Farmers in New Zealand have found a new way to herd their sheep. They are now herding sheep with a drone, the DJ1 Mavic 2 Enterprise, outfitted with a speaker that barks like a dog. The farmers say that a single drone can do the work of multiple dogs. Check out the video below for the drone in action and some of the other sounds effects the farmers use.
Very intelligent dogs, like Border Collies, for instance, have been used for ages by farmers around the world to herd livestock. The dogs are now facing new competition from drones introduced by farmers in New Zealand. Outfitted with a speaker the unmanned aircraft can even bark to direct the sheep in the right direction.
The farmers use the DJ1 Mavic 2 Enterpreise drone that can be outfitted with a speaker and play pre-recorded sounds such as the bark of a dog. Or a siren or anything else that might persuade the livestock to get moving.
The farmers use drones for more than just herding cows and sheep. They also use the unmanned aerial systems to monitor their land, check on their water and feed supplies, and to check on livestock without disturbing them.
For comparison, a 2-hour herding job that generally requires two people and two teams of dogs can now be done in only 45 minutes using a single drone.
Farmer Jason Rentoul told Radio New Zealand: Being a hilly farm where a lot of stuff is done on foot, the drones really saved a lot of man hours,” he said. “The drone does the higher bits that you can’t see [from the ground], and you would [otherwise] have to walk half an hour to go and have a look and then go, ‘Oh, there was no sheep there.”
The use of drones to herd the sheep doesn’t replace the dogs altogether. Obviously, dogs can keep going for much longer than the typical 20 minutes that a drone can stay airborne. Furthermore, dogs can work in inclement weather conditions when drones cannot.