Drones get onto tussock in the Western Grasslands Reserve

This article was published in the Wyndham Starweekly and can be read by clicking here.

(Supplied/Wyndham City Facebook).

Wyndham council is using drones to spray weeds in rough terrain under a trail being carried out at the Western Grassland Reserve.

A council spokesperson said that the state government was establishing a 15,000-hectare grassland reserve, outside the Urban Growth Boundary south-east of Melton and west of Werribee, to help protect critically endangered natural temperate grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.

“About 11,000 hectares of the proposed reserve falls within the boundary of Wyndham city, the equivalent of about up 20 per cent of the municipality,” the spokesperson said.

“Currently much of the land is still in private ownership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) overseeing the public acquisition of land parcels to form the reserve.

“Where the land is in private ownership, DELWP and Wyndham city have partnered to undertake interim management with the private land managers, promoting best practice weed control.”

The spokesperson said that follow-up treatment targeting artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus) required “more detailed and accurate spraying capabilities, emphasising the need for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS or drones)”.

“This state-of-the-art technology can identify weed species and spot spray individual plants, as well as boom spray large areas and produce detailed mapping for management,” they said.

“Wyndham has previously tackled large scale serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) control via a helicopter fitted with agricultural spraying capabilities at one property.

“Initial results are promising, and council will continue to monitor the site and continue follow-up treatment as required.

“This method of herbicide application was only approved for use in Victoria in 2021 and Wyndham city was quick to seize the opportunity adding this to our arsenal for battling weeds.”