Want to know how a drone can precisely target weeds in sugar cane crops?
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has a video for that.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said precision agriculture has advanced to the point where drones can fly over sugar cane fields, identify weeds and take them out with a targeted shot of herbicide.
“This saves time, money and effort,” Mr Furner said.
“It also has the potential to improve reef water quality reducing herbicide run off into local waterways.
“The Palaszczuk Government understands that protecting the Great Barrier Reef is important to the community.
“This drone project is a demonstration of our commitment to achieving that goal.”
DAF cane extension officer Marcus Bulstrode has been working closely on this project with Innisfail Canegrowers.
“It took a couple of years to get the project up and running, to purchase the big spray drone, and complete the training and licensing required to fly this machine,” Mr Bulstrode said.
“As part of the project, Innisfail Canegrowers has purchased a large spray drone for about $25,000 which we’ve been testing on paddocks in the Wet Tropics.
“Prior to going out with this spray drone, I used a much smaller drone which I flew over paddocks to map the areas with weeds. I loaded this information into the larger spray drone’s flight path so the machine will actually move up and down these rows spraying as it goes to take out the weeds.
“With a full 10-litre tank of herbicide, the spray drone can fly for approximately ten minutes. That means you pre-map the area, and the machine will go directly to those patches and spray them very quickly before returning.
“So although you’re only flying for ten minutes, you’ve done a lot of the background work to reduce the time that this machine’s in the air and the job is completed very quickly.”
Note: TV grabs of Minister Furner available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/db245mi0doc5o5q/AAAOOovoC4ALn1ybx_vJomM4a?dl=0 (external site)