The Cotter Crate, a lamb handling system brothers, Jack, and Nick Cotter, developed, took the Rural Innovation Award at the 2020 RDS Sustainable Agriculture Awards virtual ceremony.
It facilitates the “quick, safe, easy and accurate administration of doses, drenches and vaccines to lambs from 3 weeks of age”.
The multi-prize-winning innovation lies in how the lambs are safely and comfortably held in the crate allowing the farmer/flock owner to administer multiple treatments quickly and accurately.
They claim that “with this crate, farmers are going to be able to become more productive and profitable”.
The Limerick natives explained: “We invented the Cotter Crate about five years ago because we found it incredibly difficult to administer vaccines and doses to lambs when they are young.”
“We were doing it using the traditional method. But the problem is that there is a high labour requirement to do two or three things at one time to them, and lambs are jumping on top of each other and miss doses; it is not particularly good for your back.”
According to the brothers, with this product, you can:
- Dose, vaccinate, click and mark sheep at one time;
- Reduce the number of times you have to handle your sheep;
- Dose 400 lambs an hour with a single dose;
- Also, dose 200 lambs an hour with four treatments;
- Complete tasks in half the time;
- Half your labour bill.
The brothers claim that you can repay the cost of the crate in one to two years from:
- Lower losses;
- Higher animal performance;
- Lower vet bills.
In the video below, they explained how their invention works.
Other business ventures
This is the brothers’ third venture, having started Cotter Bros Firewood in 2011, aged 13 and 11, and Cotter Organic Lamb in 2019.
Their 100% grass-fed lamb produced on their farm outside Abbeyfeale won an Irish Quality Food Award.
Nick received recognition for the Cotter Brothers’ entrepreneurial successes from UCC, being awarded a Quercus Innovation/Entrepreneurship Scholarship in 2019.