Trading wire for Wi-Fi

Northern Gulf cattle wearing solar powered tracking collars

Northern Gulf graziers are some of the first in the world to try virtual fencing

Staff from the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group and Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries have teamed up with local graziers to trial eShepherd Virtual Fencing, produced by CSIRO in partnership with Agersens.  As part of the project, a new trial has started in Georgetown, a small town 450km west of Cairns. Virtual fencing is an animal-friendly system that confines or moves livestock without fixed fences. It uses solar-powered cattle neckbands with coordinates, wireless technologies and sensors to control livestock. GPS tracking devices allow graziers to set virtual boundaries using a computer or tablet.

When an animal approaches the border of a virtual paddock, the neckband gives an audio warning. If the animal continues towards the virtual fence, the neckband delivers a mild electric pulse. If the animal stops when it hears the audio cue, there’s no pulse and the neckband continues to monitor the animal. Cattle learn to stop when they hear the audio warning and become trained to remain within the boundaries of the virtual paddocks. The trial is taking place on a mixed breeder operation, with 100 collars fitted to growing steers. They’re being carefully monitored by project staff, the Agersens Team, and the participating graziers.

The E-Beef project is supported by a partnership of Southern Gulf NRM, Desert Channels Queensland, Northern Gulf RMG, and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Funding for the project is from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Queensland Government Drought and Climate Adaptation Program Contact John McLaughlin  Rangelands Project Officer 0411 294 331 john.mclaughlin@northerngulf.com.au

This story is also in one of our three regular newsletter, The Gulf Croaker. You can read and download all of them on our newsletters page.

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