Local virtual enclosures to enforce managed grazing

PI: Harold (Hal) Evensen


Evensen is a professor of engineering physics at UW­–Platteville with research interests in carbon nanotube-based electronics, automated rotational grazing, and advanced automation. He earned his PhD in engineering physics from UW–Madison.

Chris Wilson rotates his grazing dairy herd by manually moving lightweight fencing, which is cumbersome. Digital solutions for confining livestock exist, involving use of GPS collars. However, these systems are costly and over-designed for the end goal, which is merely to move the cattle through a grazing area. Therefore, we propose to investigate and develop “local” means to establish and enforce a virtual, progressive grazing area. We will pursue two approaches: moving a physical fence or objects; and moving a virtual fence using short-range wireless technologies. For the “virtual” option, some technologies under consideration are ultra-high frequency RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tags. Using beacons or readers, the animal’s rough location will be monitored, allowing it to be directed toward “acceptable” locations as determined by the farmer.

Cyrus Habibi