New drone technology allows farmers to mimic the barks of sheep-dogs
With the latest installment in drone technology, farmers will now have the ability to employ quadcopters in place of sheep-dogs with new technology allowing the drone to bark just like a dog would.
The DJI Mavic Enterprise drone can record sounds and play them back over a speaker infused within the drone's design – allowing more than a dogs bark to be recorded. However, at the moment agricultural purposes seem to be at the top of the list for the drone's uses. "The past two years have seen farmers embrace drone technology to help with those jobs that are dirty, dangerous or just plain dull," drone specialist from New Zealand-based DJI Ferntech, Adam Kerr told RadioNZ.
According to Kerr, the company has seen a recent uptick in drone purchases deemed for agricultural uses, which gives reason to believe the evolving trend is not going anywhere anytime soon.
"Winter time it's ideal for flying it sitting at home on a cold day I don't want to go outside, so I fly my drone round, have a look make sure all my stock are behind the wire," Corey Lambeth, a shepherd on a North Canterbury sheep and beef farm near Rotherham to RadioNZ. "Also when we're lambing we can fly it round, it's ideal with the [camera] zoom, going right in, looking at it [the drone monitor], not even disturbing the ewes."
Farmers have claimed that the drones have become a more effective tool for herding livestock than sheep-dogs, claiming the drones stress the animals less than dogs and the drones have further uses besides moving the livestock – such as checking water and feed levels, as well as inspecting the farm without leaving the comfort of their home.
According to RadioNZ, some livestock such as cows can become prtotective of their offspring and will attempt to lunge at sheeo-dogs when they get too close to the herd.
"That's the one thing I've noticed when you're moving cows and calves that the old cows stand-up to the dogs, but with the drones, they've never done that," Lambeth said.
Aside from the herding aspect, drones can save farmers a lot of time and money.
"Just trying to get efficiencies too, to just save time, it can sometimes take half a day to find a water leak, whereas with a drone you can zip around and have it done in an hour at the longest," said Lamberth's employer Ben Crossley.
However, Lambeth claims that there is no replacing mans best friend, no matter how much the technology evolves.
"There's definitely going to be places for dogs always on farm, the one downside of the Mavic [drones] or anything electronic is you still need to bring them in and charge them," Lambeth said. "[However] the life span of a drone could not compete with 10 years of well look after dogs."
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