Tasmanian seed grower reduces crop loss from 10-15% to 0% with the laser bird repellent

Location: Tasmania, Australia
Application context: Horticulture (Agriculture)
Problem definition: Bird damage to seed crops
Bird species: Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Bird behavior: Foraging
Time of the year with bird problems: Winter and summer cropping
Time of the day with bird problems: All day with additional pressure at dusk and dawn
Number of systems: 1 x AVIX Autonomic Mark II
In use since: November 2020
Laser projection area: 1.27 hectares (3,14 acres)
Number of birds before installation: 50
Number of birds after installation: 0
Bird reduction after the laser deployment: 100%
Annual cost of bird damage before the laser deployment: AUD 5,000
Annual cost of bird damage after the laser deployment: AUD 0

Tasmanian seed grower reduces crop loss from 15-20% to 0% with the laser bird repellent

Birds challenge the Tasmanian growers

For many growers around the world, farming is a lifestyle and not merely a day job. It is their life’s work, a passion that is rewarded with the satisfaction of completing one of the most challenging jobs efficiently. Along with the knowledge that they have worked to make a difference to the agricultural industry’s future.

Andrew Craigie from Northern Tasmania is one of those growers. Andrew works at Craigie Bros, his family farm outside of Devonport. As a family business that started around 165 years ago, the Craigie Bros grow a variety of seed crops (e.g., canola and cabbage), potatoes and vegetables. Andrew has spent 25 years as a grower in Tasmania; with his experience in the industry, he is fully aware of the challenges that come with working in the industry. One of the most serious challenges is the damage to the crops by birds.

Andrew recently explained that around 12 months ago he lost an entire cabbage seed crop to birds. They attempted to eliminate birds in the past using more traditional methods, such as audio scaring systems and lethal action. However, nothing worked and it resulted in the loss of the whole crop.

Laser bird repellent saves crop

In 2021, coming into a new season, Andrew is growing his first hybrid canola seed crop, a ready-to-grow seed, a lucrative crop for the family business. Usually, the Craigie Bros lose up to 15%-20% of their crop to birds. Craigie explains, “on the first day we planted the hybrid canola crop, 25 skylarks dived straight into the crop.”

As this new season’s crop was crucial for the business, Andrew needed a drastic solution. Craigie deployed the AVIX Autonomic Mark II laser bird repellent that they found out about from Bird Beam. 

Bird Beam is an Australian partner of Bird Control Group (manufacturer of the laser bird deterrent). The laser bird repellent is designed to project a green laser beam onto an area with high bird pressure, potentially at risk from bird damage. The laser beam sweeps across the area and as the green laser beam moves closer to the birds their natural danger instinct perceives it as a threat and they flee the area immediately. The AVIX Autonomic Mark II can be programmed in a variety of applications.

Laser bird repellent is an innovative tool for controlling birds

Last year Craigie planted a lot of high-value seed crops, approximately 1 tonne. He explained, “In total, we lost about 15% to birds, but after deploying the laser this year, we have a 0% loss. “The laser is an excellent addition to controlling birds on specific crops, and it is a game-changer for growers who plant a variety of crops.” Craigie knows he is not the only one who uses this bird control system, as he has witnessed it in use on leafy green crops in Victoria and Tasmania.

The laser bird repellent is a humane bird control system. The Craigie Bros deploy their laser 24/7 using a different program in the evening than they use during the day. “The laser system is completely silent; the green laser beam is visible, but not a disturbance. We can turn the system off at any time, and there is a lot of safety for anyone that might enter the block the laser is protecting” says Andrew Craigie.

“I strongly believe that the laser bird deterrent is something that everyone should try and work out for themselves how much it will change their growing experience because it will change what they’re doing.”

Andrew Craigie from Craigie Bros

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