Farmer uses drone to check cyclone damage


The use of drones or cameras attached to a remote-controlled pilotless aircraft is becoming more common on farms.

Once thought of as the domain of the military, or science fiction, increasing numbers of people are buying drones for personal use, and farmers are no exception.

Queensland grain grower and technology enthusiast Paul Heit bought his drone with a few ideas in mind.

“We’ve got a share farming block a couple of kilometres away that’s got a lot of cockatoos,” he said.

“We were actually going to buy this thing to shoo them.”

But when Cyclone Marcia and a massive flood hit Mr Heit’s mung bean crops eight weeks ago, he decided to deploy his drone to inspect the damage.

“Because I was isolated… I thought I’d have a look at the damage from a birds-eye point of view and put the drone up in the air,” he said.

“As you can see from the bit of footage I took, the extent of the water, how high it’s gone and also looking from the sky, you can get a perspective on the wash through all that country and the few beans left on the flat.”

Paul’s father John Heit said he never would have imagined his son’s flying camera would have been so useful to their farm.

“I had no idea what a drone was… I do now, I’m amazed.”

Mr Heit senior said he hopes there will be no more floods or cyclone and the drone can be used to keep the cockatoos under control.

“We haven’t got a crop at that stage yet to use it, but we will be trying it.”