|Location:||Leongatha, Victoria, Australia|
|Application context:||Pea and bean farm (Agriculture)|
|Problem definition:||Birds destroying crops|
|Bird species:||Crows (Corvidae)|
|Time of the year with bird problems:||July – March|
|Time of the day with bird problems:||From dusk till dawn|
|Number of systems:||1 x AVIX Autonomic Mark II|
|In use since:||October 2019|
|Laser crow deterrent projection area:||40 hectares (99 acres)|
|Bird reduction after the laser crow deterrent deployment:||96%|
|Before laser deployment||After laser deployment|
|Average yearly production per ha:||1,500 kg||3,300 kg|
|Number of birds:||400||16|
|Crop loss due to birds:||30%-60%||1.2%|
|Yearly production of the farm:||60,000 kg||132,000 kg|
|Saved production as a result of the laser deployment:||–||72,000 kg|
Pulse farm decreases crow damage by 96% and increases revenue by 22% with crow deterrent lasers
Australian pulse industry
Pulses are grains that are grown for human consumption; this includes beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and lupin. They contain a high protein and nutritional value and are a vital component of most people’s diets around the world1.
Australia produces an estimated 2.2 million tonnes of pulses, which are grown over more than 1.8 million hectares in the southern and northern regions. A large proportion of the Australia pulse crop is exported to international markets. Total exports are equal to 1.99 billion Australian dollars.
Table 1: Average pulse production in Australia
Five year average up to 2017-18 (financial years) Source: ABARES
As a result of the high value these crops hold, Australian farmers are supported by pulse agronomists, to ensure that they can produce pulses that are of the highest quality. This is accomplished by using the most advanced technology to prevent any challenges that may reduce the quality.
One of the issues the industry faces is bird damage to crops. Australian farmers and pulse agronomists are challenged to find a cost-effective and sustainable bird control solution.
Many traditional bird control methods like gas cannons, bird netting, and sound devices are not long-term effective and don’t bring the desired results.
Crow damage to pulses
Bordonaro Produce is a pea and bean farm owned by Paul and Sam Bordonaro located in Victoria, Australia. Just like many other farmers, Paul had to deal with crow damage to his crops.
The farm had a yearly loss of 30-60% from from hundreds of crows eating the pea pods and the peas themselves. Crows can destroy peas in a matter of hours, and they are always around from dusk till dawn.
Paul Bordonaro explained, “We couldn’t monitor the crows 24/7, we would have to employ someone to sit in the field and scare them off, and that’s just not feasible”. They invested in many gas guns that are set to go off every 15 minutes. Eventually, the crows began to get used to these sounds and would return to the pea crops faster each time.
Cost-efficient solution to reduce crow damage
In January and February, many farms take a huge loss of their pulses due to birds. This results in a higher demand for pulses as there is a limited supply. To solve this issue, Paul needed to know how to get rid of crows and went on the lookout for a solution. He found out that unlike the traditional crow deterrent methods, laser bird repellents from Bird Control Group are very effective in scaring crows away and he decided to get in touch with E.E. Muir & Sons (an Australian partner of Bird Control Group).
A local representative of E.E. Muir & Sons visited Bordonaro Produce and provided a demonstration of the AVIX Autonomic Mark II. AVIX Autonomic Mark II is a fully automated laser bird repellent device, which effectively and harmlessly keeps birds away 24/7. The green laser beam poses a physical threat to the crows, as the green laser beam moves towards them they disperse from the area within seconds. The laser can be put up before the harvest season to prevent bird damage. Paul saw the immediate results of the laser crow deterrent system during the demonstrations and was convinced to get one at his farm.
After a few months of the laser deployment, Bordonaro Produce managed to decrease its bird number by 96%, saved 72,000 kg of peas and beans and increased revenue by 22%.
“There was direct evidence that the green laser beam did pose a threat to the birds as it moved across our field. It is a great instrument for our farm and has definitely paid for itself. We would be pretty happy to get another one.”
Paul Bordonaro, Owner of Bordonaro Produce, Victoria, Australia