Retired farmers take to the skies

G-MW shows off its drone technology

Water
DRONE DISPLAY: Retired Numurkah farmers John Blackman and Ian Clark, with accredited drone pilot and GMW Draughting Officer Graeme Eadie.

DRONE DISPLAY: Retired Numurkah farmers John Blackman and Ian Clark, with accredited drone pilot and GMW Draughting Officer Graeme Eadie.

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Retired farmers see new G-MW technology in action.

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November provided good flying weather for a key tool of Goulburn-Murray Water’s Survey Services Team.

Drones are now routinely used by GMW to save time and money when it comes to planning, construction and maintenance of the more than $5 billion in irrigation assets in its care and control.

The team took time out to explain the use of drones, and put on an aerial display, for a keen audience at Numurkah District Health Service in mid-November.

As part of its Numurkah Network of Planned Activity Groups, the health service hosts monthly meetings of elderly residents to keep them engaged and involved in the community.

The network’s rural group is comprised of farmers, most with a cropping or dairy background, who have retired to Numurkah or handed over the operations to family members. 

About a dozen members, along with nursing staff, were able to chat over morning tea and have a first-hand look at several drones, including the high-tech Matrice 210 and its thermal imaging camera and accessories.

The group then went to some nearby netball courts, where GMW employees and CASA-accredited pilots, Draughting Officer Graeme Eadie and Service Manager Rohan Forster, put a less expensive, but highly capable, DJI drone through its aerial paces.

With permission, the drone snapped some “selfies” of the group while the practical applications of these new survey tools were shown with the flying demonstration.

“These tools help us quickly, efficiently and accurately map channels and access otherwise inaccessible areas, check the structural integrity of our infrastructure and have a host of other uses,” Survey Services manager Glenn Collins said.

“Such exercises also help to spread the word on how drones are contributing to safety and saving time and effort in the field.”

Mr Collins said it was also a pleasure for GMW to show new technology to farmers who have lived through decades of their own forms of innovation in agriculture.

“These people are all former customers of GMW, and many in their family remain our customers today,” Mr Collins said.  “We appreciate their interest and continued involvement in the efficient running of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.”

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