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Talkin Soil Health Conference – Applying Virtual Fencing Technology with Rick Llewellyn

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Sustainable Agriculture

Methods of land management are changing on farms with livestock. Part of this change requires more flexibility with the method of fencing in livestock, being able to keep livestock in or out of areas at different times of the year. This can be very costly and time consuming with traditional methods of farming and increased paddock sizes on grain growing farms adds another challenge for grazing management on mixed farms.

Dr Rick Llewellyn, a Senior Principal Research Scientist (agricultural systems) and Research Group Leader for CSIRO will be speaking about his current –work on applying virtual fencing technology, at Talkin’ Soil Health in August at York. The technology uses automated GPS-enabled, solar-powered devices to livestock to stay within a virtually fenced boundary using audio cues. Initial commercial devices are designed for cattle, but the GRDC and AWI supported project is also testing how it might be applied with sheep in mixed farming systems. The work involves five trials by The CSIRO team and growers across southern Australia including a dual-purpose crop grazing trial with cattle and sheep grazing trials being conducted in 2022.

“One of the many attractions for growers is the potential for targeted grazing to more effectively manage grazing pressure in large paddocks, including avoiding erosion on vulnerable areas and targeting weed populations or frosted areas,” Dr Llewellyn says.

The virtual fencing technology has also been trialled to protect fragile and environmentally sensitive farm areas.

“In a 40 day trial we successfully used virtual fencing to prevent cattle grazing from a watercourse area containing regenerating saplings – there are a lot of possibilities but there’s also a lot to learn from on-farm trials about the best way to make use of this technology when it becomes available.”

Rick Llewellyn is a Senior Principal Research Scientist (agricultural systems) and Research Group Leader for CSIRO and is based at the Waite Campus in Adelaide. Rick’s research bridges farming systems field research, weed and herbicide resistance management, strategies for technology adoption and agricultural economics. A focus of his research is on the cropping and mixed farming regions of Australia where he leads several projects aimed at developing improved farming systems.  He holds an adjunct position at UWA where he lectured in agricultural systems and worked with the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative before joining CSIRO in 2005.

Find out more about our Talkin’ Soil Health event or reserve your ticket here.

This project is supported by FRRR, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund & National Landcare Program.

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