Yea farmer Wayne Lording sits on his verandah, sips a cuppa and sends his drone to check the horses and cows.
A qualified helicopter pilot, Mr Lording is also building Australia’s first agriculture-specific drone.
‘‘Farmers have got to look at better and more cost-effective ways to manage their properties and drones are the best way to do it,’’ Mr Lording said on Thursday.
Mr Lording hopes to equip the $5000 drone with many small cameras and a small tank to spray weeds.
The Yea-based farmer often uses drones to check his cattle, saving time going out on horseback, by tractor, or car.
‘‘Sometimes I just sit on the back verandah having a cuppa. I’ll send the drone out to look at the water troughs and see if the horses are okay. That saves me a lot of time,’’ he said.
He is still looking at ways to extend the drone’s 30-minute flight time.
‘‘Flight times are the biggest problem for agriculturalists,’’ he said.
Mr Lording will be at the Avalon Airshow near Geelong with his homemade drone and will speak about how technology can improve farming practices.
Avalon Airshow spokesman Tom Bennett said drones were already being used on farms, but were set to be much more widely used as the technology developed.
‘‘Drones are the fastest growing in the sector of Australian aviation,’’ he said.
The conference will showcase a range of drones and their use in search and rescue, emergency services, industry and for amateur enthusiasts.
The Avalon Airshow will be held at the Avalon Airport from March 3 to 5.
Meanwhile, a new app is being developed to help people flying drones stay safe.
The app will show no-drone zones such as aerodromes, helicopter landing areas and restricted airspace.
These are all areas where it is not safe or legal to fly a drone.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has teamed up with specialist company Drone Complier to develop the smartphone, tablet and web-based app.
The app Can I fly there? is due to be launched in May.
Users of the app can see no-drone zones near their current location or enter a location where they want to fly.
The app will be ideal for recreational drone flyers and people operating in the new under 2kg commercial category.
The app is an important initiative by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to reduce the risk of a mid-air collision between a drone and an aircraft.