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