Drones okayed to spray crops

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

QUEENS­LAND farm­ers can now use drones to spray crops af­ter the State Gov­ern­ment amended leg­is­la­tion to em­brace the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Bill Byrne said the changes would give Queens­land pro­duc­ers ac­cess to the most in­no­va­tive aerial spray­ing tech­nol­ogy avail­able.

“The (State) Gov­ern­ment is keen to give our pro­duc­ers all the ad­van­tages made avail­able by ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy,” Min­is­ter Byrne said.

“The im­prove­ments to the leg­is­la­tion pro­vide Queens­land pro­duc­ers with cost-ef­fec­tive op­tions for crop pro­tec­tion.

“This tech­nol­ogy will be es­pe­cially use­ful for chem­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion in ar­eas with lim­ited ac­cess or dif­fi­cult ter­rain.

“This in­cludes crop­ping sit­u­a­tions as well as spray­ing weeds or pests where con­ven­tional ground-based tech­nol­ogy or aerial ap­pli­ca­tion is un­suit­able for the sit­u­a­tion.”

Mr Byrne said spray­ing from a drone rep­re­sented a safe and ef­fec­tive op­tion.

“I be­lieve it is im­por­tant to har­ness new and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies where pos­si­ble and make them avail­able to our pro­duc­ers, to pro­vide new and im­proved ways to op­er­ate,” he said.

The min­is­ter said it was im­por­tant to put safe­guards in place to en­sure drones are used safely and re­spon­si­bly.

“Both pro­duc­ers and con­trac­tors using this tech­nol­ogy will need to be aware of their le­gal obli­ga­tions, in­clud­ing the need to com­ply with all la­bel in­struc­tions when ap­ply­ing agri­cul­tural chem­i­cal prod­ucts and en­sur­ing they have the re­quired li­cences.

“The leg­is­la­tion re­quires that (drone) spray­ing op­er­a­tions are only per­formed by pi­lots who are au­tho­rised by the Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Au­thor­ity and hold qual­i­fi­ca­tions that demon­strate a suit­able level of chem­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion com­pe­tency.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on leg­is­la­tion for chem­i­cal use in agri­cul­ture, visit www.biose­cu­rity.qld.gov.au.


PIC OF THE CROP: The Ag Ea­gle is a spe­cialised agri­cul­tural drone for crop sur­vey­ing.

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