Picture by Harrison Photography
Kieran McPeake, Managing Director, Northern Farm Supplies, demonstrating the new collapsible cow cubicle to Claire Herron, Invest NI Manager of Innovation Vouchers.
Toomebridge-based Northern Farm Supplies has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to design and manufacture a radically new cubicle that’s more comfortable for cows.
The cubicle, which features a flexible cantilever design, is easy to install, adjust, clean and offers cows more room.
Managing director Kieran McPeake used an Invest NI Innovation Voucher to turn the idea for a new type of collapsible cow cubicle into a product which is now being used successfully on local farms. Northern Farm Supplies specialises in rubber matting and other farm products.
The new product was announced by Mr McPeake, who has experience over 25 years in farming, and welcomed by Claire Herron, Manager of the Innovation Voucher Programme, during a visit to one of the first farms in Northern Ireland to install the innovative cubicle.
Mrs Herron said: “The new cubicle is an excellent example of how smaller businesses can use the Innovation Voucher scheme to turn ideas into products for local farms and also for export to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
“Northern Farm Supplies used the voucher to access the knowledge and expertise of the Innotech Centre at the South West Further Education College in Cookstown to help with design, engineering and stress testing of the cubicle. What they did was to provide expert skills which helped to transform a good idea into an innovative product which is now well on the way to becoming a commercial success.
“The voucher, which also enabled Northern Farm Supplies to access expert advice and guidance from one of our innovation advisers, is an excellent example of how we can help a business in a traditional industry to diversify and thereby enhance its competitiveness here and to expand into new markets outside Northern Ireland.”
Mr McPeake said: “I found the Innovation Voucher scheme excellent because it enabled me to access highly practical support from Innotech in Cookstown to turn a project I had been thinking about for some time into a fully fledged product.
“The cubicle is different from many on the market because it offers unique features including ease of assembly and installation. While the cubicle is made from galvanised steel, the design enables it to be provided flat-packed for easier transport and adjustment. It can be retro-fitted to existing farms and is sufficiently flexible to fit any building.
“Other important features of the cubicle include greater room for cows and easier access and exit for the animals. If a cow becomes stuck in the cubicle, it has to be dismantled quickly and thereby avoids the animal becoming distressed and perhaps injuring itself.
“Experience from the farms which are now using the cubicle is that it makes life easier for farmers and means happier and healthier cows,” added Mr McPeake.