Virtual fencing applications : Implementing and testing an automated cattle control system

Bishop-Hurley, Greg, Swain, Dave, Anderson, D. M, Sikka, Pavan, Crossman, Chris, & Corke, Peter (2007) Virtual fencing applications : Implementing and testing an automated cattle control system. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 56(1), pp. 14-22.

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Managing livestock movement in extensive systems has environmental and production benefits. Currently permanent wire fencing is used to control cattle; this is both expensive and inflexible. Cattle are known to respond to auditory and visual cues and we investigated whether these can be used to manipulate their behaviour. Twenty-five Belmont Red steers with a mean live weight of 270kg were each randomly assigned to one of five treatments. Treatments consisted of a combination of cues (audio, tactile and visual stimuli) and consequence (electrical stimulation). The treatments were electrical stimulation alone, audio plus electrical stimulation, vibration plus electrical stimulation, light plus electrical stimulation and electrified electric fence (6kV) plus electrical stimulation. Cue stimuli were administered for 3s followed immediately by electrical stimulation (consequence) of 1kV for 1s. The experiment tested the operational efficacy of an on-animal control or virtual fencing system. A collar-halter device was designed to carry the electronics, batteries and equipment providing the stimuli, including audio, vibration, light and electrical of a prototype virtual fencing device. Cattle were allowed to travel along a 40m alley to a group of peers and feed while their rate of travel and response to the stimuli were recorded. The prototype virtual fencing system was successful in modifying the behaviour of the cattle. The rate of travel of cattle along the alley demonstrated the large variability in behavioural response associated with tactile, visual and audible cues. The experiment demonstrated virtual fencing has potential for controlling cattle in extensive grazing systems. However, larger numbers of cattle need to be tested to derive a better understanding of the behavioural variance. Further controlled experimental work is also necessary to quantify the interaction between cues, consequences and cattle learning.

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29 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 33796
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Animal behaviour, Wireless sensor network, Prototype virtual fencing device, Fencing, Sensory stimuli, Free-ranging cattle
DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2006.12.003
ISSN: 0168-1699
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (090600)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Elsevier
Deposited On: 02 Sep 2010 04:34
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:11

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