Garvagh-based J Wilson Agriculture has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to design, manufacture and market internationally a unique cow pillow.
The new comfort product, moovApillow™, is the only adjustable pillow on the market and has been developed by the company to improve the living conditions and productivity of dairy cows.
Invest NI has offered the company support towards the development and marketing of the new product, which includes part funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, said: “This is an innovative development by an experienced and successful manufacturer of a range of products that improve conditions for cows. It is being launched at a time when the dairy industry here in particular is facing calls to improve efficiency and productivity.
“The recent Northern Ireland Dairy Industry Study tabled a series of recommendations to encourage the industry to strengthen its overall competitiveness in terms of productivity, new products and marketing activities outside Northern Ireland.
“This company has invested extensively in new products particularly in the highly innovative pillow. Our support has been shaped to assist this ambitious company to turn an original idea into a new product with immense potential both here and particularly outside Northern Ireland.
“While we would expect the product to attract considerable interest in Northern Ireland, the company recognises that the growth it requires can best be achieved through a sharp focus on opportunities abroad.”
Andrew Wilson, J Wilson Agriculture Managing Director, outlining the investment, said: “The new pillow is the outcome of our longstanding focus on products, including cow stalls and mattresses, which improve conditions substantially for cows and horses.
“Research shows that a comfortable cow produces higher levels and better quality of milk. The latest product, a one piece, high absorbency and robust pillow, helps farmers meet the challenge for higher milk production. Given the volatility in milk prices over recent years, anything that helps to increase production can lead to better yields and returns for dairy farmers.
“Invest NI’s support for the new product in areas such as R&D and marketing has been invaluable. Currently, we have good business in Great Britain, Hungary and the Czech Republic and have identified substantial opportunities in these and other markets, especially Germany, for the product.
“We aim to drive current levels of sales in Great Britain and Europe to above 80 per cent of turnover. With Invest NI’s support and advice, we are implementing e-commerce technology to enable us to reach a much wider marketplace.”
J Wilson Agriculture was formed in 1995 to manufacture products such as cow cubicles, mattresses and ventilation systems for the farming industry. It currently employs seven people at its manufacturing operation near Coleraine. It also has a sales operation in Bristol.
Pictured (L-R) is: Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology and Andrew Wilson, J Wilson Agriculture Managing Director with the new comfort product, moovApillow™