Testing Virtual Fence Technology in an Upper Midwestern Goat Grazing Operation

Project Overview

FNC21-1306
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $8,910.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: The Munch Bunch LLC
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Allysse Sorensen
The Munch Bunch LLC

Commodities

No commodities identified

Practices

No practices identified

Proposal summary:

A technology is available that could expand regenerative agriculture, help mitigate climate change, and increase food system resilience. The current tools lead to financial, physical, and quality of life sacrifices that significantly limit the biomimicry potential of the most natural management and movement of livestock. A virtual fence system is a device placed on an animal that gives cues to the animal about the allowable perimeter area. These devices can mimic herd movement as natural predators would with wildlife. The device sends a signal to the network about its location and the program sends the device information in response. In its simplest application, graziers can move a herd of animals while sitting at home. The technology has been demonstrated effective in other countries, with thousands in use worldwide. What needs to be tested is our local available technology in our local environment. We will test key issues of labor, containment, and setting with devices on 30 goats, one of the most challenging species from a containment perspective. When the technology is established it replaces physical fences, reduces labor, and leads to revolutionary advances in rotational grazing, targeted grazing, silvopasture, firebreaks, and improved soil retention and water quality on non-arable land.

Project objectives from proposal:

Overall long-term objectives:
1. Evaluate the feasibility of a virtual fence to contain goats and other livestock in rotational grazing, targeted grazing, and silvopasture applications.
2. Explore the financial sustainability of the technology as compared to current technologies.
3. Educate other farmers to help them establish virtual fence systems.  
 
Objectives for this grant:
1. Test collars on 30 goats for 300 days in changing weather conditions and paddock areas. 
2. Compare data of successful and unsuccessful containment circumstances in virtual fences and portable net fences.
3. Record time and labor associated with virtual fences and portable net fences. 
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.