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Agricultural drone project to inspire students

Oztech Drones
File photo: Oztech Drones spray drone in action.

Drone technology is set to inspire Isis District State High School students to develop STEM skills specific to the agricultural sector.

The agricultural drone project will be delivered by CQUniversity Australia with funding from a Queensland Government Engaging Science Grant valued at $14,551.

The project will be led by senior education lecturer Dr Michelle Vanderburg.

As part of the project, CQUniversity will partner with Isis District State High School to develop and implement the project that will encompass a series of activities.

During the program participants will learn how drones can be used in all aspects of farm management, including managing fence lines, inspecting crops and animal paddocks, and utilising drone survey data to plan greater farm productivity.

Dr Vanderburg explained that the goal would be to inspire adolescents to develop agricultural technology knowledge and skills to support potential future careers in agriculture. 

“Isis District State High School is located in a region that [is] heavily reliant upon the agricultural industry for employment,” Dr Vanderburg said.

“Increasingly, the agriculture sector is employing new technologies to improve productivity and efficiencies, so it is essential that we are graduating students that have a knowledge and understanding of technology and how it can be used to benefit primary producers.

“The participating students will engage with topics through theory around rules and regulations pertaining to the use of drones in the agricultural industry and the future of their use.

“Specifically, they will learn about piloting drones, coding and interpreting culminating in a broad understanding of the integration of technology into the sector and how this is going to alter the profession in general”.

Isis District State High School agriculture teacher Hannah Wiemers said it was important for students to learn these skills as farming was becoming increasingly reliant on technological advancements.

“The students are excited about combining tech with ag as they are seeing technology used more and more within the region and on their own family farms,” Ms Wiemers said.

“They can see how the use of technology combined with traditional farming practice is making a difference to on-farm productivity, so they are curious to learn more about this themselves and gain the necessary skills to interact with on-farm technologies.

“Along with this, learning about technology also benefits students who may want to follow a different career in agriculture outside of production, for example within engineering, agribusiness or supply chain management.”

Oztech Drones director Jamin Fleming will also be involved in the agricultural drone project and he will provide students with a realistic industry look at how drones are changing the game when it comes to agriculture.

Mr Fleming said the benefits of drones in agriculture were becoming more apparent to farmers.

“Drone technology is advancing rapidly, and its many agricultural applications include spraying, mapping and planting,” Mr Fleming said.

“Drones can also be fitted with a range of sensors and camera technology enabling farmers to monitor the health and productivity of crops and livestock.”

Mr Fleming also said he was looking forward to being part of this project and exposing tomorrow’s drone pilots to some exciting career opportunities available in agriculture.

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