Making it Work

Milking tech company looks further afield for long-term growth

Pearson Milking Techologies, a family firm founded in Kildare in 1948, believes it is now well positioned to aggressively target overseas markets such as Bangladesh and Azerbaijan

David Pearson, director of Pearson Milking Technologies: the business recently won an Enterprise Ireland innovation arena award for its Bullseye invention which provides farmers with real-time body condition scoring for dairy cattle. Picture: Eamon Ward

Pearson Milking Technologies, the Kildare-based agricultural technology company, is targeting growth in Britain, Germany and the Middle East as part of plans to scale its operations globally.

The business, which will turn 75 next year, has endured for decades and is now targeting sustainable, long-term growth, according to Lloyd Pearson, who runs the company along with his brother David.

“We’re really starting to think about the long term,” Lloyd told the Business Post. “To grow a company nowadays, you have to be looking further afield. You have to set up markets so you can give your customers the back-up in that market. That’s what we’re working on at the minute.”

For Enterprise Ireland-backed Pearson, overseas exports aren’t exactly new: the company was selling its milking machines in Egypt as far back as the 1980s. But those were government contracts, “and we didn’t really look for them at that point in time”, Lloyd said.

Today things are very different. The firm’s technology is now built on machine learning and self-learning algorithms, and it believes it is well positioned to aggressively target overseas markets which are less advanced than Ireland in agricultural technology.

“We’re working with the Bangladeshi government at the minute, revolutionising and upgrading all their farms, which are currently milking by hand,” Lloyd said. “It’s like Ireland 80 years ago. We’re putting in place our technology to bring them up to world level of technology.”

In the competitive field of milking, Pearson believes its technology gives it an edge over its rivals.

“We’re really pushing our tech. We have a low-cost machine to run – we design it so that your consumables mightn’t be as much as other companies, in terms of the actual quantity of them, so it’s an efficient machine. It all comes back to tech,” Lloyd said.

The Pearson brothers, who spent last week at the National Ploughing championships, know they have developed a good product because they have the prizes to prove it. Just the week before, they won Enterprise Ireland’s innovation arena award for an invention called Bullseye which provides farmers with real-time body condition scoring for dairy cattle. The product helps farmers by freeing up resources, increasing output and efficiency and addressing labour shortages in farms.

The company has a strong client list in Ireland, but sees Britain as a “market where we can grow”, Lloyd said. In the Middle East, where countries are starting to develop larger herds, more and more large farmers are also seeking milking technologies of the sort developed by Pearson.

“There’s big work over that side of the world,” Lloyd said. “We have machines in Kuwait and machines in Azerbaijan. There’s a lot of potential there.”

Another element that Pearson leans heavily into is its lineage. The company was founded in 1948 by Lloyd and David’s grandparents, and was later taken on by the next generation before David and Lloyd took over in more recent times.

The Pearson brothers were steeped in the company from a young age, working weekends and spending their summers at the plant.

“We were always in having competitions, seeing who could produce the most,” Lloyd said. “It was always good fun. It’s a nice story for us, being a third generation business. We’ve come through a lot over the years – recessions, Covid – and we’re still working away. And the fourth generation is on the way.”

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