Virtual fencing trials hit real red tape snag

Virtual fencing technology could save millions in lost fencing from fire and floods


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Virtual fencing trials could see the development of technology that could be the answer for cropping farmers to return to running livestock without having to reinstall costly fencing infrastructure.

The Victorian company that has developed virtual fencing technology is battling to get permission to trial the product in Victoria.

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The barrier remains state regulations that do not allow the use of “shock devices”.

In March, the Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford told parliament she had referred the issue to the State’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee for advice.

Agersens managing director Ian Reilly said the company was working with the Department which had appointed an animal welfare officer to work on the case and the company was providing extra information about the technology.

“But there is no timetable for change to the regulations,” Mr Reilly said.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said virtual fencing technology was being tested and developed now, but Victorian businesses were at a disadvantage because the Labor Government refused to support it.

“Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford must stop acting as a roadblock to research and development in agriculture and make the necessary changes to allow Victorian innovators to test their technology in Victoria,” Minister Walsh said.

A spokesperson said the State Government was currently working with Agersens as it developed virtual fencing technology for livestock.

“Our Government is committed to getting on with the application of digital technology in agriculture,” the spokesperson said.

“Our farmers deserve the very best tools to get the job done and digital innovation is at the heart of this – we’re proud to play our part in making this a reality.

“It’s why we recently announced $15 million to enhance agricultural technology on farm. 

“The funding can be used for a range of digital innovations including the implementation of robotics on farm, wireless technology, biotechnology adoption and indeed - virtual fencing.”

Mr Reilly said the technology was originally developed and funded in Victoria to keep cattle off streams and waterways and improve the sustainability of livestock enterprises.

Virtual fencing in catchments would potentially eliminate losses of traditional fencing to fires and floods.

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