Agersens managing director Ian Reilly with an eShepherd collar.

Virtual fence gains real ground | Video

VIRTUAL fencing is a step closer towards becoming a commercial reality following of a new partnership between Melbourne-based agri-tech startup Agersens and New Zealand based international agricultural company Gallagher.

Gallagher has taken an undisclosed stake in Agersens, which is commercialising groundbreaking patented technology developed by the CSIRO that enables farmers to ‘fence’, move, muster and monitor their livestock remotely.

Dairy Australia was also recently awarded $2.6 million in Federal Government funding to lead a four-year industry testing program into Agersens’ virtual fencing system, eShepherd.

eShepherd works by enabling farmers to create a virtual fence via an app that communicates with a collar worn by each animal. Animals are trained to respond to prompts provided by the collar, which can also collect and communicate data to help alert farmers to any health or production issues.

By automating the control of livestock grazing, virtual fencing has the potential to improve animal health and welfare, while increasing productivity and profitability by cutting labour, fencing and other input costs.

Agersens managing director Ian Reilly said partnership with Gallagher represented a significant step forward on eShepherd’s journey to market and welcomed Gallagher global marketing manager Mark Harris to Agersens’ board of directors.

“Gallagher’s commitment to Agersens creates new opportunities for both companies as we work together to realise the benefits of this exciting new technology, which has potential export markets in cattle-producing nations worldwide,” Mr Reilly said.