ARGERSENS are running virtual rings around the competition with the official commercial launch of the e-Shepherd at Beef 2018.
Launched by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Tim Fischer AC, the eShepherd is a GPS enabled, solar powered smart collar system which enables producers to ‘virtually’ fence and monitor their cattle.
Mr Fischer said the collar, developed by Agersens using CSIRO research, was an example of future technologies the world needed.
“As the world deals with creeping urbanisation taking out land acreage in significant amounts,” he said.
“As the world wrestles with climate change.
“As we have less agricultural land, we need to get more out of that land.”
Mr Fischer said precision agriculture and enabling technologies, such as the eShepherd, was the best way to respond.
To mark the milestone, the first commercial collar produced was donated by Agersens to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
Agersens, chief executive officer, Ian Reilly, said the virtual fence would revolutionise producers’ profitability, productivity and sustainability.
“It’s fitting that Tim Fischer, a respected national leader, technologist, producer and promoter of Australian innovation has unveiled it here,” he said.
Mr Reilly said the CSIRO began work on the training program and technology in 2004, with Agersens becoming involved in 2012.
“It’s a real milestone for us today, a chance to celebrate launching the world’s first virtual fencing,” he said.
“We will gradually be rolling out the system in Queensland initially.
“Then in various places around the world.”
Mr Reilly said a collar cost between $100 and $250, depending on volume, and an annual subscription worth about $1000 a year would be required to access the software and the database.
“Essentially a producer will get a return by being able to maximise pasture usage,” he said.
“A 15 or 20 per cent increase in stocking rate would cover the cost of the system quite quickly.
“There is also, on the large rangeland properties, an opportunity to automate mustering.
“Make it nice and slow, reduce the need for aircraft, reduce accidents, reduce animal injuries.
“This would cut down the cost quite substantially.”