Drones to re­place mo­tor­bikes

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - END OF FINANCIAL YEAR - MACHINERY BUYERS GUIDE -

AIR­LINE pi­lot John Dav­i­son and air­line engi­neer David Storen teamed up two years ago and founded Airview Drones.

They started off do­ing mostly real es­tate photography, but have since iden­ti­fied a ma­jor op­por­tu­nity in farm­ing drones.

They of­fer drones for ba­sic trough and gate in­spec­tions, through to check­ing sheep and cat­tle with­out the need to go into pad­docks, open gates and drive around – which can be es­pe­cially handy in win­ter.

“You can fly a drone and check out the lamb­ing or calv­ing with­out dis­turb­ing the herd,” said Mr Dav­i­son.

“And we can scan pad­docks with spe­cial cam­eras and tell you how they’re do­ing.”

They can de­tect soil ero­sion and per­form quan­tity es­ti­mat- ing, if you need to cut out land for a house or dam.

They also can use ther­mal cam­eras for pest erad­i­ca­tion.

“It takes a lot for pres­sure off the land,” said Mr Dav­i­son.

He be­lieves drones will soon take the place of mo­tor­bikes on farms.

“And we price them at the same level,” he said.

“You can pick up a bike for around two grand and you can get one of our drones for the same amount.”

They also of­fer so­lu­tions for peo­ple that need the drones for spe­cific ser­vices, and then mod­ify the drones specif­i­cally for them.

“I come out and demon­strate the drone to the farmer be­fore they out­lay any money,” said Mr Dav­i­son.

“I show them how to fly it, up­grade the soft­ware and look after it all.”

He said age is no bar­rier once he demon­strates how to use the tech­nol­ogy.

“I have a 74-year-old farmer that strug­gles with his health, so we set it up so he just has to press play and his drone au­to­mat­i­cally flies its path, and he sits there with a cup of tea.

“It takes a photo of each of his troughs and gates and feed­ing points, and he can also watch the live video on his iPad while it’s fly­ing on its path.

“Then it lands ex­actly where it took off from.”

They are also start­ing to see a lot of peo­ple who are los­ing a for­tune in cat­tle theft go­ing to drones for se­cu­rity pur­poses.

The com­pany is a regis­tered re­tailer for DJI Drones and they ser­vice all of Vic­to­ria.

UP, UP AND AWAY: John Dav­i­son from Airview be­lieves drones will soon re­place a lot of the jobs a mo­tor­bike is needed for on a farm.

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