VBT NEWS – EDITION 11 / MAY 2022
The latest edition of the VBT News is now available online.
SET TO TAKE OFF
The Victorian Government has an application process in place for a licence to pilot and operate drones for aerial spraying.
The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce (VBT) believes this is a gamechanger, helping landholders tackle European blackberry in areas where ground-based control is difficult, impossible, or even dangerous. European blackberry often grows on steep slopes that landholders struggle to reach on foot when using a backpack or spray unit. Landholders often overcome this by building access tracks to reach and spray their blackberry. It is impossible to treat the centre of large infestations, and this is where drones can be useful.
Reducing chemical usage and ensuring the safety of people and the environment is important. Drones, by their propelled action, create downward pressure on chemical droplets, which increases overall coverage. Some studies have shown a significant reduction in the amount of chemicals and water used compared with ground-based spraying.
The VBT has been hosting drone demonstrations at community events for several years and can see the benefits in certain situations, but not all. Inappropriate use of this technology includes areas where native vegetation or sensitive horticultural crops cannot be avoided.