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Greenworld – Spring 2016

News

Like our Premium Trolley

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Ladybird drones

Scientists in Denmark are planning to use

drones filled with ladybirds and other beneficial

insects to battle plant pests without the use

of chemicals. The project has been dubbed

EcoDrone and is a joint venture between the

University of Southern Denmark and the

company Ecobotix.

Work is underway to devise a spreader that

can distribute insects without harming them

or causing them to harm each other. Associate

Professor Søren Wiatr Borg from the Institute of

Technology and Innovation says predatory mites

eat each other if there’s nowhere for them to hide

so they have to be transported in a tank filled with

vermiculite so they can hide from each other.

The researchers are hoping that an efficient

way to distribute beneficial insects will

decrease pesticide use and increase organic

production levels even for crops where

broadacre farming is practiced.

Visitors soaked it all up at the irrigation conference

The Irrigation Australia International

Conference and Exhibition was held at the

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

from May 24−26. It has been eight years since

Irrigation Australia has held its conference and

exhibition in Melbourne. The decision to host

the conference was welcomed by the City of

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who

said he was pleased to welcome 3000 irrigation

industry professionals to Melbourne.

“With our network of 480 hectares of

internationally acclaimed parks and gardens,

the City of Melbourne understands that clever

irrigation is key to keeping our green spaces healthy

and thriving,” he told conference organisers.

Senator, the Hon. Anne Ruston, Assistant

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources,

officially opened the conference. This year’s theme

was ‘Irrigation for prosperity and wellbeing’,

and according to Senator Ruston, the Australian

Government has placed a huge priority on

water, seeing it as a fundamental resource for the

economy. She said that irrigation in southern parts

of Australia in particular, is a “vital pillar” for the

Australian agricultural landscape.

“We are transitioning out of an economy that

was reliant on mining into an economy of the

future, an economy of innovation. We now as a

government have decided to focus on becoming

the smartest, brightest and most innovative in

the world. This is a classic example of an industry

transitioning into a new, smart industry,” she said.

Three full days of workshops were held in the

exhibition area to showcase irrigation products and

services. This was open to all exhibition attendees

and provided an opportunity for visitors and

conference delegates to have a hands-on look at

equipment as well as to learn about the industry

services in an interactive environment. The show

will be on again in 2018.

- Lauren Butler

In the future, ladybirds and other beneficial insects may be spread

to large-scale crops by drones.

Exhibitors showcased live plant displays to demonstrate products.