Virtual fencing systems: balancing production and welfare outcomes

Tony Waterhouse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Virtual fencing systems are having rapid commercial uptake. A geographical navigation satellite system (GNSS)-locating collar provides sound warning alerts to each animal when in close proximity to virtual fencelines set on the stock manager's app. These are followed by an electric shock if the animal proceeds forward, but no further shock/warnings when reversing or turning away. Many research reports show that through associative learning, the livestock quickly understand the system and adapt to virtual paddocks with low numbers of electric shocks. Escapees usually return to the main group quickly. Practical applications for extensive systems include keeping stock away from danger areas which would be difficult or expensive to fence. Combining physical inspections, more easily achieved through live locations, with virtual inspections offers opportunities to improve stock management, though there are risks that the number of physical inspections may decrease. Highly flexible and rapidly modified grassland management, together with other combined sensors for health and reproduction, provide opportunities for further farm management gains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Early online date2 Sept 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 2 Sept 2023


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