This article looks at the views of farmers, rural professionals and regulators on drone use for environmental compliance purposes. It also discusses the benefits they see in this type of technology and their concerns.
Technological advances in recent years have led to the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, for multiple roles on-farm such as moving livestock and spraying weeds. Meanwhile, the ongoing evolution of environmental regulations in New Zealand has brought challenges to all parties involved in environmental compliance, including farmers, rural professionals and regulators.
The farm plans that have been used to identify risks to and develop mitigation strategies for freshwater quality can be time-consuming and costly to develop and monitor. Can ‘eye in the sky’ drones help improve the efficiency of these environmental compliance processes? To find out, we set out to seek the opinions of farmers, auditors and regulators with the following research questions in mind: