Over 60 bird species are problematic for the Australian agricultural industry. The total bird damage to agriculture is estimated at 300 million Australian dollars.
Australian growers are finding it challenging to choose bird control methods that work. Most traditional methods don’t work as birds become accustomed to them. Furthermore, they are faced with an increased legal restriction to killing native bird species.
For example, in New South Wales, Australia, all bird control techniques should be humane. Some of the native bird species such as silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) and smaller bird species, can cause severe damage to a range of crops. Therefore, it makes protecting crops more difficult.
AVIX Autonomic Protecting Crops at Summerhill Road Vineyard
Why is bird netting not effective enough?
The first challenge of netting is that birds can become tangled in the darker colored bird netting which is less visible than white netting. This poses more of a visual barrier that birds can avoid. The thickness and mesh diameter can also influence the visibility of birds and increase the chances that they will get caught in the netting.
Netting requires a lot of time and costs to ensure that it is installed properly and effectively to protect crops. Although netting can be managed by regular inspections, this can take a lot of time and increase farmers’ labor costs. Netting cost Australian farmers more than 10,000 Australian dollars per hectare. This also means that they need regular maintenance, which can take up a lot of time, and if not installed correctly, bird damage can still occur.
More and more farmers are being educated on humane bird control. Governments have more restrictions on getting rid of nests and encourage people to use bird control methods that are safe for both humans and birds.
AVIX Autonomic Mark ll
Alternative bird repellent method
A laser bird repellent device provides 24/7 protection against birds, by being able to use 16 different patterns to project the laser across a field where the birds will perceive it as a threat and will immediately disperse.
One important thing for Australian growers is to follow bird netting restrictions, which are put in place so that native birds species are not harmed. Australian growers wanted to find an alternative to netting that was going to be safe and cost-effective. The automated laser bird repellent has safety features and uses solar panels to power the system. Australian growers can be sustainable by protecting the native bird species and ensure safety for humans when the device is running at the same time.
Summerhill Road Vineyard located in the Canberra Wine District of Australia has historically used netting to prevent bird damage, which resulted in approximately 4,000 Australian dollars in annual labor costs. They wanted to find a replacement for their 15-year-old netting and evaluated alternatives. They started using the Autonomic which worked for them due to a few factors. First of all, its silent functionality compared to other methods like gas cannons was beneficial. Second of all, they also found it much more cost-effective compared to netting. They reached around 80-90% bird reduction with the automated laser bird repellent
- Managing Bird Damage to Fruit and Other Horticultural Crops, 2007.Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.
- Pest Defence, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.pestdefence.co.uk/news/pros-and-cons-bird-control-methods/