Drones have become a very useful tool for growers in Bundaberg, Queensland. The Soil Wealth ICP team is learning from Jamin Fleming, owner of OzTech Drones, about the many practical uses for drones in the fight against weeds, insect pests and diseases.

Around those herbicide-resistant breeding grounds, such as irrigation hydrants (see Figure 1), along fence lines, on roadways and in difficult to access areas, herbicides are now being drone sprayed. Getting onto these areas quickly and efficiently ensures resistance build-up can be stopped or slowed down.

Figure 1: Spraying of herbicide on irrigation hydrant in cover crop field in Bundaberg, Queensland.

To avoid the compaction of the soil by spray tractors, drones are often used to spray fungicides on wet paddocks or wet areas (hot spots) within the paddocks to combat the fungal pathogens. Insecticides are sometimes needed as border sprays or to control initial small outbreaks within paddocks – another task quickly and efficiently tackled with the drone.

As well as the benefits of covering the wet and difficult to access areas, the use of drones eliminates a grower’s exposure to chemicals compared to traditional backpack spraying. The self-filling spray tanks (see Figure 2) and multiple battery packs (see Figure 3) available with OzTech Drones help to provide efficient, cost-effective and safe spraying.

Figure 2: Self-filling spray tanks.

Farmers are discovering that applications from drones targeting small areas can be quick (minimising crop losses) and, overall, provide big savings on chemical usage, water, fuel, labour and money.

Figure 3: Changing batteries.

Click here to watch the spraying of herbicide on irrigation hydrants in a cover crop field in Bundaberg using a drone by OzTech Drones.

For more information please contact Pieter Van Nieuwenhuyse from the AHR Soil Wealth team by email at pieter@ahr.com.au .

Interested in joining the Soil Wealth ICP Partnership Network? Click here.