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Optimising surveillance protocols using unmanned aerial systems

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Research carried out in CRC National Plant Biosecurity (CRCNPB) evaluated the potential of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) for deployment in plant biosecurity and provided government and industry with a series of recommendations. This project is a response to one of those recommendations: to investigate the application of sUAS to detect and monitor high priority in-field plant biosecurity threats.

By combining modern digital photography with sUAS, the project team aimed to provide agricultural producers, resource managers, consultants, biosecurity personnel with the capacity to detect pests and diseases — including invasive species — before outbreaks occur. The technology is applicable across scales (plant-paddock-region), and can monitor across a range of host plants (e.g. wheat, vineyards, orchards) in diverse environments.
Targeted pests and diseases including sugarcane aphid, cereal aphids, yellow stripe rust, myrtle rust and phylloxera were used to develop a generalized decision matrix to direct biosecurity surveillance programs to better predict the likelihood of pest presence and potential areas for surveillance. This matrix is transferable to other pests and cropping systems. Training end-users in the use and on the capacity of sUAS occurred through several workshops, crop schools, and conferences in three countries, where seven remote pilots in command (RPIC) and over 20 biosecurity staff were formally trained.

Author(s):Plant Biosecurity CRC

Published:June 30, 2018

Date added:March 12, 2019