Cow wearing an eShepherd collar that allows for virtual fencing. Submitted photo.

Those with larger livestock such as cattle, horses and sheep must contend with fences on a regular basis. It seems like it is always in need of repair or out-right replacement on an older section of fence. That may become a thing of the past due to collaborative efforts of two companies that resulted in a product called eShepherd. This is a smart collar system for livestock that enables cattle producers to create “virtual fences.” Using a smartphone, tablet or PC, producers can remotely fence, muster and monitor their livestock on a 24/7 basis from anywhere in the world.

Agritech companies, Agersens and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), signed a collaboration agreement to develop and commercialize livestock technologies through the eShepherd system.

This virtual fencing system uses a GPS-enabled, solar-powered smart collar which contains a CSIRO-developed algorithm to train cattle to stay within the virtual boundary when they hear an audio cue from the collar. The technology was patented by CSIRO and is licensed exclusively to Agersens worldwide.

“Using eShepherd, beef and dairy producers will be able to improve the grazing control and well-being of livestock and protect wildlife from the danger of entanglement in traditional fences,” said Ian Reilly, CEO of Agersens. “This will lead to more productive and profitable farms.

“This will also benefit the environment by keeping livestock out of sensitive areas like waterways.”

Reilly noted the eShepherd technology could revolutionize livestock farming. He predicts the product has a huge potential for other livestock operations, as the product is adapted for sheep, deer, pigs, goats and even camels.

“Modern producers understand that improving grazing control leads to more productive and profitable farms,” he said, “and they are keen to adopt technology that will get that result.”

Drewe Ferguson is research director of livestock in CSIRO’s Agriculture & Food Business and said, “we’re pleased to be able to continue collaborating with Agersens to deliver innovative new technologies to the global livestock sector.”

Agersens has already received orders for thousands of eShepherd collars in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada and the UK.

Producers can join the waitlist by contacting Agersens at info@agersens.com.

Both Agersens and CSIRO are Australian companies. Agersens holds the worldwide exclusive license for virtual fencing and CSIRO has more than 1,800 patients that have resulted in more than 150 spin-off companies.

With progress like this, those favorite fencing pliers might take up a spot in an agricultural museum.

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