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Agriculture, forestry and fishing

The uptake of drone technology will have positive flow on impacts for key end use industries across Australia.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries offer the largest potential for cost savings and improvement in productive processes to improve agricultural yields, with forecast savings ranging from $310 to $940 million in 2040 (Deloitte Access Economics, 2020).

Use cases

There are several uses for drones to support greater efficiencies in primary produce industries. High-tech drones are already in use in agriculture, allowing operators to remotely pilot, and in some cases automate processes such as planting, livestock management, crop spraying and mapping. These potential drone uses are leading and supporting a new branch of agricultural processes, sometimes referred to as precision agriculture.

Drones can deliver faster, more precise results than traditional processes, which are often labour intensive or require machinery or hire charges, for example. In the agricultural sector, drones are being used to improve the accuracy of pesticide and herbicide delivery, which reduces excess spraying and the potential impacts of runoff on local ecosystems. 

In addition to existing processes, drones are also an enabling technology for advanced agricultural practices. Relatively low cost, 3D mapping and aerial imagery of farms are enabling farmers to tailor the level and distribution of soil and chemical additives over the crop, ensuring each area of the farm receives the optimal amount of additive. Consequently, drones have the potential to be a catalyst for increases in agricultural yields.

Business uptake and cost savings

An estimated 10% of agricultural business in Australia currently use drones to support operational processes. By 2040, it is forecast that agricultural drone adoption will reach 8,300 units under the low uptake model and 23,900 units under the high uptake model (Deloitte Access Economics, 2020, p. 28). This will create significant cost savings and support improvements in productive processes to improve agricultural yields

Cumulatively, cost savings for the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry are forecast to amount to $3.5 to $10.4 billion from 2020 to 2040 over low, medium and high uptake scenarios (Deloitte Access Economics, 2020, p. 44). There are also potential environmental non-market benefits as drones have the potential to reduce the total quantity of additives for crops including pesticides as well as crop water use.

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Other benefits of drones in Australia
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Benefits of drones in Australia

Economic benefits

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Benefits of drones in Australia

Transport and logistics

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Benefits of drones in Australia

Construction industry

Read more

Other benefits of drones in Australia
Figure of Economic benefits
Benefits of drones in Australia

Economic benefits

Figure of Transport and logistics
Benefits of drones in Australia

Transport and logistics

Figure of Construction industry
Benefits of drones in Australia

Construction industry