Agersens recently completed a trial of the latest version of the eShepherd™ virtual fence at Lark Hill, near Toowoomba in Queensland. The Lark Hill farm was heavily wooded, with other areas of dense scrub in terrain, that is at times, steep and undulating.
In less than one day the base station was installed and collars fitted to eighteen steers, which were a mixture of Droughtmaster, Brahman, Murray Grey and Angus composites.
Two trials were run concurrently; one trial monitoring steers in one grazing zone and the other trial testing cell grazing strategies.
The trials effectively demonstrated the capabilities of the eShepherd™ in a number of key areas:
- Installation and fitting times have been significantly reduced
- The system operates well in challenging terrain
- The learning period for cattle is rapid and effective with all animals grazing within the designated zone.
- Cattle don’t try to remove the collar and there is no evidence that the collar is being snagged in dense scrub.
The trials also demonstrated how a virtual fence can bisect a watering hole favoured by cattle.
Figure A shows the virtual fence travelling across the water.
At point A cattle have attempted to cross the virtual fence during which a number of audio signals (yellow) have been delivered followed by an electric pulse (red).
Cattle have then walked to area B and attempted to cross the virtual fence a second time. At this point audio signals alone (yellow) were sufficient for cattle to turn around and graze elsewhere.
The interaction of the cattle with the virtual fence and a natural barrier (watering hole) demonstrates animals effectively learning to respond to audio cues to control their grazing area.
The completion of the Lark Hill trial signals that the Agersens’ eShepherd™ is undergoing thorough testing and will soon be ready for market launch.