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New eShepherd™ software schedules shifting mobs' and safeguards livestock

Monday, 06 May, 2024

eShepherd new features article

Remote herd management has taken a leap forward with eShepherd’s new Scheduled Move feature helping farmers be hands off, freeing up their time spent shifting feed breaks and moving mobs. eShepherd is Gallagher’s pioneering virtual fencing solution that uses neckbands to train cattle to remain within a virtual fencing barrier. It allows farmers to move and contain livestock anywhere on their farm, directly from their laptop or phone.

Director of eShepherd Sales and Commercialisation, Sharl Liebergreen, says eShepherd’s newest features allow farmers to be hands off when it comes to shifting their herds giving them greater flexibility and freeing up their valuable time. “The eShepherd team has been working hard on two new features. Scheduled Move and Panic Detection. Both these features further enhance farmers’ ability to remotely manage their herds with precision and care,” says Sharl.

Scheduled Move allows farmers to streamline the process of rotational grazing, automating the process of shifting their herds from one virtual break to another. During our ongoing customer research, the ability to pre-schedule virtual fencing and cattle moves was the most requested feature from farmers, says Sharl. That insight was evident across all global regions and has been a driving force in our prioritising our product roadmap, he says. “Farmers can now simply input a series of virtual paddocks into the system and schedule when they want the herd to move. The eShepherd system takes care of the rest, ensuring that mobs are moved seamlessly and efficiently.” says Sharl.

The feature will also help to intensify grazing to improve pasture use, says Sharl. Some farmers have told us that they can raise their pasture use from around 50% to 90% with the use of rotational grazing on hill country or large range lands through virtual fencing. eShepherd is all about getting more out of the pasture that farmers already have, he says. With Scheduled Move a farmer can set up a series of virtual fencing moves, slowly releasing more pasture to cattle over time without the need for them to go back online and constantly move each virtual break, says Sharl.

He says the feature will be particularly useful for cattle operations in New Zealand and large ranches and stations across America and Australia. “For example, ranching in America uses big paddocks. This feature will allow ranchers to break up those paddocks and rotate animals through them in a way that they've never been able to do before,” says Sharl. While Scheduled Move saves farmers time and offers a proactive approach to herd management, the Panic Detection feature addresses the need for reactive measures and ensures animal welfare in potentially dangerous bolting situations, says Sharl.

eShepherd’s Panic Detection has been developed in collaboration with animal welfare groups and is particularly relevant for farmers in regions with predatory threats such as coyotes, wolves, or bears, which are prevalent in Gallagher’s American and Canadian markets.
When a herd member exhibits signs of distress or panic, such as bolting towards the virtual fence line, the system detects this behavior and temporarily disables the virtual barrier. This allows the animal to flee from the perceived threat without receiving any audio tones or stimuli to encourage it to return within the virtual fence.

“Once eShepherd detects the threat has gone and the animal is settled it will gently return the animal back to the main herd using a series of audio tones and if needed stimuli. With appropriate training, animals respond well to the audio tones within days of wearing the neckbands and the stimuli are not often needed,” says Sharl. Provided the animal is staying still or heading back to the virtual paddock then no stimulus is applied, says Sharl. “They are heading in the right direction.”

He says these two new innovative software features underscore eShepherd's commitment to animal welfare and supporting farmers to create precision herd management, the most effective use of their pasture and efficient use of their time. “By harnessing the power of technology, eShepherd is helping farmers free up time, optimise their grazing, mitigate risks, and ensure the well-being of their livestock with greater ease and precision,” says Sharl.

To learn more and sign up for eShepherd virtual fencing - click here.