Ireland, and the various inventions and innovations they have come up with.


In Ireland, sheep farming is considered the least profitable, behind beef and dairy. This prompted the Cotter family to convert to organic farming in 2014. Nick Cotter discusses the challenges of organic farming and the direct marketing of organic lamb products. "It is bloody hard and there is a lot of work in it. But if you get it right, there is a significant premium to be found," he explains.


As the proverb goes, necessity is the mother of invention and Nick explains that the added challenges of being organic inspired them to create “a lot of good ideas.”


One of their first ideas was their CotterCrate, a manual sheep handling and weighing system. The handling system was thought up after having to handle lambs more often under an organic regime. They developed it over a year, adding and changing things as they went. Then they took it on the road and worked with farmers to finesse the design. So, it is truly built by farmers, for farmers.


Their latest engineering feat is SmartWorm. As an organic producer, Nick is all too aware of the challenge of reducing drench usage, along with minimising drench resistance in sheep and cattle farming, so Cotter Agritech created technology to combat the issue.


Instead of directly counting worms, SmartWorm assesses the real-time impact on lamb performance through a special algorithm. The tool integrates multiple factors to make accurate predictions for drenching, significantly reducing unnecessary dosing without compromising animal health or weight gain. The algorithm considers factors such as recent weather conditions, lamb physiology, recent drenches and pasture availability. With real-time analysis, it accurately determines whether treatment is necessary for each lamb.


Cotter Agritech is currently focused on driving the adoption of SmartWorm technology in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand and Australia, with plans for expansion into cattle farming.


If you are interested in working with Cotter Agritech, contact Nick at info@cottergagritech.com.

You can find out more about their technology here: cotteragritech.com.
And, there is more information about their premium lamb sales here: https://www.cotterorganiclamb.ie/



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