A virtual fence keeps the cows within the boundaries of the field. According to research from the University of Tasmania in Australia, they did not experience any negative consequences from this fence. A prototype electronic sponsor from the manufacturer Gallagher was used in the study.
During the study, the results of which were published in the journal Dairy Science, a virtual fence was compared to an electric fence. Cows were given a collar with a tool attached to it that rests on the animal’s neck. The Gallagher E-Shepherd works on the basis of the Global Positioning System (GPS). As soon as the cow approaches the virtual fence, a beep sounds. If the cow went further, the animal would be electrocuted.
Cows quickly get used to the sound signal – they rarely receive an electric shock. But where the standard electric fence kept all the cows, one of the animals would occasionally explode at the hypothetical fence. However, the researchers are satisfied. The cows stayed in the hypothetical fenced area more than 99 percent of the time. It also turns out that the animals are still looking for the edge. They also eat grass along the edges of the lot, even if those boundaries are virtual. So the plot was used and therefore the entire available grass.
Cows are not affected by the default fence. Milk production, survival and standing time of animals, as well as the content of the stress hormone cortisol in milk were equal to that of animals in the control group.
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