Subprogram 1: Optimising the animal response to virtual herding technology. 

CSIRO will conduct controlled experiments to:

  • Determine how cattle respond to moving and complex virtual fences.
  • Optimise be the cues and controls necessary for the most efficient operation of VH technology to restrict animals.
  • Determine how to encourage cattle to move from one location to another using VH technology.
  • Determine the capacity to control individual animals within herds.
  • Document the welfare assessment of the application of VH technology in cattle.

Subprogram 2: Determine best livestock and pasture management for intensive dairy and beef through more controlled pasture allocation

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture will conduct field studies to:

  • Quantify how VH may be applied to increase pasture utilisation through more regular and more tightly controlled stock movements.
  • Quantify how VH can be applied to face management of forage crops.
  • Quantify how VH can be applied to rotational grazing on heifer rearing blocks.
  • Quantify how VH can be applied to modifying paddock layout through non-linear and moving VH fencelines, for the dairy and beef industries.
  • Establish and document agreed protocols for use of VF to increase pasture utilisation through more controlled pasture and forage allocation.

Subprogram 3: Determine best sub-herd and individual animal management for dairy and beef.

University of Sydney will conduct field experiments to:

  • Quantify how VH cues can be customised and used to control individual cow movement within a herd to improve animal performance and welfare.
  • Determine how VH can be applied to control individual or sub-herd cattle location and movement.
  • Enhance cow movement to and from the dairy within automatic and conventional milking systems.
  • Optimise the VH system to control cattle location and movement in specific situations to optimise individual feeding and to restrict cattle from environmentally sensitive areas for dairy and beef systems.

Subprogram 4: Identify opportunities for labour savings through the application of VH in sheep wool and meat enterprises.

CSIRO and University of New England will conduct fundamental research to:

  • Determine the appropriate level and duration of electrical stimulation and audio cues to sheep to enable sufficient control.
  • Determine the individual variation and group dynamics in sheep subjected to VH technology.
  • Determine the effectiveness of VH technology to restrict movement of sheep to improve pasture utilisation.
  • Determine the effectiveness of VH technology to encourage movement of sheep in practices such as mustering.
  • Define and document the adoption pathway(s) for implementation of VH technology in the livestock industries.

Subprogram 5: Identify considerations and challenges for integration and adoption of VH.

The University of Melbourne will conduct workshops and case studies to:

  • Identify key considerations for adoption of VH technology for the farmer and advisor sectors of each of the livestock industries.
  • Identify challenges for integration on-farm, to assess costs and benefits and the value of on-farm VH technology to different stakeholders.
  • Develop a coordinated plan across the livestock industries to realise benefits and address identified challenges.