Drones target weeds

By Leone Knight

The need to access weeds in dangerous or remote areas with spraying rigs may soon be a thing of the past.

In an Australian first, farmers, miners and other land managers in the central west were treated to a demonstration of how unmanned helicopters, or drones, can be used for weed management.

Mike Johnson from Yamaha says the technology was developed in 1983 in Japan at the request of the Japanese government.

“They were concerned about the fatalities and accident rates of full size helicopters when spraying rice paddies”, he says.

Mr Johnson says other future agricultural uses of unmanned helicopters including seeding, remote sensing, precision agriculture and variable rate dispersal.

He says it has the advantage of zero soil compaction and with no overlap it will maximise the use of productive land.