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Episode 50 - Drone Mustering


On the land, mustering takes many forms. It can be done on horseback, on motorbike, with a helicopter but my guest today plans for his AgTech start-up to become the first company in the world to commercialise livestock mustering with drones. SkyKelpie has been undergoing trials and there are some exciting results for cost savings, animal welfare and the environment. Founder Luke Chaplain is the perfect guest to coincide with this year’s National Agriculture Day. The theme being Innovation. Today we discuss:

  • A hill on Malakoff Station in north-west Queensland, is Luke’s favourite place on the property.

  • Discovering drones and how he started using them as an application for mustering stock.

  • How Luke is able to safely move cattle– piloting it behind the mob of cattle which sets them running in the right direction and then bringing it back in front to slow them down. How easy is it to learn how to do this?

  • The results from some of Luke’s recent trials for drone mustering in collaboration with the local Shire Council.

  • The advantages of drone mustering vs traditional practices like horseback, motorbikes and helicopters.

  • Drone mustering can be done at night through thermal imaging and there is an advantage to moving cattle in the cooler hours.

  • Safety is a big factor when working with cattle and how drones can reduce this risk.

  • Film-making is a passion of Luke’s and his short film coming soon.

  • Becoming the recipient of a highly coveted Nuffield Australia Scholarship award.

  • Travelling the world doing research and setting up a system to be expanded to other landholders.

  • The next steps to commercialise drone mustering as a practice and the regulatory requirements.

  • Luke’s favourite thing about life on the land.

  • The most unexpected thing to happen after a muster.

  • Common misconceptions about life on the land.

  • Luke’s dream for the future of drone mustering.

We hope to see you back on the road soon, to learn more about how Australia grows on the next episode of Australian Farmers with Angie Asimus.

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