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February 8, 2021 Innovation & Technology

Fab Tech Find: Don’t fence me in

Finally! Ag-tech advancements capitalizing on GPS technology will soon appear in a pasture near you. After watching crop production technology advance for years, the livestock sector is about to see some fresh high-tech products that make herd management easier through location tracking, virtual fencing, and data collection.

The potential possibilities are exciting. From pasture rotation to bulls and breeding groups, to helping keep track of cattle under our big skies and vast pasture range.

Ceres Tag™ is a satellite-smart ear tag that allows producers to locate livestock using GPS any time, day or night. Beyond just tracking, the tag monitors biosecurity, health, welfare, performance and traceability, and even provides theft detection.

Each Ceres Tag is powered by an internal solar panel and lasts more than 10 years to ensure the animal is covered for life. It is being trialed in nine countries this spring, including Canada. The company plans to make it available for online purchase through www.cerestag.com beginning in May 2021.

Meanwhile, move over barbed wire, here comes the eShepherd® virtual fencing system. Introduced in Australia by Agersens, the system uses a solarpowered, GPS-enabled neckband and mobile technology to automate grazing control.

The neckband responds to a virtual boundary drawn into a smartphone app by the producer. The app signals the neckband through GPS, encouraging animals to avoid straying by delivering an audio cue followed by a mild shock when they approach the virtual perimeter.

Acting like a virtual shepherd, Agersens’ eShepherd allows producers to remotely fence, monitor and muster bulls 24/7. In addition to requiring less people power for animal management, virtual fencing is flood and fireproof, and an effective way to prevent overgrazing. Although it’s not currently available in Canada, information about eShepherd is available through www.agersens.com.

This article was first published in Volume 1 Issue 1 of ABP Magazine (February 2021). Watch for more digital content from the magazine on ABP Daily.

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