Queensland deploys drones to kill weeds

The Queensland natural resources department will deploy drones to drop agricultural chemicals and wipe out weed infestations in affected areas across the state.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is using Yamaha RMAX drones coupled with satellite imagery techniques developed by Queensland’s department of science and information technology to make tactical strikes on high density pest weed infestations too difficult to conventionally control.

The department appointed Queensland-based serice provider PBE Services for the project after a two month trial of emerging weed control techniques conducted in April this year across two properties.

The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was deemed to be the most effective and the ‘first strategy of its kind’ in tackling weed pests in Australia, the company said.

It found the application of chemicals using the UAV worked in 99 percent of the cases with “no evidence of shadowing or missed spraying”.

The two properties used in the trial were chosen for their significant operational issues, which reflected the nature of weed infestations elsewhere in the state.

“In the past, [such] sites have been problematic because of varying topography, very high density weed infestations and the presence of native species,” Minister Andrew Cripps said in a statement.

The satellite imagery technology is used to map weed density, indicate areas where weeds need to be targeted while considering the “strategic nature” of the infestation.

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