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HomeBeef‘Reducing the national herd is wrong in my opinion’ – agri innovator
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Reducing the national herd is wrong in my opinion’ – agri innovator

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Desmond Savage, Cork. We discuss Moonsyst Smart Rumen Monitoring System for sustainable Irish livestock farming, which collects real-time information from inside cattle. This enables farmers to accurately detect health and monitor health conditions, enabling improvements in productivity and sustainability.

“In brief, we provide smart rumen monitoring systems for dairy and beef cattle. Moonsyst International LTD was acquired by Agri IoT LTD, securing additional investment and expanding senior management teams. Currently, we have two employees but we are actively looking to hire.

In this article, we will tell That’s Farming’s readers about Moonsyst Smart Rumen Bolus.

In brief, we present farmers with an easy-to-use cloud-based technology that monitors all facets of the individual animal in real-time, while contributing to more sustainable farming practices.

The system uses a well-known and trusted method of administering the rumen bolus device using a bolus gun.

It comprises a rumen bolus sensor and a cloud-based data processing application, with an associated mobile app.


Once the bolus settles in the rumen (specifically the reticulum), it will remain there for the lifetime of the animal.

The bolus starts to measure key indicators of health, including body core temperature, changes indicating health issues or illness, events associated with active or silent oestrous cycle events, pre-calving temperature drops, and many other data sets related to cow behaviour.

Therefore, it is capable of multiple physiological and chemical data monitoring, alerting farmers of:

  • Calving;
  • Heat;
  • Repeats;
  • Fever;
  • Abnormal water intake;
  • Other health-related issues, 24/7.

With this information on hand, farmers can better understand their animal’s health and optimise feed conversion rates, which, in turn, will minimise the biogenic emissions, helping the environment.

Once a prolonged elevated temperature change or an anomaly becomes obvious, the system collects the animal’s data, makes a comparative analysis and sends an alert to the farmer indicating that the animal requires his attention.

The Moonsyst bolus sends all its data to a base station reader and onto the cloud for assessment; this, in turn, will activate an alert if required.

The farmer receives the alert via his/her phone or computer, or phone anytime in any place, and he/she manually isolates the cow for examination.

Given this early detection, potential remedies that help the cow to boost its immune system and maintain normal energy balance can be administered quite easily by either using a mineral bucket or drenching.

The bolus is made of Polyoxymethylene (POM) and coated with an acid-proof resin. The boluses are CE-marked and approved by the Veterinarian University of Hungary for use within animals. Sensors are manufactured in Hungary.


You can achieve cost-saving with the following:

  • Optimised reproduction rate;
  • Reduced labour costs;
  • Early disease/heat stress detection;
  • Higher milk yield;
  • Removal of stock bull;
  • Individual animal history, improving EBI;
  • Optimise calving system;
  • Reduced cost of Artificial Insemination (AI);
  • Less use of antibiotics;
  • Reducing veterinary bills;
  • Reduced feed costs.

Additional benefits include:

  • Enhanced ‘herdsmanship’;
  • Improved work-life balance;
  • Easier farm management – metric driven;
  • Reduced reliance on skilled labour;
  • Improved farm safety (no stock bull);
  • Focus on sustainability and animal health;
  • Probiotics over antibiotics;
  • Monitor animal stress levels/herd behaviour;
  • Utilise IoT network for alternative data gathering;
  • Automatic integration to other farm systems.
Target market 

We target our product towards commercial dairy and beef farmers, animal nutrition companies and animal research institutes

The strongest business case is for farms in excess of 80 breeding cows. A business case can be established for smaller farms for higher-value animals and part-time farmers

Farmers rely heavily on data to make key decisions in all aspects of their enterprise. Data collection and the action of a corrective response based on precise information have always been promoted as best farming practices.

Simply put, without data, you are reliant on opinions or comparative actions from a previous experience.

Many farm families make their living from dairy and or beef production and put good animal husbandry at the top of their daily list of priorities.

Farmers have become keen observers of animal behaviour and are extremely sensitive to the changes associated with illness or behaviour, especially at the latter stages as symptoms or signals start to become more apparent.

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Animal health

Farmers will go into firefighting mode to tackle the illness and, with the expert advice of their veterinary surgeon, creates a treatment plan that sometimes requires the use of antibiotic therapeutics.

Animal recovery can result in a time-consuming exercise which can involve daily intervention to provide the recommended treatments, which with some illnesses, require milk withdrawal and isolation from the herd depending on the complaint.

Had the illness presented milder symptoms that were observed earlier, this could have led to a much more effective recovery plan both in terms of labour, treatment costs and recovery time for the animal.

Time to talk about a solution for this old and frustrating problem. Animal illness and activity detection using innovation and technology will provide you with precise data that is actionable.

This will change your role from fireman to fire prevention by helping you with an accurate early warning system developed by Moonsyst, which alerts you to a potential animal health issue or heat detection activity.

Irish weather can be very unpredictable, which results in varied forage crop quality from year to year.

Acidity levels from the feed can also vary, and it is not until animals start to show symptoms of acidosis is the true quality of the feed starts to present its shortcoming.

Acidosis can have negative implications on bovine animals, which result in poor weight gain and milk yield loss.


The solutions provided by Moonsyst allow animal nutritionists and farmers alike to see the impacts of diet changes or feed quality on rumen pH Levels by administering a Moonsyst Smart Rumen pH Bolus that reliably monitors the changes in pH value of the rumen over an extended time.

This will allow the farmer a chance to reassess his feed inputs and make subtitle changes to maximise the feed potential.

It costs roughly €99/cow (lifetime of animal), and readers can purchase directly from

Readers should note that our product does not apply recurring monthly or annual charges.

Moonsyst is actively campaigning to eliminate VAT on our sensors by lobbying to Irish politicians to the point, why charge VAT on a product that supports sustainable farming.

Our future plans are to build a customer base in Ireland and expand internationally. Moreover, we will constantly optimise and and improve our software.

Future of Irish farming

More focus needs to be placed on improving animal efficiencies in dairy and meat production.

By incentivising farmers to better understand the health of their herd, they can optimise feed conversion rates and, in turn, minimise biogenic emissions and help the environment in the long term.

A quick and fast solution is never the answer when farming the land or planning for the future.

Therefore, a longer-term sustainable approach is key and Irish farmers are well-placed to take the lead on this.

With the assistance of Moonsyst, farmers can work smarter and more sustainably and the benefits for the environment and animal health will be seen.

This is what the government should be focused on for the continued success of Irish farming.

Metrics matter when it comes to making long-term decisions on the future of Irish farming.

The current metrics on which the Irish government are basing their decisions, namely biogenic methane reduction and reducing the national herd, are wrong, in my opinion.

Ireland has the opportunity to be a leader in sustainable farming practises which will benefit Irish farming families and the wider world, as the demand for animal proteins continues to rise.”

To share your story with That’s Farming, email our editor, Catherina Cunnane– [email protected]

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