Accessible, Low-Cost Virtual-Fencing Combats Climate Change, Aids Farmers

(Photo credit: Jess311 / Getty)

Vast tracts of land have very low productivity because cattle are left on a landscape to fatten up. The practice of rotation, whereby cattle feed for one to two days on a specific area of land, which is then rested for 30 days for the grass to recover, boosts productivity significantly and benefits climate and nature. However, it requires expensive investments in fencing and greater labor to manage.

The Bezos Earth Fund, working with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, supports work developing low-cost virtual livestock fencing that would benefit farmers and animals, improve public health in developing countries and combat climate change. 

Virtual fencing involves equipping animals with wearable, GPS-enabled devices that discourage animals from leaving grazing areas designated by animal managers. Existing technologies, however, are too expensive for most farmers in low-and middle-income countries. 

The conversion of forests for agricultural purposes is a major cause of deforestation. This technology, facilitating the introduction of rotation in cattle ranches across the globe, can take pressure off forests and bring about significant potential benefits to climate and nature by lowering emissions.

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