Rotational grazing when and where you want it without the cost of any permanent fencing is the concept Gallagher has purchased with eShepherd
When traditional fencing comes under threat from virtual fences that no one but animals recognise other than through wearing an etag collar – how would a traditional hardware fence maker react – buy the company of course.
Gallagher has been supplying farmers with fencing products since the early 1930’s so wasn’t prepared to sit back when a tech company called Agersens developed virtual fencing technology that as the name implies, needs no real raw material or backbreaking labour.
If successful, the Agersens fencing system could remove every fence post and piece of wire from across the country, except feral animal fence barriers, for the moment at least.
But of course, the reality of this system is still to be proven. The Agersens fence only appears in virtual reality through an etag interface worn be animals, given an audio warning at first and then a little jolt if they strayed past their allocated fence-line area.
However, it appears this concept presented such massive savings on raw materials that Gallagher decided they had to have it and make it part of the company’s expansion plans for not just Australia, but all its other world markets.
Agersens, the company that developed the eShepherd platform couldn’t get the timing better. The product has appeared at a time when all the establishment money holders are being told that inventions from virtual products to electric powered engines is the new wave to increase wealth.
There is no doubt billions of dollars will be invested in new ventures over the next decade with the appeal of making money as easily as it was back in the early days of oil discoveries. And as it was then, great promise ends with a dry well.
Gallaghers are betting on the promise that eShepherd has shown so far. Paddock testing has shown how the technology will allow producers to allocate a location and restrict movement of stock.
All achieved without any permanent fencing, instead, by a simple web application program, running data through a solar-powered neckband worn by the animal. You only need a base station connected to the internet to control the stock.
But be wary here, animal activists are not happy with the idea of wayward stock that choose to ignore the first audio warning, then being given an electric pulse shock to mend their tardiness. An issue still to be tested.
Putting aside the idea of shocking the stock into submission, Agersens and Gallagher share a future vision where farm automation will rule through data-driven products.
Leading the Agersens team over the past two years is Jason Chaffey who said, “Gallagher’s long and respected history in livestock management, international reach and vision, not only for virtual fencing but for promoting a more efficient, productive and sustainable grazing industry, means it is ideally placed to provide a strong foundation for the future growth of eShepherd.”
“eShepherd is performing well at our test sites across Australia and New Zealand and the acquisition by Gallagher will accelerate growth and development of the product, to move towards providing producers in multiple markets with access to this tool which can genuinely improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of grazing businesses,” Jason added.
Gallagher Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Kahl Betham says the company is delighted to add this new technology to the Gallagher line-up.
“For over 80 years, Gallagher has led the way in the agricultural industry. This acquisition further cements our commitment to investing in new ways of farming that will support customers with smarter, simpler solutions that make farm life easier and more profitable.
“We are thrilled to be adding further talent to the Gallagher family and are excited about what we can achieve together through our combined passion for innovation and customer experience,” Kahl added.
Gallagher first began investing in eShepherd in 2016. The acquisition will be finalised by 21 June 2021 at which time the current Agersens team of around 35 people will transition to Gallagher, under the overall leadership of Lisbeth Jacobs, Global General Manager for Animal Management.
From that time, one of the most exciting product launches in Gallagher’s history will be instigated as the eShepherd fencing solution launches onto the local market later this year.
it is expected that once the eShepherd collar is positioned on your animals, they can be
trained within three to four days using two stimuli.
First, the collar gives the animal a sound warning when it nears the geofence boundary. Secondly, if the animal continues toward the geo-boundary, the collar issues a further small, sharp shock.
It is expected eShepherd will be especially cost-effective for broadacre farming, particularly for running large beef herds just where you want them.
It’s also expected eShepherd will be a great solution for herding animals more efficiently over vast tracts of land. With the collar, you can begin moving the geofencing boundaries closer and closer to the destination yard over several weeks.
See more about eShepherd on the Gallagher website and watch the video here.