Technology company Agersens and The Ohio State University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that paves the way for the two organisations to implement research trials to determine the efficacy and economics of the eShepherd system for local conditions.
The ‘smart collar’ system for livestock enables cattle producers to create ‘virtual fences’ and use their smart device to remotely fence, muster and monitor their livestock around the clock from anywhere in the world.
Agersens chief executive officer Ian Reilly said the team at The Ohio State University had the expertise and knowledge the company needed to better understand local cattle and dairy markets and determine how virtual fencing technology could help Ohio farmers get the most out of their land and livestock.
‘‘eShepherd is set to revolutionise livestock management by unlocking value from the digital transformation of the American beef and dairy industries and will make farming more efficient, more manageable and less labour intensive,’’ he said.
‘‘Farmers in Ohio understand that improved grazing control creates more productive, profitable properties and are eager to adopt technologies that enable controlled grazing without the associated time constraints and labour costs.’’
This latest memorandum of understanding comes on the heels of similar memorandums struck with the University of Idaho and Kansas State University last year, as well as an extended collaboration agreement with the CSIRO formalised last November.
Ohio State Department of Animal Sciences chair Dr John Foltz recognises the technological and economic opportunities that eShepherd brings to departmental research faculty and livestock producers in Ohio.
‘‘The virtual fence is an exciting technology, which we hope to utilise in numerous research projects to understand its potential as a livestock management tool,’’ Dr Foltz said.
‘‘It appears to have some very unique capabilities and also generates large amounts of precision livestock data, which will be valuable to our research scientists.’’
The transformative eShepherd technology uses a GPS-enabled solar-powered ‘smart collar’ containing a CSIRO-developed algorithm and an audio cue to train cattle to stay within their prescribed virtual boundary.