Managing stocking density in real-time

TitleManaging stocking density in real-time
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsAnderson D.M., Hale C.S., Libeau R., Nolen B.
Conference NameProceedings of the VIIth International Rangeland Congress
Date PublishedJuly 26-August 1
Conference LocationDurban, South Africa
ARIS Log Number139150

Individual prescription animal management will soon be possible by combining electronics and animal behavior. Once a proper stocking rate has been established, controlling stocking density and ultimately forage utilization is a manager's second biggest challenge. Of the multifaceted tools and techniques used to alter animal distribution, none offer the unique possibilities of Virtual Fencing (VF). VF combines Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and electro-mechanically produced bilateral cues in a new paradigm to control free-ranging animal location and direction of movement in a humane and reproducible manner in real-time. The only ground-based hardware is the device worn by the animal in which a central processing unit (CPU) uses Radio Frequency (RF) signals captured from GPS satellites to determine the animal's location. Geographically referenced virtual boundaries (VB) programmed into the unit's Geographic Information System (GIS) are combined with the GPS data to determine when a VB has been penetrated and at what angle. When this occurs, algorithms in the CPU determine to which side of the animal the fail-safe programmable repertoire of cues, having a range of intensities, is to be applied to encourage the animal to move away from the VB using the least intense cues and shortest route possible. Programming the VB to move or surround individual animals, allows dispersal or gathering of animals autonomously. Proof-of-concept has been established using a neck saddle prototype. Equipment designs, attachment locations, heart rate changes arising from cuing and the use of individual electronic animal identification and cellular communication technologies with VF will be covered.