Agersens has appointed animal health and wellbeing expert Dr Cameron Ralph as Manager, Production Science to support the development and roll out of eShepherd™, a smart collar system enabling farmers to create virtual “fences” and remotely monitor, muster and move cattle.
With over 10 years’experience, Dr Ralph’s research career has spanned multiple livestock species including beef and dairy cattle, sheep and pigs.
Currently being sold for use in cattle, eShepherd has the potential to be applied in other animals, and for additional functionality and data collection to be added.
The CEO of Agersens, Ian Reilly,said animal health and wellbeing lay at the core of the company, with Dr Ralph joining other experts, including the company’s longstanding Animal Welfare and Research Scientist, Sally Haynes.
“eShepherd is animal-friendly technology, and existing research shows that eShepherd causes no more stress to animals than normal yard handling while revolutionising farm productivity, profitability and sustainability,” Mr Reilly said.
“With eShepherd and a smart phone or tablet, you can be sipping a latte in London while mustering your cattle in Cunnamulla.”
Dr Ralph has relocated from South Australia to Melbourne for the role.
“Over time, eShepherd has the potential to gather a major biophysical databank that can provide insights to further drive productivity increases while protecting and improving animal wellbeing. I’m excited by the opportunity to be part of the journey for this revolutionary product,” Dr Ralph said.
eShepherd uses a GPS-enabled, solar-powered smart collar containing a CSIRO training program to train the animal to stay within the virtual boundary when they hear an audio cue. The audio cue is followed by a small electric pulse if the animal continues in the wrong direction, and livestock quickly learn to respond to the audio cue alone. This is similar to how animals currently learn to avoid conventional fences using their sense of sight.
Animal health and wellbeing benefits of the technology include: better access to clean pasture by controlling grazing; lower risk of mustering injuries; avoiding injury and death to wildlife and livestock by removing risk of entanglement in a fence, which can cause injuries (barbed wire) or uncontrolled shocking (electrical fence).
Headquartered in Melbourne, Agersens is an innovative agri-tech company revolutionising livestock production globally by applying virtual fencing technology developed by CSIRO – to which Agersens holds the worldwide exclusive license.
The Agersens team includes engineers, beef and dairy producers, animal behaviour and welfare scientists and business leaders committed to delivering this important innovation globally. Global partners include CSIRO, Gallagher, State and Federal Governments, Meat & Livestock Australia, Dairy Australia, universities, agricultural research organisations, cattle and dairy farmer associations, and natural resource managers.
Amanda Cirillo, Pesel & Carr
E firstname.lastname@example.org, P (03) 9036 6900, M 0423 944 375