GPS Cows and Virtual Fences Become Future of Farming

Cow equipped with a collar-mounted GPS device (Dave Ganskoop/USDA ARS).

Conventional fencing can be restrictive and not allow for flexibility most ranchers need. That is why one USDA researcher is aiming to do away with traditional fencing for an invisible, high-tech version. Dean M. Anderson wants to make the land of the free, free again by helping producers easily move livestock to fruitful pasture throughout the season by using virtual fencing. You can see that, with conventional fencing, you might have your cows way over on the western perimeter of your land, while the rainfall takes place along the other edge,” said Anderson. “In two weeks, where that rain has fallen, we are going to have a flush of annuals coming up, which would provide high-quality nutrition. But, if you have the animals clear over three pastures away, then you’ve got to monitor the rainfall-related growth, and you’ve got to get labor to help round those animals up and move them over to this new location.”  Livestock would be equipped with GPS devices that could move them from one section to another and keep them within the boundaries. Read more (The Atlantic).

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