Drones will help combat weeds

HIGH-TECH drones will soon make tactical strikes on pest weeds such as prickly acacia, mesquite, parkinsonia and rubber vine, as part of the Queensland Government's second Area Management Plan (AMP).

Minister for Natural Resources Andrew Cripps said the AMP would allow for more effective weed control and support an industry struggling under a mountain of red tape.

"These AMPs and the use of satellite imagery and unmanned aerial drones fulfil our election promise to build up agriculture as one of the four pillars of the economy," Mr Cripps said.

"It is focused on controlling high-density infestations of Weeds of National Significance that would otherwise be difficult to control using conventional techniques.

"In the past, these sites have been problematic because of varying topography, very high-density weed infestations and the presence of native species."

Mr Cripps said the drone would be operated by aviation company PBE Services, which would supply a commercial pilot, and Desert Channels Queensland, which would provide a trained navigator and logistical support.

"The highly effective drones are able to cover one hectare for every eight minutes in the air and can deliver their payloads to within one metre of the target," he said.

"Due to the success of the drone, DNRM will be considering a possible expansion to the program."

Acting Minister for Science and Information Technology John-Paul Langbroek said the mapping of weed density would be carried out using satellite imagery techniques developed by his department.

Topics:  biosecurity farm products weeds