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Tail-mounted calving alarm wins gold medal

Press release   •   Oct 13, 2016 13:53 BST

Kristian and Karolina Hårsmar with the innovation Moocall, which sends an alert when a cow is about to calve. It is one of four innovations to receive an Elmia Agriculture Innovation Award gold medal.

A sensor that sends a text message when a cow is ready to calve. Mocall is one of the four gold medal winners of Elmia Agriculture Innovation Award 2016. The other three all went to John Deere.

“We were at the launch in Ireland a year ago and realised it’s needed in Sweden,” explains Kristian Hårsmar, who is with the device’s Swedish importer, GGI Sweden.

The product is called Moocall and is basically a mobile phone attached to the tail of the cow or heifer. The solution is completely non-invasive. The device senses the tail’s movement, which has a typical pattern prior to calving. When this pattern occurs, the sensor sends a text message to pre-programmed telephone numbers.

“Almost 100,000 calvings have been recorded and the reliability is 97 percent,” Kristian adds.

Deliveries of the sensor to customers in Sweden began at the beginning of 2016 and the results are positive. A similar tail sensor is being developed to indicate oestrus, which cows indicate with a different tail movement pattern.

“This is a good example of an innovation that meets a market need in a new way,” comments Per Frankelius, researcher at Linköping University.

He is a member of the jury that judges the nominated award entries. Various areas of expertise are represented on the jury, which not only assesses the submitted information but also does its own research to ensure that the entries are real innovations.

John Deere wins gold medals for three new products

Four gold medals were awarded. The other three all went to John Deere, which may seem unusual.

“We look at the product itself and its innovation value, not who’s behind it,” Frankelius explains.

He says the agricultural industry is experiencing a technological leap forward, with information technology being used in new and often unexpected ways. Moocall is just one of many such examples. It is part of the fourth agricultural revolution, which also includes new business logistics and a move towards servicification– that farms buy in services as they are needed rather than investing in their own machines.

“We’re thrilled,” comments Håkan Westesson, sales manager at John Deere in Sweden. “Some people might think the medals are symbolic but they mean a huge amount within our organisation and prove that our major R&D investments are appreciated.”

Two of the products are associated with combines. The Dyna-Flo Plus is a cleaning system with 30 percent less weight thanks to new materials and new construction principles, which in turn reduces soil compaction. John Deere also won an award for its GoHarvest Premium, a simulator for combines. It is more realistic than previous versions and will probably be shown at Elmia Agriculture. The third medal went to EZ ballast for tractors. It is a heavy underbody weight frame that is hydraulically attached and detached, giving the same weight distribution whether or not the ballast is attached. The jury says EZ ballast is a fundamental innovation that can lead to an increased use of smaller and fundamentally lighter tractors.

The four gold medals and an additional seven silver ones will be presented on 18 October at Elmia Agriculture Future Forum in Jönköping.

Facts about Elmia Agriculture Innovation Award

The purpose of Elmia Agriculture Innovation Award is to highlight new, innovative products that advance Swedish agriculture. The awards are given annually in conjunction with the conference Elmia Lantbruk Framtidsforum and the products are also highluighted at the agricultural fair, Elmia Lantbruk.

The nominated entries are judged by an expert jury consisting of:

  • Per Emgardsson, journalist with the Swedish magazines Land Lantbruk/Lantmannen,
  • Charlotte Önnerstedt, pig producer, Åby Storgård, Sweden
  • Mikael Gilbertsson, senior project manager, JTI – Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering
  • Ann Christine Olsson, journalist, Husdjur magazine
  • Per Frankelius, researcher, Linköping University
  • Jonas Bentving, acting project manager of Elmia Agriculture (chair)

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