High tech collars fitted to sheep could be the next frontier when it comes to controlling the spread of weeds, with the CSIRO receiving almost $300,000 from the Australian Government to research and develop a ‘virtual fence’ system for farms.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the project was part of the government’s $50 million investment over four years in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, helping farmers and their communities to better manage established pest animals and weeds.
“The CSIRO will receive $299,314 to accelerate development of a ‘virtual fence’ system for weed control using sheep,” Minister Joyce said.
“Grazing management is a proven tool for reducing the impact of common weeds on agricultural production and ecosystems. However it only works if farmers can target the right area in a paddock at the right time.
“With this technology the sheep wear collars which contain them in a ‘virtual fence’ area, which is set by the farmer.
“If the trials show real potential, this project could significantly increase the area of Australia that can benefit from virtual fence technology.”
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton welcomed the government’s action on pests and weeds.
“Every year pest animals and weeds cost our farmers about $4 billion through control tools and lost production,” Mr Coulton said.
“We want our farmers and land managers to be ahead of the game.
“Improving and finding new ways to manage pest animals and weeds and ensuring people can access those tools as soon as possible is critical to driving greater returns through the farmgate.”
To find out more about established pest animals and weeds funding, visit agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds. To find out more about the Ag White Paper’s key measures visit http://agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au/