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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #396802

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Training beef cattle to use virtual fence systems

Author
item NYAMURYEKUNG'E, SHELEMIA - New Mexico State University
item COX, ANDREW - New Mexico State University
item PEREA, A. - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item CIBILS, ANRES - New Mexico State University
item HOLLAND, J. - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College
item WATERHOUSE, TONY - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College
item DUFF, GLENN - New Mexico State University
item FUNK, M. - New Mexico State University
item ANEY, SKYE - New Mexico State University
item MCINTOSH, MATTHEW - New Mexico State University
item Spiegal, Sheri
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item UTSUMI, S - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/3/2022
Publication Date: 8/3/2022
Citation: Nyamuryekung'E, S., Cox, A., Perea, A., Estell, R.E., Cibils, A., Holland, J., Waterhouse, T., Duff, G., Funk, M., Aney, S., McIntosh, M.M., Spiegal, S.A., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Utsumi, S.A. 2022. Training beef cattle to use virtual fence systems. Meeting Abstract. Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Virtual fencing (VF) is an alternative method to control livestock dispersal. This method consists of the use of animal wearable collars that employ auditory-electric pulse cues to deter animals from trespassing a virtually determined fence boundary. Despite VF suggesting promising applications for Precision Livestock Farming, there is limited information on best practices to train groups of cattle to VF configurations effectively. Eleven Brangus cows of the New Mexico State University’s Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center were allocated three days to feeding areas (0.19 ha) treated with or without VF exclusions. The process was repeated for two periods (1 vs. 2), lasting six days each. The VF collars communicated real-time animal positions and activity at 15-minute and 30-minute intervals. Treatment effects of study (with vs. without VF-exclusion), period, and its interaction were analyzed via an ANOVA to compare auditory-electric pulses emitted during the deployment. The number of auditory-electric pulses per cow differed (P < 0.001) due to a study by period interaction. Exposure to VF in period 1 triggered a greater (P <0.003) frequency of auditory (3.3 vs. 0.7 ±0.3) and pulses (1.3 vs. 0.1 ±0.1) per cow than in period 2. Activation of VF reduced differently (P =0.05) the time spent on excluded areas in period 1 (7.8 vs. 1.7 ±0.4 h) and period 2 (4.8 vs. 0.0 ±0.4 h) due to treatment by period interaction. Results indicate that cows adjusted rapidly to VF configurations by minimizing the frequency of pulses and relying increasingly on auditory to alter behavior.