Using Precision Livestock Technology to Pinpoint Ranch Success
Virtual fencing technology can reduce ranch volatility
The cattle industry’s volatility continues to be driven by drought, grain and trade markets and more. To help reduce this volatility and fuel the success of cow-calf operations across the United States, precision livestock technology management comes to the forefront.
Virtual fencing is a technology that uses collars that communicate with GPS and connection towers to allow ranchers to form virtual boundaries for cattle to stay within. Here’s some ways it can help reduce the volatility.
1. Rangeland productivity and health is increased through targeted grazing
Targeted grazing uses livestock to meet the goals of vegetation management by the rancher. Virtual fence can be used to create strategic boundaries to achieve these goals. For example, if there are too many established plants, the rancher can increase the carrying capacity of that specific area to help lower the abundance of them. In the same way, unwanted plants, like invasive annuals, can be strategically grazed to manage their prevalence over favorable perennial species.
2. Reduces reliance on labor
Virtual fencing creates a way to remotely move cattle, requiring less manual labor. Cattle location can also be seen in real-time. This means that animals can be checked less during the calving off-season as ranchers can access the exact GPS coordinates of the cattle 24/7.
3. Carrying capacity of livestock can be increased
Cattle are contained in perimeters of permanent fencing. Virtual fencing can assist in creating cross-fencing within those perimeters to precisely contain animals in areas that need grazed. By strategically managing livestock density, time on the area, and the intensity of their grazing, carrying capacity can be increased. Not only can ranchers sustain more cattle, but they can also do it in a way that ensures cattle get the proper nutrients.
4. Cattle are healthier
All that talk about rangeland health through targeting grazing pays off here. The healthier the forages are that the cattle eat, the healthier they become through consuming those forages. Heightening the weaning weight of calves is currently being looked at as an outcome due to their ability to graze higher quality forages that they might not have without virtual fence boundaries. Aside from forages, cattle can be healthier through the increase in disease prevention through deliberately moving them.
5. Ranchers have another decision-making tool in their toolbox
Ranchers must make decisions on how and when to rotate cattle, how many cattle to put in each area and which areas are overgrazed or undergrazed. With Corral Technologies virtual fence collars, ranchers can see pasture utilization in real-time through pasture utilization heat maps. These maps quantify the grazing intensity of the cattle, while also assisting in forecasting acreage and rangeland health needs.
Through using precision livestock management technology like virtual fencing, ranchers can increase rangeland productivity, carrying capacity and cattle health, while decreasing labor costs.