QUEENSLAND farmers can now use drones to spray crops after the State Government amended legislation to embrace the latest technology.
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said the changes would give Queensland producers access to the most innovative aerial spraying technology available.
“The Palaszczuk Government is keen to give our producers all the advantages made available by advances in technology,” Minister Byrne said.
“The improvements to the legislation provide Queensland producers with cost effective options for crop protection.”
Minister Byrne said the technology would be especially useful for chemical application in areas with limited access or difficult terrain.
“This includes cropping situations as well as spraying weeds or pests where conventional ground-based technology or aerial application is unsuitable for the situation,” he said.
“Where conventional equipment cannot be used, spraying from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represents a safe and effective option.
“I believe it is important to harness new and emerging technologies where possible and make them available to our producers, to provide new and improved ways to operate”
The Minister said it was important to put safeguards in place to ensure drones were used safely and responsibly.
“Both producers and contractors using this technology will need to be aware of their legal obligations, including the need to comply with all label instructions when applying agricultural chemical products and ensuring they have the required licenses,” he said.
“The legislation requires that UAV spraying operations are only performed by pilots who are authorised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and hold qualifications that demonstrate a suitable level of chemical application competency.”
Using drones to spray crops is now possible because of amendments to the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 (ACDC Act) and the Regulations that underpin it.
For more information on legislation for chemical use in agriculture, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au
Source: Qld Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries