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Virtual Fencing

   Livestock fencing was the single greatest expense in 19th century production agriculture (Simmons 1935), and it remains a considerable expense in livestock grazing today (Meyer 2005).
   Virtual fence (VF) is a new technology that contains livestock within user-defined boundaries without the need for physical fences. Ranchers create and adjust virtual boundaries with a digital map user-interface, like Google Maps. Livestock wear GPS collars that detect the VF boundaries and produce audio cues followed by mild electrical shocks to contain livestock in the designated area.

Potential Applications

  1. Real-time location of livestock.
  2. Targeted grazing of palatable weeds to improve rangeland.
  3. Reduce wildfire risk by targeting areas with high fuel loads (i.e.: fuel breaks).
  4. Graze emerging brush on burned landscapes to prevent encroachment and promote reforestation.
  5. Exclude livestock from environmentally and culturally sensitive sites and recreational areas.
  6. Decrease production costs by reduced need to build and maintain physical fences.


Please contact Brian Allen (brallen@ucanr.edu).

Virtual Fence Survey

The UC ANR Central Sierra hosted a Virtual Fence Workshop on 7/13/23. The workshop featured representatives from the 3 available VF Companies in the US (Vence, Nofence, and Gallagher), livestock producers who are currently using the technology on California rangelands, and UC ANR research. The audience, which included producers who currently use VF and those who knew very little until that day, were asked to complete a short survey to get their evaluation of this emerging technology. Please click here to view the survey results.