A Swing for the Vences

Apr 30, 2021

Thanks to a recent $12 million investment in a San Diego startup, a whole boatload of ranchers will soon be rotating their herds across rangeland without running another strand of wire.

“Oh, oh, it’s magic.”: Well, not really, but it is cutting-edge. With the help of GPS and some high-tech wearable collars, the Vence Corporation is providing ranchers with a 21st-century solution to open grazing and pasture rotation.

How it works: Using an app on his or her phone, a producer sets an “invisible fence” boundary by inputting GPS coordinates. Then, just strap a collar around Bessie’s neck, and she’s free to roam.

As a cow approaches a boundary, the collar emits a warning noise. If it ignores the warning, then it’s encouraged to turn around via a light electrical shock–just like an electric fence.

Oh, and this… It’s not just for keeping the herd venced in. Sensing the animal’s direction of movement, the collar also uses noise and shocks to herd the cattle to the next paddock.

But it’s about more than pasture management. With U.S. grasslands being the largest land-based carbon sink globally, preventing overgrazing by simplifying pasture rotation is a slam-dunk for combating climate change.

Where this goes: With the company’s new cash on hand, the 5,000 farmers lined up to get the service won’t have to wait long. And Vence plans to move forward with more R&D to service even more livestock producers.