Authors: Rick Llewellyn1, Danila Marini1, Caroline Lee1, Sue Belson1, Michael Moodie2, Marta Monjardino1, Jackie Ouzman1, Damian Mowat1
1CSIRO Agriculture & Food Waite Campus, 2Mallee Sustainable Farming
Funded By: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Project Title: Targeted sheep grazing technology
- The first on-farm field trial applying virtual fencing to sheep showed that grazing can be successfully managed using virtual fencing methods, with the sheep showing promising learning ability.
- Based just on the benefits from avoiding the need to remove livestock from an entire paddock when just one soil or zone incurs excessive groundcover loss and erosion risk, spatial grazing in a typical Mallee crop-livestock system has the potential to increase the relative profitability of livestock and increase Mallee farm profit by 15% (excluding the cost of the technology). Other potential benefits include improved general improvements in feed utilisation, labour saving, targeted grazing for weed management purposes, and managing pasture establishment.
- The results offer encouragement for the ongoing pursuit of cost-effective virtual fencing technology for sheep.
- Due to wool and animal size differences with sheep, the use of collars may not be a long-term solution for commercial devices so technical development of other platforms such as ear tags is likely to be required.