Marano Farms, like most farms in Queensland have been dealing with a feral pig infestation, which are considered Queensland’s most widespread and damaging pest animals which have been wreaking havoc on their sugarcane crops. With a keen eye for innovation, Margaret thought of identifying the feral pigs through aerial thermal imagery with a focus on detecting and tracking to allow for hunting.
Margaret Marano, along with husband Joe Marano, own Marano Farms and have a history of implementing innovative technology into farming activities, and our team were keen to introduce a drone solution to their repertoire.
Margaret contacted our team looking for a drone that can be used to detect and locate feral pigs in and around her family’s sugarcane farm. Margaret shared that the feral pigs are becoming an ever-increasing problem in the area and are responsible for crop losses of up to 15% per year.
Margaret explained to our team that the feral pigs prefer to come out during the night, this is believed to be due to heat and the lack of sweat glands. This makes detecting and tracking the invasive species challenging and time consuming. The pigs have also come accustomed to the sound of humans approaching and will stay still in silent in the cane proving difficult to identify from ground level.
Sugarcane is often dense, making it hard to see invasive animals walking through it.
Working with our in-house agricultural specialist, Cian Gleeson, our team were able to put the DJI Mavic 3 Thermal up as the best option. The Mavic 3T is DJI’s latest compact thermal drone, featuring a 640x512px thermal sensor, a 56x zoom camera, and a flight time of 45 minutes. It can be equipped with an optional speaker module allowing for real-time communication and mustering livestock.
This combination of RGB and thermal cameras, zoom, and long flight time means the feral pigs can be detected during the night and in lowlight conditions without having to worry about battery life, making it a perfect solution for detection and tracking use cases, and mustering if required.
A team of pigs on the move, oblivious of the thermal drone above.
After using the drone on more than 12 occasions since receiving it, Margaret has been able to detect and track feral pigs around the farm, with the information passed onto a team of hunters quickly and efficiently.
Recently, Margaret’s husband Joe Marano was featured on the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website for numerous innovative initiatives, including the use of GPS-guided machinery, increased row spacings. And now drone technology can be added to the list.