New technology to help deter wild dog attacks
CLUSTER fencing has been changing the livelihoods of farmers around Australia by providing protection against wild dogs. However, Longreach farmer, Keith Gordon noticed there were still some issues that could be fixed. Keith Gordon co-founded Outback Property Solutions with electrical engineer Andrew Barton and began developing a product that can detect the presence of wild dogs and deter them. The idea originated in Longreach when Mr Gordon realised the wild dogs were still getting onto his property through the channel country. He then contacted Mr Barton who works as an engineer in Brisbane. The pair grew up together and decided to work together to develop the software.
“They (cluster fences) work really well on the flat country but where it goes into channel country it becomes more difficult,” Mr Barton said.
“As the water rises it pushes the fence away. So the fences still need to be able to cross the channel paddocks.
“So the software detects when a dog is coming close and deters the dog away. It creates a virtual fence.”
The product will come in two parts - Dog Detect and Dog Deter. Dog Detect uses cameras mounted on poles, powered by solar panels and batteries, that are strategically placed throughout the paddock in order to detect the dogs. Dog Deter will then use lights and sounds to deter the dogs.
Mr Barton said as far as he knew the virtual fencing would be a world first.
“We’re developing the first part of the software which is the part the detects the dogs. This is the first step in a multi-step program of work,” Mr Barton said.
“We’re doing a soft launch in the Dog Detect. We want to do an extensive period of trialling before we make it commercially available.
“December last year we did the first main trials in Longreach. To date it’s only been trialled in one spot west of Longreach, and now we want to go to the next phase and trial it on lots of different sites.
“We’re looking for people who want to be involved in trialling the of the product. Even though it’s come from central west its not exclusive to the central west.” Mr Barton said every six months the development team stays with the farmers who are trialling the product in order to better develop the software.
“The technical team is in Brisbane and then we have the connection to the land to trial it,” Mr Barton said.
“So we’re really bringing that city country together.”
Mr Barton said they are hoping that Dog Detect will be commercially available in the next 12 months.
They are also hoping to start trialling Dog Deter in the coming 12 months. Expressions of interest are welcome for those keen to participate in the trial program.
For more information call (07) 4658 9227.
VIRTUAL FENCE: Keith Gordon holding the OPS Dog Detect sensor.