Eyes in the sky – weed spotting

Landcare Mount Isa employed the use of drone technology to ascertain the extent of the infestation.

Mount Isa Landcare had an eye in the sky for the very first time last weekend which helped map the location and extent of a Rubber Vine infestation at West Leichhardt Station.

This maiden voyage was a test and a very successful one as Landcare Mount Isa President Mark Van Ryt said they will definitely be using this technology again.

The bird’s-eye view of the infestation was the work of a Landcare member whose proficiency at driving the technology was well-advanced.

The Quadcopter-drone was used soon after the team of exterminators arrived at base camp, providing them with a clear picture of the weeds features.

Drones are one of the new tools being utilised in the fight to combat weed infestations by Landcare Groups Australia wide.

Mr Van Ryt said the drone proved to be very useful.

“It saved a lot of walking. We could see waterholes above and below the infestation.”

The innovative use of new technologies has the potential to change management practices in the future.

“Imagine when they have plant recognition technology to GPS each sighting and drones that actually deliver the herbicide,” Mr Van Ryt said.

The Landcare drone returning to base camp.

The patch of Rubber Vine located was considered compact, reaching about three hectare in area with quite a dense core.

The Landcare team also found a Rubber Vine core patch in the middle of a dry-bed river.

Mr Van Ryt said it’s wide sand areas adjacent to the patch would serve as excellent fire breaks.

“Once the thick core has been cleared we will continue to cut and spray the outliers and work our way in.”

“Over time this infestation should be quite easy to manage,” he said.

Rubber Vine is a weed of National Significance. The plant was introduced into Australia from Madagascar as an ornamental shrub around 1875 and was popular in north Queensland mining settlements due to its luxuriant growth even under harsh weather conditions.

West Leichhardt Station is situated just over 37km from Mount Isa and is a 310000 acre cattle station.



Melissa Coleman View All →

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.

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