Drone technology has many applications for agriculture, but the current requirement for pilots to maintain “line of sight” on the aircraft limits their use.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' Cairns-based senior agribusiness development officer Tim McGrath is leading a project that aims to investigate the changes to regulations. This involves training and licencing that would be required to allow for wider use of drones in agriculture.

The first step is to work with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the regulatory body, to establish a possible framework where drones could be used beyond the “line of sight” of the pilot.

“We believe some of the greatest potential use, as well as the lower risk, would be on the larger, remote cattle properties in Queensland,” Mr McGrath said.

Research partner and Cloncurry-based tech start-up company SkyKelpie, and its founder Luke Chaplain, believes there is great potential for drones in agriculture, beyond their current use. He is using drones equipped with thermal imaging to demonstrate their potential use in his early morning muster videos.

Both Tim and Luke will be presenting at the World of Drones and Robotics Congress in Brisbane on 14-15 November. Listen to Tim talk more on the potential of this technology on this RawAg podcast RawAg Podcast - Te Mania Angus.

Last updated: 01 Nov 2022