Agersens teams up with animal health expert

By: Maddysyn Barthelson

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Agri-tech company Agersens has named animal health expert Dr Cameron Ralph as its new production science manager

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Former deputy director of the Animal Welfare Science Centre, Ralph has been brought in to support the development and rollout of the eShepherd smart collar system.

Aimed to help farmers with livestock, the eShepherd is a GPS-enabled, solar-powered smart collar that contains a CSIRO training program.

Agersens says the program trains the animal to stay within the virtual boundary when it hears an audio signal. If the animal continues in the wrong direction the collar releases a small electric pulse which the livestock quickly learns to respond to (resembling when animals avoid fences using their sense of sight).

Agersens CEO Ian Reilly says animal health and wellbeing is at the core of the company as Dr Ralph joins other experts such as Agersens’ longstanding animal welfare and research scientist Sally Haynes.

"eShepherd is animal-friendly technology, and existing research shows that eShepherd causes no more stress to animals than normal yard handling while revolutionising farm productivity, profitability and sustainability," Reilly says.

"With eShepherd and a smart phone or tablet, you can be sipping a latte in London while mustering your cattle in Cunnamulla."

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The eShepherd collar is also designed to improve safety and lower the risk of injuries and livestock deaths. The ‘virtual boundary’ provided by the eShepherd collar removes the risk of animal entanglement or mustering injuries, leaving farmers with fewer hazards.

"Over time, eShepherd has the potential to gather a major biophysical databank that can provide insights to further drive productivity increases while protecting and improving animal wellbeing. I’m excited by the opportunity to be part of the journey for this revolutionary product," Ralph says.

The Agersens team include engineers, beef and dairy producers, animal behaviour and welfare scientists and business leaders. Global partners include CSIRO, federal governments, Meat and Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia.

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