Momentum is building for the Aussie company driving commercialisation of CSIRO’s virtual boundary technology.
AgTech startup Agersens has an initial strategic investor for its GPS-controlled cattle collar, dubbed eShepherd, and secured a spot at the National Farmers Federation’s SproutEx development accelerator in Melbourne, while a range of company and industry farm trials are in progress.
The pitch? “To provide a tool for farmers to automate grazing of livestock so they can increase productivity and profitability,” says Agersens founder and managing director Ian Reilly.
The product, patented from CSIRO’s experimental designs, is billed as a training program that habituates livestock to virtual boundaries – guided by audio cues and electrical pulse – operated through a smartphone, the collars on the animals are linked to a hub at an internet-connected homestead.
Mr Reilly, an engineer and product designer who grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in Victoria, spent 30 years working in aerospace, defence and medical sectors before he twigged to the idea of a cattle collar when he visited his dad’s Queensland property.
Animal welfare, environmental benefits and the bottom line all roll in to the Agersens package, he said.
Fenceless paddocks are the cheapest, best way to protect sensitive riverbanks and watercourses and the collars “can automate alerts to sick animals” as well as to redraw fence lines immediately, and for free.
Mr Reilly aims to get Agersens on the market next year. Next week, he will be at the investor pitchfest Tech23 in Sydney.
Dairy Australia secured $2.6 million government funding to trial the product for four years in conjunction with Rural Development Corporations.