[08 March/Stuff NZ]

Drones are being used in Marlborough vineyards in order to scare away birds. Many methods have been used as an attempt to scare away birds preventing vineyard damage in the past, with varying levels of success but drones are now being used to target particular spots that birds tend to attack. Berakah Vineyard Management (BVM) Viticulturist Logie Mackenzie commented drones are proving to be effective and are limiting the need for gas guns in the vineyards. Mr Mackenzie added drones can cover a larger area in less time and have also reduced the need for netting on certain blocks which is another cost saver. Gas guns tend to receive complaints from neighbouring residents, with consistent banging can disturb sleep. Civil Aviation Authority New Zealand (CAA) commented each vineyard owner or operator should check if they can fly a drone over the property as some restrictions may occur, particularly around airports. CAA also recommended drone operators to get training.