Oklahoma State University (OSU) is the recipient of a $1.4 million grant from the USDA to take its virtual fencing technology to the next step later this year. OSU researchers have been looking at how managed grazing with virtual fencing improve grazing distribution, pasture biodiversity and productivity, and wildlife and pollinator habitat. OSU Department of Animal and Food Sciences researchers spent last year studying cattle grazing patterns through GPS-enabled collars from an initial $800,000 EPA grant. With the technology, producers can see where the cattle are and manage where they graze with the collars, as they emit two states of auditory cues before a final prompt of an electrical stimulus.
The next phase of research with the new grant funding begins this fall and will allow the scientists to use the collars to manage the grazing patterns of a herd. Other benefits of electric fencing include allowing producers to save the time, labor and expenses required to install fences. Virtual fencing could also allow grazing on land where it is otherwise difficult to build fencing, allowing producers to know precisely where their cattle are at any time.
Researchers shared that virtual fencing could go commercial within three years.
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