Farmers who own and operate drones over their land can start applying for new mandatory operator accreditation and aircraft registration from the end of this month.
The new rules are part of legislation passed by the Federal Government in July last year to increase the regulatory safety and operating framework around Australia's booming unmanned aircraft sector.
They will apply to all remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or drones except those flown for sport and recreation.
While farmers who operate drones up to 25 kilograms over their own land (including leased country) won't need a remote pilot licence, they must register their aircraft and obtain operator accreditation by January 28 next year. No fees will apply until next June.
Drone registration and operator accreditation applications can be made through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's (CASA) online portal.
The first step is to create a myCASA account and apply for an aviation reference number (ARN).
Operator accreditation consists of a short safety video and online quizz.
CASA has also been consulting with stakeholders about the future needs of the booming drone sector.
One issue for agriculture is the current restriction that drones must be flown in the line-of-sight.
This is a problem for outback graziers who want to use unmanned aircraft to do surveillance work such as water and stock monitoring on their large stations.
Meanwhile, with more farmers looking at buying drones, training has become an important issue.
Molong-based drone instructor Ben Watts, who has been helping the NSW Farmers Association with its training programs, said first-time buyers of drones needed to practise until they were expert in flying them.
"I always say to people you want to start with a good one but you want to practise for 21 days, practise, practise, practise in the backyard and if you can put the chocks away at the end of 21 days then you can take it to work.
"You don't want to go out into a large paddock and try and do some involved work on your first couple of days."