Remote sensing technology a highlight of workshops

Local landholders and pest managers will be introduced to some cutting edge remote sensing technology at two Watershed Landcare workshops to be held on 27 and 28 March in Gulgong and Pyramul.

A team from New Zealand’s Encounter Solutions will be discussing their long-range wireless sensor networks for rural and rugged areas, with applications for pest control operations. The backbone of the wireless network is the solar-powered Celium Hub, using the Iridium satellite or cellular networks to transport data from the field to a smartphone that can be deployed anywhere in the world.

Celium networks have been used to monitor pest traps the length and breadth of New Zealand and last year were trialled in the Cooper Basin, South Australia. This trial, in partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industry and Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, looked at alerting the team when wild dog traps were triggered.

Celium Hub: Macraes Flat, South Island, New Zealand

Foot-hold traps were set with a Celium Mole, a device hidden in the ground beneath the trap, that transmits an alert when the trap was sprung, sending a notification to the team. The Celium Moles communicated with a series of Celium Hubs, deployed for maximum coverage of the target trapping area. The trial also tested transmission quality and speed and enabled refinement of the application of the Celium Network.

“I can see a lot of potential for this system in our area. Checking traps is time consuming, on top of regular farm activities especially in dry times like we are experiencing now.” said Greg Lawson, chairman of both the Hargraves Hill End Wild Dog Group and the Mudgee Merriwa Wild Dog Association.

Mr Lawson is keen for landholders to come along and talk to the Encounter Solutions team.

“The alert system would be great to trial in our area, it could save us a huge amount of time and cost and ultimately improve welfare outcomes for trapped animals.” he continued.

The Gulgong workshop will be held at the Gulgong CWA Hall on 27 March and the Pyramul workshop will be held at Green Hills Crossroads Shearing Shed, Pyramul on 28 March. Both workshops will run from 9am to 4pm.

Attendance is free with morning tea and lunch provided, all welcome. For more information or to register please contact Watershed Landcare Pest Animal Group Coordinator, Beth Greenfield on 0438 090 525.