Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Video: Cavendish farmer ditches traditional scarecrow in favour of home-made drone to scare pigeons away from his crops

21:00 18 April 2014

Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.

Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.

Archant

They have ravaged the region’s fields for centuries.

Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.

But now one west Suffolk farmer has found a novel way to rid his land of pigeons that gobble up his crops – drone strikes.

Richard Maddever, said the six rotor hexacoptor, which he built from a kit at his home in Cavendish and can travel on autopilot at speeds of up to 40mph, has the potential to become a vital tool in the war on feathers.

The 27-year-old, who has now ordered a second larger drone, said he had decided to trial the system to see if there were more effective ways to control birds than traditional scarecrows and gas guns.

He added: “Every spring the pigeons become a real problem on the farm. I have got a real interest in aviation and I thought I’d try it. They are getting a bit cheaper so we thought we would trial it for pest control.”

Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.

The unit cost Mr Maddever in excess of £1,000, but could come in for as little as £500 without autopilot – about the same as more conventional, low-tech methods.The entrepreneurial farmer said: “You don’t have to suffer much from pigeons to lose £1,000 of rape.”

It is estimated that more than three quarters of East Anglia’s farmers suffer crop damage. An NFU survey carried out in 2010 reported that without preventative measures pigeons could have cost the region’s farmers between £45 million and £53 million.

Mr Maddever, who said the drone could last 20 minutes in the air, said there were other advantages to using the battery-powered hexacopter for pest control as well as pure speed.

He added: “The autopilot can fly round fields you can’t see, which is useful when you’ve got 500acres of fields. But having said that, it’s quicker and more fun to fly it yourself. As I tell people keeping it fun is half the battle with pigeon chasing; if you’re vigilant you go out and chase two or three times a day and you protect the crop more. So if it’s more fun to do then hopefully you’ll end up with a better protected crop.”

Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.Richard Maddever has built and uses an unmanned drone to scare pigeons at his west Suffolk farm.

The results have so far been promising on Mr Maddever’s farm.

He said: “I quickly learned the pigeons are more scared when it’s higher, like a bird of prey. They feel threatened by that, but I also put on some lights and a noise-maker just to make sure. The pigeons are long gone before the drone reaches them.”

A road/rail vehicle used to install new overhead wires at Shenfield in Essex.

If it’s a bank holiday, Network Rail must be closing the main line to London again!

Chris May's family: Mum Lorraine May and sisters Gemma and Charlene May.

The family of missing Kelvedon man Chris May have asked anyone withholding any information which might help solve his disappearance to call police and help end their “suffering”.

Photo issued by Essex Police of James Fairweather. Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire

A double murderer who killed two people in less than three months hopes to appeal his jail sentence on the grounds it is “excessive.”

The fire in Ipswich Road, Naughton was reported at 6.10pm.

Firefighters tackled a chimney blaze in a Suffolk village on Wednesday evening.

Suffolk County Council and Active Norfolk Aviva Women's Tour media ride launched in Southwold on Wednesday 25th May.

Some of the best female cyclists in the world visited Suffolk yesterday as preparations for next month’s Aviva Women’s Tour.

Clive Hambling, pictured with with his 1958 Ford Consul at a previous event.

More than 50 classic vehicles are to be displayed along the seafront of a Suffolk town this bank holiday weekend.

Watch the new equestrian challenge

There are just days to go until the gates open for the 2016 Suffolk Show, and with an action packed programme set to please visitors, organisers have shared their top 10 new things to enjoy at this year’s show:

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24