Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Cows wearing VF devices

Virtual Fence

Photo by: Michael Stauder
  • Body

    Virtual fence (VF) has the potential to revolutionize grazing systems by allowing dynamic control of livestock distribution and duration. The system uses invisible barriers, established by Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, to influence livestock movement with a combination of auditory and electrical cues without a physical fence. However, it can be also be complicated and costly. 

    This digital guide was created to empowers ranchers and land managers to effectively evaluate and use VF for improved rangeland management. Explore the foundations of VF factsheets, watch the videos, access geospatial resources, and explore handouts from workshops and webinars to better under a VF system.

    Foundations of VF

    • Virtual fencing (VF) is an emerging precision livestock management tool with multiple interconnected components.
      basics of a virtual fence system







    • [in review] Virtual fence lines are created in VF software, which requires a digital map of an entire ranch or land management area.
      diagram of virtual fence components
    • [in review] Understanding how livestock recognize and interpret the auditory and electrical cues can limit potential risks for animal health and welfare.
      how livestock interact with a virtual fence






    • [coming soon] Special consideration is needed when training livestock, designing fences, managing incentives, and moving livestock.

      incentive for livestock to cross the virtual fence






    • [in progress] Economic pros and cons of VF implementation to better understand the financial benefits and risks of the technology compared to tradition fencing. 
    • [in progress] Battery life, collar disposal, strategies for collection in the field, and data organization.
    •  [up next] Equipment needed, strategies for proper fit, and safety when placing virtual fence collars on livestock.



Cows wearing VF devices
Terminology & Vendor Comparison

Webinar 1

Coming Soon
cow wearing VF device
Coming Soon


VF base station
Exploring the boundaries of virtual fencing

Workshop 1

cow being collared
Exploring the boundaries of VF: Comparing vendors & rancher insights

Workshop 2

cow with collar
Soil Health & Virtual Fencing

Workshop 3