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    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries
    The Honourable Leanne Donaldson

    Agricultural researchers soar to new heights

    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries
    The Honourable Leanne Donaldson

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    Agricultural researchers soar to new heights

    Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson has congratulated researchers in her department for being among the first in Australia to gain approval to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in agricultural research.

    "Today, I am pleased to announce the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has given the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries an operations certification, further advancing Queensland when it comes to innovation," she said.

    "This means DAF researchers have more options for doing surveillance on crops, after my department fulfilled CASA's safety regulations.

    "UAVs can capture aerial images and video footage, giving growers information that isn't evident on the ground.

    "DAF researchers are also using these UAVs to monitor broadacre crops in the cotton and grains industries for possible signs of disease and other disorders like nutrition deficiency."

    DAF's Chief Controller and leading cotton researcher Dr Paul Grundy, who has a UAV licence, said UAVs enabled large areas to be surveyed quickly.

    "Compared to traditional methods of traversing fields on foot to collect data, we can now survey a large field within an hour where it once would take the best part of a day," he said.

    "With a number of other DAF staff now completing controller certifications, we are looking to apply UAVs as a cost effective means of gathering important imagery and data in our joint sorghum breeding program with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation.

    "Images taken with UAVs will be integrated into custom software programs that can analyse crop responses to a number of environmental variables, which will enable the rapid selection of sorghum lines that will form future varieties for Queensland growers."

    For more information, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23, or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au<http://www.daf.qld.gov.au>.

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