Page 11 - MWC 08-5-2021s
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The Midwest Cattleman · August 5, 2021 · P11
         Researchers deploy virtual fencing technology to improve

         grazing and water quality

                 By Gail Ellis OSU Agricultural Communications Services
         Oklahoma State Universi- ect’s principal investigator
      ty researchers have received  and director of the Oklahoma
      funding  from  the  Environ- Water Resources Center.
      mental Protection Agency to           Compared with tradition-
      examine how virtual fencing  al or electric fencing, virtual
      technology could improve the  fencing requires less labor,
      water quality and ecosys- time and maintenance while
      tems of cattle grazing lands.  increasing  flexibility. The
         The new EPA grant to- web-based, mobile fencing
      taling more than $800,000  system can be added, moved
      supports research on how  or removed in a matter of
      GPS-enabled collars worn by  hours.                                   The study involves cattle wearing GPS-based collars that are tracked on a web portal
                                                                            and programmed with virtual fencing boundaries. 
      cattle can help producers not         Wagner and other facul-
      only better manage grazing,  ty  from OSU  Ag  Research  laboration  with Vence. The  streams in Oklahoma,” Wag-
      but also improve water quali- including Laura Goodman,  company is a startup based  ner said. “Our objective is to
      ty and other natural resourc- range Extension specialist;  in San Diego, California, and  provide cattle producers with
      es, such as wildlife habitat  Ali Mirchi, assistant profes- one of only three companies  new tools that they can use
      and soil health.                   sor  of water resources en- in the world developing the  to improve the management
         “It’s the same concept  gineering; Bryan Murray,  emerging technology.                               of grazing on their ranches.
      as collars for your pets but  assistant professor of forest             “The latest Water Quality  This will not only improve
      tracked on a web portal  ecology and geospatial tech- report from the Oklahoma  the quality of their grazing
      where you can pull up a map  nology; and Ryan Reuter,  Department of Environmen- lands and cattle production
      of your ranch and designate  associate professor of range  tal Quality (2018) shows poor  but also water quality as
      the areas where you do and  beef cattle nutrition have  grazing practices are impact- ground cover improves and
      don’t want cattle to graze,”  spent the past year gather- ing  thousands of  acres of
      said Kevin Wagner, the proj- ing preliminary data in col- lakes and miles of rivers and                               continued on page 19


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