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Small Earth observation drones, such as this ATMOS-6 from Spanish manufacturer CATUAV, may be used to monitor farmers in Ireland for EU farm payment compliance.

Farmers in Ireland who are tempted to claim too much in European Union (EU) farm payments may have to answer to evidence provided by camera-carrying drones.

Drones are being used in Northern Ireland to monitor larch trees but could also be used in the future to snoop on fraudulent farmers claiming too much in EU farm payments.

“Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) may offer an effective and efficient solution to the mapping of these (remote commons) areas, which in turn could help improve compliance with EU Single Farm Payment rules,” said Farms Minister Michelle O’Neill.

“These and other uses will be explored throughout 2013,” she added. “The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is actively considering UAS procurement to use in two other areas of work, namely to assist with work in the surveillance and statutory control of quarantine organisms harmful to plants and to help map areas such as commons.”

Image courtesy of CATUAV.

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