Making it Work

Reap Interactive aims to disrupt global farming market with enhanced data

The founder of the firm, Kieran Supple, said he came up with the idea after spotting inefficiencies on his family farm

Kieran Supple, from Co Roscommon and owner of Reap Interactive, the livestock monitoring solution designed to optimise cattle management. Picture: James Connolly

Reap Interactive, which is disrupting the farming market with data-driven performance monitoring, is aiming for global expansion after a recent private investment.

The company’s primary product BovinePlus enables farmers to make better decisions by using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to monitor the ongoing health and behaviour patterns of their animals.

Kieran Supple, founder of the firm, which began operating in 2021, said he noticed a gap in the market when he returned to the family farm after obtaining a degree in computer science and working as a chief information officer in the IT sector.

“At work we were being KPI’d [key performance indicators] to death every day,” Supple said. “Everything was monitored and measured. I came home and was working on the farm and it was like navigating in the dark because there was a lack of accurate and consistent data to assess how things were going on a daily basis.”

This made Supple look at how to calculate accurate, daily performance metrics.

The physical element of the resulting product is a weighing scale and water trough. BovinePlus calculates the weight data from an animal's two front legs when it steps onto a platform to access the water trough.

It then uses algorithms to provide an accurate estimation of the full body weight, which along with the water intake allows for predictions of an individual animal’s performance and potential health issues.

This simplifies the conventional livestock weighing practices, which typically happen every six months but can be much more regular. The traditional practice is time-consuming for the farmers and stressful for the animals as it involves hoisting them onto a platform.

While that feature is helpful for farmers the more critical element of the product, according to Supple, is it allows for more farm efficiency. According to the company’s calculations if a farm acts on all the findings it provides it can boost returns by 200 per cent.

“We build in an animal's behaviour analysis from the information and that is the overall basis for growth targets, for carbon emission for fertility, for genetics, disease control, antimicrobial resistance, grass management, feed management, and overall profitability,” Supple said.

Fact File

Company: BovinePlus

Founder: Kieran Supple

Staff: 7-10

Investment: €1 million

Currently, BovinePlus is being used on farms in Ireland, with plans for expansion into England in the third quarter of this year, with the US and the rest of Europe targeted for the fourth quarter.

This growth, which is being funded by an almost €1 million in private investment through a combination of Enterprise Ireland and another private equity investor, is also allowing Supple to hire more staff.

The founder is currently recruiting for sales, marketing and field operatives.

Family feedback

Supple is also hoping to launch a new iteration of the product with “technical add-ons” at the National Ploughing Championships in September.

While he did not divulge any information on the changes, he said the current version had already been altered significantly since he started working on the idea.

“I have a graveyard of early-stage products,” Supple commented. “They’ve all come from feedback and trial and error.”

The first user for each version of his product is often his own family farm and he said they don’t hold back with their thoughts.

“There's nothing like the older generation to tell you exactly what they think. I don't have too far to turn to get a very honest opinion of the product or what it does or what it doesn't do,” the founder said.

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In general though BovinePlus has been well-received by Reap Interactive’s target market of larger farms.

“They are open to any technology that can make an improvement to the bottom line, the efficiency of the farm, improvements on an environmental and sustainable front and animal health,” he said.

“No animals are being over-produced [with the product], there's no unnecessary environmental impact on the environment,” Supple said. “You're not looking at herd average, you're looking at every one of them individually so that they're being reared in the most efficient manner possible and that has a knock on environmental impact.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland