Drone po­ten­tial in in­dus­try ex­plored

Countryman - - NEWS - Peter de Krui­jff

Uses for drones and other in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy in the pas­toral in­dus­try are be­ing ex­plored by busi­ness lead­ers and farm­ers alike.

Sev­eral speak­ers ex­plored the lat­est in the ap­pli­ca­tion of tech­nol­ogy on cat­tle sta­tions at the Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual con­fer­ence last week.

Ru­ralco na­tional cat­e­gory man­ager Sam Hunt gave a flight demon­stra­tion of a drone at Carl­ton Hill Sta­tion as well as a pre­sen­ta­tion dur­ing the sit-down con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

“This tech­nol­ogy is be­ing used in crop­ping. It’s not ex­actly there yet with cat­tle but it’s get­ting there,” he said.

Mr Hunt said these days users did not have to even fly a drone them­selves and they could plot out a flight path which could al­low it do things like wa­ter in­spec­tions.

“You can tell the drone to fly out to a trough, take stills, take video and go to the next way­point, do the same and come home,” he said.

“You might have teleme­try on your tank which will tell you your tank is full but not there’s a cow bogged to the side of it.”

Mr Hunt said the reg­u­la­tions were not keep­ing up with the leaps in tech­nol­ogy given pas­toral­ists still had to ad­here to CASA laws and could only fly a drone within the op­er­a­tor’s line of sight.

Fos­sil Downs Sta­tion has ex­per­i­mented with drone tech­nol­ogy for bore runs but run into the same prob­lem of not be­ing able to do it yet with an un­su­per­vised drone.

The Gina Rine­hart-owned sta­tion is also lead­ing the way in the in­dus­try with use of walk-over weigh­ing sta­tions and sim­i­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy to what is used on mine sites.

Pic­ture: Peter de Krui­jff

Ru­ralco's Sam Hunt and Ma­jella Nolan, who spoke with pas­toral­ists about the lat­est in drone tech­nol­ogy.

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