A 50 year journey: Developing animal health products for Irish farming needs

Since its formation in 1967, Bimeda has grown to become a leader in the animal health space – both in Ireland and across the globe.

Formed by a group of progressive vets some 50 years ago, the company has remained committed to developing and marketing “Irish products for Irish farmers”.

Speaking to AgriLand, Bimeda’s Mary Murphy said: “Bimeda has never lost focus on, nor commitment to, the Irish farming community.

“Ireland is a big focus for us and we will continue to develop and market products that serve the market’s needs,” she said.

Across the globe, the company employs 900 people, the Bimeda Marketing Manager explained. And approximately 150 of these employees are based in Ireland; across functions including commercial, quality, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, finance, production and R&D.

When asked about whether such a global footprint means focus on Ireland is diluted, Murphy commented: “Absolutely not.

We have a research and development team based in Dublin and we carry out activities such as market research focus groups to make sure we stay close to the needs of the Irish farming community.

“In fact, this year, we carried out market research with almost 500 Irish dairy farmers, including focus groups, personal interviews and online surveys.

“Having feedback from Irish farmers and vets is helpful from a product development perspective as these are the people that use the products every day.”

Looking at the company’s portfolio, it’s clear that it has developed a number of animal health products with the specific needs of Irish farmers in mind.

An example would be Endofluke (triclabenazole) which is used to counter the three stages of liver fluke.

Liver fluke is a parasite that thrives in Ireland’s climate; but is unheard of in many warmer countries where the company has a presence. Endofluke is manufactured at Bimeda’s Dublin site.

Growth on the world stage

While success at home is always interesting to read about, there’s something particularly special about Irish success on a global scale; Bimeda’s story of international growth makes compelling reading.

The company has expanded greatly over the previous five decades, and it now has a presence in over 75 countries across the world.

In terms of the company’s growth trajectory and making the shift from a ‘regional’ to ‘global’ player, a seismic shift came between 1997 and 2007 when Bimeda made five acquisitions across North America, which were in the US, Mexico and Canada.

At the time of writing, Bimeda had a physical presence in countries as far flung as Brazil, the USA, the UK, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Kenya, Zambia, France and Uganda – to name just some of the major markets.

Bimeda also has five R&D facilities spread across Europe, Asia and North America, as well as nine manufacturing sites in eight countries.

Despite this growth, Murphy was adamant that the company will continue to remain committed to the Irish market.

She said: “As well as having physical commercial and research functions in Dublin, two of our manufacturing facilities are here, including our intramammary manufacturing facility where patented Boviseal® teat sealant is made, and our dips and drenches facility where parasite control products such as Endofluke, Ectospec and Cyperguard sheep dip are manufactured.

“We remain dedicated to providing solutions for Irish farming’s challenges.”

She added: “For example, we developed the teat sealant technology that you know now as Boviseal® teat sealant decades ago, as the Bimeda team focused its efforts on developing a way of preventing mastitis in Irish dairy cows – by sealing teats at dry off.

Some 40 years later, the product is still growing strongly and is ideally placed in an age of pressure to reduce antibiotic usage.

As the world’s leading manufacturer of teat sealant, Bimeda is understandably proud of its achievements in this area and boasts one of the world’s biggest intramammary manufacturing facilities, which is located in Dublin.

Since introducing the concept of teat sealing to Ireland, the dairy community has not looked back, and now over 75% of the national herd is sealed each dry off.

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When probed about what makes this product different or special, Murphy noted: “You may be surprised to learn that not all teat sealants on the market are the same and Bimeda’s Boviseal® contains a patented formulation.

Patented Boviseal® contains an ingredient that isn’t found in all teat sealants, called colloidal anhydrous silica.

“Colloidal anhydrous silica gives the seal the body and viscosity needed for it to remain in the teat of the cow throughout the entire Irish dry cow period.

“It also gives Boviseal® the flexible, three-dimensional structure required for the sealant to remain in place, as the cow moves around and lies down,” she said.

With a solid track record in delivering products for the Irish farming community, and an enviable record of international expansion, the future looks bright for this Irish giant.