Tuesday, July 5, 2022
BusinessDigital livestock collar takes top prize at AgriScot Innovation Awards

Digital livestock collar takes top prize at AgriScot Innovation Awards

AN INNOVATIVE digital livestock collar has won top prize at this year’s AgriScot Innovation Awards.

The product allows farmers to graze their livestock within set areas, but without the need for traditional fencing.

Nofence Grazing Technology’s GPS-controlled head collars for cattle, sheep and goats, allows users to digitally set grazing areas, with an audible signal acting as a the first ‘fence’ and a small electric pulse as the final deterrent to keep them within those boundaries.

It consists of a solar-powered collar which marks the digital ‘fields’ farmers set for any given area via a web portal run by the company and a mobile app.

Cattle grazing on grassland.
Nofence allows farmers to set grazing areas without the need for traditional fencing.      Photo by Jasper Garratt on Unsplash

AgriScot is the UK’s leading agricultural business event – which aims to draw attention to innovative new products within the industry.

The AgriScot Product Innovation Award in particular is designed to recognise and reward commercial potential, creativity and innovation.

The Awards were sponsored by The Scottish Farmer newspaper, with the winner receiving £1,000 towards advertising in the paper.

The collar relies on GPS and GLONASS satellite systems for accuracy, which means that the fences can be easily adjusted or moved, giving animals access to new areas and fresh pastures.

Nofence also lets users track their animals’ movements and alerts owners if anything untoward happens.

The collar costs £239 per head for cattle, or £149 for sheep and goats, and is already being successfully used for conservation grazing by the likes of RSPB and other wildlife trusts.

The technology was developed in Norway by a hill farmer who wanted to make use of grazing areas, but without the added cost of fencing.

From a standing start 10 years ago, there are now 35,000 collars in use around the world, with 3,500 of these in the UK, where the company now has its only base outside its home country.

With a similar terrain to Norway, Scotland is seen as an ideal place where the Nofence technology can be utilised.

The AgriScot judging panel felt that the system could have wide-ranging applications ranging from conservation grazing in the likes of National Parks and nature reserves, to encouraging all-arable farmers to consider including livestock in their rotations.

The judging panel was made up of well-known Borders farmer John Elliot Jr, Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland CEO Alan Laidlaw and Ken Fletcher, the editor of The Scottish Farmer.

Ken Fletcher said: “Innovation is the foundation of continuing success for agriculture and if the entries for this year’s AgriScot Innovation Awards are anything to go by, then there’s a solid future ahead for Scottish farming.

“Scotland’s farmers have a reputation for coming up with and implementing new ideas and technology – and they have to be, given the geography and climate we have to contend with.

“That means it’s great to see so many new products coming through yet again for these awards.”

The judges also commended two other companies for products that offer significant benefits to farming businesses.

These included Merlo UK’s e-Worker, an electric telehandler capable of an eight hour working day from an overnight charge.

Additionally, iLivestock’s eWeight system, which offers advanced weigh indicators without a need to plug the device into a computer to upload data.

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