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Tuesday, 10 May 1960

Mr Swartz z asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

1.   Has there been a steady increase in the number of light aircraft used in Australia for agricultural purposes?

2.   What is the number of these aircraft at present operating in each State?

3.   What are the main agricultural purposes for which these light aircraft are used?

Mr Adermann - The answers to the honorable member's questions are: -

1.   Yes. There has been an increase in the number of aircraft employed since the early postwar years when a Tiger Moth plane dusted 6,000 acres of crops. In the year ended 30th June, 1959, over 2,000,000 acres were treated from agricultural aircraft.

2.   There are approximately 88 aircraft operating in Australia. An interesting trend, especially in the eastern States, is the replacement of older type aircraft, such as Tiger Moths, having a carrying capacity of i ton, with new types many of which have a load capacity of i ton. Distribution among the States is fairly elastic and depends on factors such as season and the specific work in hand, e.g. top-dressing of pastures or applying pest control chemicals. Approximately half the aircraft are located in eastern States and half in Western Australia.

3.   The major uses for light aircraft in agriculture are in the application of (a) fertilizers, mainly superphosphate; (b) agricultural chemicals, especially spraying and dusting of insecticides on crops and pastures, and weedicides; (c) seed, especially pasture species; and (d) baits for rabbit destruction. The following figures show the areas treated throughout Australia during the year ended 30th June, 1959:-

Superphosphate, 956,908 acres. Agricultural chemicals, 782,178 acres. Seed, 285,510 acres. Baits for rabbit destruction, 94,510 acres.

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