Is it a bird or plane

Is it a bird, is it a plane?

Neither a bird nor a plane, a flying drone is one of the latest innovations to join the B+LNZ Demonstration Farm Programme.

Neil Gardyne and his 14-year-old son Mark, from Eastern Southland, made international headlines last year when they started flying drones over their 466 ha farms to check on hogget lambing. It took them only 20 minutes flight time for the drone compared to two hours on a quad bike opening and closing 120 farm gates.

AbacusBio consultant Bram Visser is working with the Gardynes and Aeronavics on creating a system that does not require piloting and computer skills to obtain a stock count.

The on-farm applications of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are numerous with accessibility, automation, information and on-farm safety being top of the list. Since the Gardynes started trialling drones on their farms, they have compiled over 400 potential applications.

Having had an overwhelmingly positive response from farmers worldwide, Neil and Mark were invited to speak at various events, including the Digital Rural Futures conference in Toowoomba, Australia. The project could also potentially attract young people into the agricultural industry.

Find out more about "Investigating drones for mainstream farming"