A GPS-enabled collar which allows cows to be guided around a farm using a smartphone app is expected to be launched in April.

Auckland-based agritech start-up Halter has been testing the technology on a farm in the Waikato for the past 18 months.

The company's chief executive and founder Craig Piggott made the launch announcement at the AGMARDT NZ Young Farmers Conference in Christchurch.

"We have just finished setting up our production line in China and we have had our first collars off the line come back," he said.

Advertisement

"We are targeting April as our commercial launch. It's all happening very quickly."

Halter's chief executive and founder Craig Piggott. Photo / Supplied
Halter's chief executive and founder Craig Piggott. Photo / Supplied

"The system uses audio and vibration to train a cow. The smartest cows only take two hours to train," he said.

"The farmer then has the ability to use the remote technology to shift the cows around the farm."

Piggott said the solar-powered collars had the ability to revolutionise the dairy sector, reducing labour and infrastructure costs.

"The collars can be programmed bring the cows to the milking shed at certain times and identify cows on heat," he said.

"The collar has huge animal welfare benefits, especially on larger farms. If a cow stops eating because she's sick or lame, she can be identified sooner."

Piggott said virtual fences saved time by eliminating the need for farmers to erect temporary electric fences.

"We have built the system to work around existing permanent fences. In the long term, a farmer could pull out all their fences and run a completely fenceless farm," he said.

"There are significant gains to be made with improved pasture utilisation."

The collars would have no upfront cost, but farms would pay a monthly fee to use the software.