Using drones to boost agricultural productivity

Thursday, 22 September, 2016

Tasmanian agriculture stakeholders had the chance to hone their skills in the operation of drones at a workshop hosted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) this week.

TIA Vegetable Centre Leader Dr Mark Boersma said there is an increasing interest in the use of drones because of their ability to help farmers make informed decisions.

“The use of drone technology for tasks such as crop surveillance is providing farmers with rapid access to information that can potentially assist them to boost production and efficiency, lower input costs and ensure sustainability,” Dr Boersma said.

“This week TIA hosted a remote pilot workshop by Aerial Hotshots at our Forthside Vegetable Research Facility. The workshop aimed to build capacity within the Tasmanian agriculture industry around the operation of drones.

“Participants will receive a Remote Pilot Licence from CASA which will soon be a requirement to operate a drone weighing more than two kilograms for commercial purposes.”

Dr Boersma said TIA is investigating the use of precision agriculture technologies, such as drones, and how they enable better crop management and yield prediction.

“TIA is working with the Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group to deliver the Precision Agriculture Project. The project utilises precision technologies such as drones to collect data that can help inform producers about when and how to irrigate or fertilise crops,” Dr Boersma said.

“This focus on practical outcomes for farmers is a key part of TIA’s contribution to the growth and sustainability of the Tasmanian agriculture sector.”

TIA is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.

Published on: 22 Sep 2016 3:42pm