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Government support for virtual fencing



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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan AO MP

117 MURPHY STREET, WANGARATTA, VIC 3677 OFFICE: (03) 5721 7077 TOLL FREE: 1300 131 791 FAX: (03) 5721 7066

EMAIL: cathy.mcgowan.mp@aph.gov.au WEBSITE: www.cathymcgowan.com.au

July 19, 2016

Government support for virtual fencing

Improved internet coverage in rural Australia will open up new opportunities for farmers to utilise the latest technologies. Independent member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed the Dairy Australia partnership with Agersens Pty Ltd to help develop virtual herding technology.

Ms McGowan said Agersens made a presentation to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry Ag Innovation Inquiry during the last Parliament. Ms McGowan also met with Agersens managing director Ian Reilly in May this year to discuss the eShepherd (collar) technology and virtual paddocks. The collar links to a phone app through Wi-Fi and buzzes when cattle wearing the collar wander outside of the grazing zone.

“This research will be conducted to manage individual grazing animals for better land management outcomes and increased profitability,” she said.

Ms McGowan said virtual herding technology would allow farmers to manage grazing without the cost of fencing.

The technology also has the support of catchment management authorities in Indi, due to the benefits it would be bring to natural resource management and protection of riparian environments.

“This is a great example environmental agencies and farmers coming together to reduce cost of production while managing environmentally sensitive areas,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms McGowan congratulated Agersens on the development of this technology and looks forward to seeing additional agri-innovations developing in the future, beyond the dairy industry.

“As the rollout of the NBN progresses in rural areas, more opportunities to develop and use agri-innovations will be available to Indi farmers and land managers,” she said.

According to statistics from the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project, the Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria supports about 190 dairy farms with an average herd size of 210 milking cows, supplying around 1.2 million litres per farm.

Dairy Australia will receive $2.6 million for under the Department of Agriculture and Water ‘Rural R&D for profit’ program for the four-year virtual herding project. Tasmanian Institute of Ag, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne and the University of New England are also partnering in the project.