We’re all about self-reliance and self-sufficiency here at Insteading, but that doesn’t always mean we always take the low-tech approach to problem solving. Sometimes we like to break out the mobile phones and next-generation airless tires. Other times, we like to play with our radio-controlled sheep-hunting drone.
You read that right, and one New Zealand farm has just taken a massive jump into the age of cutting edge technology by using a Chinese-made drone to reconnoitre its 900 acre farm instead of using a more conventional solution like an ATV or motorcycle.
Now, I would probably never have heard of this under normal circumstances, but since we moved onto a rural (Rural) property earlier this year, we’ve been receiving a monthly newspaper titled “The Straight Furrow.” The Furrow contains articles about new sheep drenches, methods of testing soil quality, and all manner of agricultural interest stories. So far, I’ve mainly been using it for kindling. The other day, however, my eye was caught but the confusing headline of “Tally ho! Hoggets at 2 O’clock!”
First of all, I’ve never heard of someone using the phrase “Tally ho!” un-ironically this century and, secondly, what the heck is a hogget? In case you are wondering, a hogget is loosely defined as a one year old sheep.
It turns out that the Gardyne family have decided to use a $4000 (Australian) Chinese made Hexopter drone to fly across their land instead of venturing out on their quad. The drone is equipped with six electric rotors and follows a preset path, making its way around a series of established checkpoints. A video camera mounted to the drone sends images back
to base home, which can then be analyzed using special software that was originally designed for use with satellites.
The idea is that, instead of spending two hours driving their motorbike or quad around the land twice a day (an operation that is both costly and dangerous), the farmers will send the drone to do the work for them. That way they can see which sheep are in need of attention, target their ground travel, and end up being much more efficient in terms of time and fuel management. Although the start up costs on the Hexcopter were pretty steep, the Gardynes believe that they’ll be able to save around $40,000 a year (!??) on gas and other costs.
Now that’s what I call a good use for a robot!
Source: The Straight Furrow.