EAGLE EYE: Southern Downs farmers could save time and money with drones like the Ag Eagle - a specialised agricultural drone that is purpose-built for crop surveying.
EAGLE EYE: Southern Downs farmers could save time and money with drones like the Ag Eagle - a specialised agricultural drone that is purpose-built for crop surveying. Meghan Harris

Southern downs farmers have sights set on sky

DRONE technology could be the future of agriculture, and one local councillor would like to see Southern Downs farmers among the first to embrace the innovation.

Cr Cameron Gow says that drones have already been successful in wine production and there's no reason this can't extended to other agricultural crops.

"I think that's where technology is going... I'd certainly like to see Southern Downs participate,” Cr Gow said.

Infra-red imaging through the use of drones allows farmers to detect the early signs of crop stress and treat localised areas, instead of the entire paddock.

"It's another component of agronomy that is going to make agriculture more effective.”

Cr Gow says it would improve the efficiency of crop management and help farmers save time and money.

Aerial imaging allows farmers to get a unique view of their crops, which previously would have required a small plane or helicopter.

Wheatvale farmer Chris Cantwell said drones are something he would look at using in the future.

"You could fly it over your farm and check things out without going down there,” he said.

The devices are a little too expensive right now, but Mr Cantwell hopes they will become more affordable in the future.

"I guess the way technology is moving now they will get smaller and fly further and become more cost effective,” he said.

Cr Gow says that agriculturalists in the Southern Downs region are at the forefront of innovation and keen to embrace new technologies.

A number of growers in the region are already implementing self-steering tractors that use GPS devices to improve the accuracy of harvesting and reduce waste.



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