Submitted to: International Rangeland Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 21, 2007
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Citation: Anderson, D.M. 2008. Husbandry of free-ranging cows using virtual fencing concepts. In: Proceedings Multifunctional Grasslands in a Changing World. XXI International Grassland Congress, VIII International Rangeland Congress. June 30-July 5, 2008, Hohhot, China. p. 660. Technical Abstract: A directional virtual fencing (DVF™) system approach employing 1 Hz GPS data acquisition and using audio cuing only was successfully used to gather mature free-ranging beef cattle from a 466 ha arid brush infested rangeland paddock into a corral in which drinking water was located . Gathering was conducted during five random morning and five random afternoon times over a two week period not corresponding to when the cattle would normally enter the corral. Their normal time to enter the corral was determined by a one week pre-trial for each group during which time the animal's normal time to enter the corral was recorded. The audio cues consisted of a human voice and those sounds coming from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that had previously been recorded during one of the manual gathering/training sessions. The treated cattle had previously been habituated to being gathered by a technician riding an ATV and once the cows arrived at the corral they were given a small amount of protein supplement and immediate access to drinking water. In contrast, a similar group of cattle not accustomed to being gathered using this protocol but trained to wear the electronic equipment package as well as eat protein supplement were subjected to autonomous gathering. This study demonstrated the feasibility of using electronic equipment together with a food reward in order to autonomously gather free-ranging cows.