Human management

Weed management facilitated by the donation of drones

The drone taking its first fight in the hands of new owners.

By Tricia Mifsud

Weed management just got easier and more efficient for the Southwest Goulburn Landcare Network after they received a drone to help with their work.

The $25,000 DJI Agras T10 drone was donated to the Sunday Creek/Dry Creek Landcare Group, a subgroup of the Southwest Goulburn Network, by CR Kennedy Consumer Division.

Funding from the Victorian Landcare Grants for weed management projects will allow the group to begin their work at Sunday Creek.

Sunday Creek’s terrain is rocky and mountainous, making it difficult to reach on foot or by vehicle. With the drone and its 10 liter capacity tank, the task has become much easier, with the possibility of traveling up to 3.5 kilometers from its starting point.

The network successfully hosted a field day where they showed attendees the benefits of using drones to maintain the property, prompting CR Kennedy to make the donation.

Field Masters Systems who specialize in the use of technology in environmental and agricultural settings attended the field day and have since also offered to teach Landcare members how to use the drone safely.

“We organized a drone spray day to show people the capability of a drone and [its ability] to get to hard-to-reach places along rocky waterways and in the mountains,” said Sonia Sharkey, coordinator of the Southwest Goulburn Landcare Network.

Ms Sharkey said the drone would not only help Landcare, but provide real learning opportunities for students in the area.

“We are talking to local schools and their VCAL and VET programs. Some schools already have programs to teach students to fly drones, but don’t have the opportunity to practice in the field,” she said.

“It’s new technology and it’s about engaging young people and showing them that there are careers in agriculture and you don’t have to go to Melbourne to work, it there’s work here.”

CR Kennedy Sales Manager Jeff Bethell, who conducted the official drone handover, said he was proud to support Landcare.

“We are very proud to support Landcare and the community and hope that the technology we have donated will give the community years of technological advancements to eliminate weeds inaccessible with vehicles,” he said.

“The important thing for us is that people understand and appreciate drones and what they can do. Mitchell Shire will be at the forefront of any other county in the country to really use them and engage the community.

The drone will also help assist landowners whose blackberries grow on their land with funding from the Landcare Group.

Residents of the Sunday Creek and Dry Creek area are encouraged to contact Jacqui Fulton on 0407 871 770 if they are interested in Landcare assistance.