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Agersens recently completed a successful riparian grazing trial on a working beef cattle farm at Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.

The purpose of the trial was to demonstrate eShepherd improving the environmental sustainability of cattle farming by managing cattle access to a river and its adjoining land (riparian zone).

Eleven Angus cows were allowed to graze in a paddock for a week with full access to the waterway. Cattle preferred to graze alongside the waterway where the pasture was more lush. eShepherd was then used to effectively fence the animals from the river. After eleven days the virtual fence was removed and the animals rapidly returned to grazing in the riparian zone.

Highlights of the Trial:

  • Within a few hours all animals learned the presence of the fence and chose not to enter the riparian zone.
  • One night four animals were “spooked” by some event, or presence of neighbouring cows, and ran into the riparian zone. Note that eShepherd doesn’t attempt to stop a running and aroused animal – it waits for the animal to calm down and then proceeds to shepherd the animal back to where it should be grazing. Within twenty minutes all four animals were shepherded back out of the riparian area into their designated grazing zone.
  • When the virtual fence was turned off, the cattle returned to graze at the river within a few hours.

Additional measurements were made to detect any impact to animal rumination, grazing, and resting habits using Dairymaster Moomonitor+. The results are still being evaluated but the outcomes are all positive to date.

The farm owner John Guest was delighted by the opportunity to use eShepherd, saying “Virtual Fencing has the potential to make livestock handling simpler, cheaper and more efficient through so many ways”.

The trial was carried out by Agersens and CSIRO under a collaborative program funded by Goulburn Broken and North East Catchment Management Authorities, Murray Local Land Services and the Victorian State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning who have provided ongoing support for eShepherd development since 2014. eShepherd offers a wildlife friendly, flood and fireproof tool to both improve the productivity and sustainability of beef and dairy production.