Jack Creswell carefully watches the wild pigs in his property from the living room.
Drones can be used for everything from seed dispersal on rugged terrain to spot spray chemicals.
Technology has improved dramatically over the last three years
Critics say the technique is overrated and requires extensive training for use by the average farmer.
He keeps a dorper near a dowel and saves him everywhere for weeks or months so that he can be effectively captured or fed by using a drone to monitor pests. increase.
It also saves time and fuel because you don’t have to go around to find a bike. This is especially useful when fuel prices are very high.
He simply sends the drone to the premises, looks for wild pigs, and watches the footage live.
“Currently, during droughts, and by monitoring pigs, lambs are very important and we can see exactly where the pigs are and then we can feed our programs based on that,” Creswell said. I am saying.
“It helps us set the trap better.”
Cresswell was able to monitor water and tank levels much more quickly, reducing labor costs.
“It will save 4 hours of labor, you can do it in 30 minutes with a drone. It saves at least 4 hours a week or about $ 200 for the day.”
Due to pressure from extreme weather and rising input costs, more farmers are adopting new ways of working.
Improving efficiency is a priority for farmers
At the BigTech Big Ideas Field Day and Conference in western New South Wales, producers and producers were interested in how new technologies could be used on their assets to increase efficiency. ..
Tristan Steventon, who runs StevTech, an agricultural drone company at Parks, said his drones can detect farm problems such as pests and weeds.
“We scan the paddock with a drone to find and detect certain types of weeds and push that data to AI or machine learning software,” says Steventon.
“Then you can convert that data to a file and put it in a spray drone to find the root of the problem.
This technique can detect weeds in green-on-brown or green-on-green situations, saving farmers up to 90% of the chemical cost in a single paddock.
Demand for drones from farmers has increased dramatically, with about half of the farmers Creswell sees currently using drones.
He has been using drones on farms for about 10 years.
Based on the number of filters and software available on drones, this technology has improved dramatically over the last few years.
However, Professor Guy Ross of the University of Sydney said the benefits of drones in agriculture have been exaggerated.
“Drones are great for taking pictures, and there are some great applications like spray drones.” It’s just not as easy as it looks, “Dr. Ross said.
Also, this technology does not work well in poorly connected areas.
But at least there may be a way to close the knowledge gap.
Drone operator Ben Watts acknowledged that there is much to learn before people can use drones on their farms.
However, he said he found that training and practice allowed many farmers to incorporate the technique into their daily work relatively quickly.
The Government of New South Wales offers farmers free drone training courses under the AgSkilled 2.0 program.