Innovation and Opportunities in Livestock Control using Virtual Boundaries (VBS TM)

TitleInnovation and Opportunities in Livestock Control using Virtual Boundaries (VBS TM)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsAnderson D.M.
Conference NameProceedings International Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology
Date PublishedApril 26-29, 200
Conference LocationVenture, California
ARIS Log Number188865
Keywordscontrol, livestock, VBS, virtual boundaries
Abstract

Control, in the context of managing free-ranging animals, most assuredly conjures up thoughts of conventional fencing. Substitute the term conventional fencing with Virtual Boundary (VB™) and you are catapulted into the space age where electronic control of innate animal behaviors has been developed into a patented methodology termed Directional Virtual Fencing (DVF™). DVF™ provides a low stress, highly flexible, autonomous method of controlling free-ranging animals. The control of animals behind an invisible barrier originated in the mid 1970’s with small area pet containment systems. However, during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the Global Positioning System (GPS) of navigation satellites deployed by the US military resulted in a key piece of technology for DVF™ animal control. On April 2, 2002, the first observation of a free-ranging beef cow controlled using DVF™ was recorded. Since then the US Department of Agriculture research on the Jornada Experimental Range in New Mexico has established proof-of-concept that free-ranging beef cattle and sheep can be controlled behind a static VB™. Also it was shown that animals could be moved over a landscape in much the same way rotational grazing systems currently move animals, but without the need for conventional fences. Current field trials are focused on optimizing the protocol to gather animals into a corral using a moving VB™. Research continues on miniaturizing the physical size of the DVF™ device worn by the animal and reducing power needed from batteries and solar energy. Once DVF™ is commercialized, it is realistic to envision free-ranging animals as programmable harvesting tools capable of providing prescribed vegetation utilization based on ecological goals while simultaneously providing adequate nutrition for optimum animal production.