US trials for Aussie smart collars

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A third American university will work with Australian agricultural technology company Agersens on developing their smart collar technology

US trials for Aussie smart collars
The smart collar will be trialled at Ohio State University.


Ohio State University will trial the smart livestock collar system developed by Melbourne-based Agersens after the groups signed a memorandum of understanding last month.

The eShepherd smart collar is designed for cattle producers to fit to livestock, enabling them to remotely fence, muster and monitor their livestock around the clock by using mapping software and an audio cue to create virtual boundaries on specific points on a property.

This latest MoU comes on the heels of similar deals struck with the University of Idaho and Kansas State University last year, as well as an extended collaboration agreement with the CSIRO formalised last November.

It comes after the company ran trials on the collar on a demonstration farm in Queensland last year – check out our story here.

The Ohio State trial will determine the efficacy and economics of the eShepherd system for US conditions, Agersens chief executive Ian Reilly says, adding that it and other land-grant universities played a role in the US similar to that of state government agriculture departments and Research and Development Corporations in Australia.

"Farmers in Ohio understand that improved grazing control creates more productive, profitable properties and are eager to adopt technologies that enable controlled grazing without the associated time constraints and labour costs," he says.

 "Ohio State will be seeking to add eShepherd to their kit of extension service technologies that can help farmers increase their efficiency and maximise productivity."

"Agersens anticipates the US will be a very significant potential market for eShepherd. There are potentially more than 50 million cattle in our addressable market in the US alone," he told TradeFarmMachinery.

John Foltz, the chair of Animal Sciences at Ohio State, says he hopes to use the eShepherd technology in a number of research projects to better understand its potential as a livestock management tool.

"It appears to have some very unique capabilities and also generates large amounts of precision livestock data, which will be valuable to our research scientists," he says.

One of those scientists is Animal Sciences associate chair Anthony Parker, who says the ability of the GPS-enabled collars to monitor and move the herd in real time appealed to him.

"The technology has many practical applications for cattle producers in Ohio from avoiding riparian, protected or overgrazed areas to moving cattle over a landscape to ensure an even grazing pressure," he says.

"The e-Shepherd technology fits within existing research being undertaken at The Jackson Agricultural Research Station and the Eastern Agricultural Research Station with global positioning systems to better understand cattle behaviour."

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