Why would you want to virtually fence and guide your cows?

Because the Collie collar communicates with the cow through beeps and vibrations, you no longer need to put wires or drive the cows manually. You can create a virtual fence with Collie very accurately and without any effort. This allows efficient grazing, prevents trampling and protects meadow birds.It saves the farmer a lot of time compared to physical fencing and cows can be grazed for longer times. In addition, you also save a lot of time because you no longer have to fetch the cow manually. The system has all the time and therefore also gives the cow all the time to walk to the barn in a calm manner, without time pressure and stress. Because of our system, the cow is out in the field more, eats more fresh grass and is healthier.

What is virtual fencing?

Virtual fencing means grazing without electric wire. Through location determination (GPS), compass and communication via a collar, the cow knows where the virtual fence is and stays within the assigned area.

For what could you use the Collie collar?

• Always grazing cows on other designated areas.
• Efficient and effective grazing.
• Protection of meadow bird nests.
• Prevention of trampling (ditch edges, wet spots).
• Longer grazing (due to less trampling).
• Escorting cows to the barn or milking robot.
• Monitoring animal health.

How does virtual fencing and cow guidance contribute to biodiversity?

Because you can protect vulnerable areas and meadow bird nests. Furthermore, the grazing period can be extended. Manure flattens and grazing have a positive effect on meadow birds and biodiversity

How does virtual fencing and cow guidance contribute to climate mitigation?

A cow out in the field emits less nitrogen than a cow inside the barn. In addition, especially in peat meadow areas, you should keep the groundwater level high to prevent peat degradation. This can cause wet spots in the land and vulnerable ditch edges. Because you can virtually fence off these spots, grazing remains possible even at high groundwater levels (less greenhouse gases).

How does virtual fencing and cow guidance contribute to animal welfare?

Cows are warned in advance if they come close to a virtual fence and can then move away. This ensures high predictability and controllability. This should reduce stress. In addition, a cow that is out in the pasture and eating fresh grass is often healthier, which also contributes to cow welfare.

How does cow guidance contribute to animal welfare?

Cow guidance to the barn via Collie is a more calm and stress-free way than a human going to fetch the cows (and not always giving the cows enough time).

How does virtual fencing and cow guidance contribute to work satisfaction?

Fencing (especially in the case of strip grazing) costs the farmer less time and the farmer does not have to collect the cows anymore. This allows him to spend his time/attention in a better way.

Does a virtual fence replace a real fence completely?

No, an outside fence is still necessary for safety reasons. If an animal 'breaks out' to another field, that is not a big deal, but it is if the animal could end up on the public road..

How strong is the pulse function?

Electric wire gives a stronger shock than a collar. The energy of electrical wire is 5-15 joules, the collar emits 0.2 joules per pulse. It is localised in the neck.The cow is given time to react during the sound signal and can therefore always avoid a pulse.

What voltage is being used?

Tension in itself is not most relevant to the experienced pulse. The voltage is mainly needed to bridge the distance. With the collar, this is 5000 volts, similar to electrical wire.

Can you spot cows individually through the app?

Yes, you can recognise/spot animals individually and control the collar. LED lights also allow you to recognise the cow (e.g. in the barn)

Do you need to be nearby to operate the app?

The app works over the mobile network, so you can basically monitor and control the system from anywhere in the world where there is coverage.

How long does the training take?

Initial training of virtual fencing and cow guidance takes a week.In order to remove individual cows from the herd with the Collie system, training takes 1-2 months.

How do cows get trained?

The cows are trained as a herd. The virtual fence function is trained by installing it in front of the familiar fence. Through trial-and-error, the cows learn very quickly. Cow guidance is trained by applying the vibration while doing the regular work of fetching animals. Once the animals make the connection between vibration and action, the farmer steps back further and further until farmer intervention is no longer needed at all.

Is the Collie system also being applied to calves?

No. When calves walk with cows, they often stay with the mother. The calves themselves do not need a collar

At what age can cows get the collar?

The guideline is 2 years. Calves/heiffers can learn at a younger age, but in practice, heifers are introduced to the dairy herd after having calved. At that time, they also get the collar on.

How are newcomers trained (new heifers, purchased cows?)

The rest of the herd trains the newcomers. Because cows are herd animals, they observe the behaviour of the others and learn the workings of the system very quickly.

How does the virtual fencing work?

As soon as the cow approaches the virtual fence, the collar makes a sound. The sound volume increases the further the cow crosses the virtual fence (louder tone). As soon as the cow turns away, the sound becomes softer until she is back in the right direction or back in the virtual zone.

How does the cow guidance work?

When a farmer wants to fetch a cow, she feels a vibration in the neck. This is a positive signal that sets the cow in motion. If the cow walks in the wrong direction. As with the virtual fence, she gets an audible signal.

Does the Collie system replace the normal collar
or does the cow have to wear two collars?

Currently, the focus is on virtual fencing and cow guidance. Other functionalities may be added later that will eliminate the need for another collar.

How long does it take after the first sound signal
before the pulse function is activated?

The cow has 5-15 seconds to respond to the sound giving her enough time to prevent a pulse.

How can cows know if part of the fence is moved?
Can you encourage them to seek out the new boundary?

The cows can experience for themselves (due to the absence of the sound signal) that the fence has been moved.

Animal welfare
Does the pulse hurt the animal?

The shock is unpleasant, but does not cause any pain or damage. There are also no contact points on the skin, but a metal mesh lying on the fur provides the electrical conduction.

Are cows becoming stressed or scared?

Research abroad shows no negative effects on animal welfare. Therefore, we can assume that this also applies to Dutch conditions. Under Dutch conditions, the Dynamisch Draadloos Weiden research project is investigating this further.Moving cows with cow guidance is calmer and less stressful than when done by humans.

Can it be used when cows keep their calves?

Yes, the calves often stay near the cow and do not need a collar themselves.

Does virtual fencing and cow guidance
contribute to more positive economic results?

The farmer saves time by not having to set fences or fetch cows. Because it is easier to graze and increase grass yields, you can get more grass into the cow and thus save costs on manure spreading, mowing and silage and concentrates. Because you can automatically guide the cow to the milking robot, you can milk the cow more often and thus increase the cow's milk production which in turn leads to more profit.

How often does it happen that, due to failure of the telephone network,
the system does not work? and what do the cows do then?

This occurs 0-3x a year. In addition, these outages never last very long. As these kinds of networks and systems only get better, the number of outages and the duration of each outage will decrease by the year.In the rare case of an outage, the collars temporarily stop working. This means that cows can cross the virtual fence and you cannot automatically fetch the cows. The cows wil possiblyl enter parts of the field  where you would rather not have them. But rarely do they leave the field in such a case as the situation for the herd itself seems unchanged.

Are there any other exceptions where the collars might (temporarily) not work?

There are several reasons why a collar might temporarily not work. For example, there could be a production error, or a bug in the software, maybe there is moisture in the collar and the electronics do not work (temporarily) as a result. In most cases, you get a notification in the app.

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