solar powered laser deters avian pests
IN-FIELD LASER: This solar-powered laser is a deterrent to birds with an appetite for fresh blueberries. A Jefferson, Ore., farm deployed the technology and boosted revenue.

Using lasers to deter avian pests

One Oregon grower turned to a high-tech solution when birds were devouring profits.

The sounds of songbirds is great in the morning. That sweet sound on a calm day on the farm is beautiful, but it's not always so welcome when those birds decide to dine on one of your high-value crops. That's the problem Meduri Farms faced, but it turned to a high-tech answer to solve the problem.

Based in Jefferson, Ore., the farm was suffering bird-inflicted crop damage that was a significant profit-robber. Justin Meduri, farm operations manager, runs the 168-acre blueberry operation, which had turned into a nice dinner buffet for area birds.

The annual cost of bird damage at the farm was about 25% of overall potential crop volume, or about $100,000. Meduri was searching for a solution that would be more effective than the tactics already in use on the farm. Apparently, there's only so much reflective balloons and other tools can do to keep birds away.

Agrilaser Autonomic from Bird Control Group was the solution Meduri found through a local provider — Oregon Vineyard Supply. The system is an automated laser that's used on blueberry farms around the world, including the blueberry research farm at Oregon State University. Agrilaser Autonomic claims more than 6,000 users of its laser tech globally.

Meduri leased the systems for the season from June to October, according to a company media release, and he commented that "it has been a success story ever since."

How it works
Birds have a natural instinct to avoid trouble, and the laser system plays on that response. Birds perceive an approaching laser beam as a predator, and they take flight to seek safety, according to the company.

Meduri installed six Agrilaser Autonomics equipped with solar panels at the outer edges of his farm. The lasers were directed to point at the blueberry bushes, to keep the birds away from the fruit.

In the media statement about the tech, Meduri said that it was hard work keeping birds away. "Last year before the lasers, we experienced the highest damage incurred by birds ever," he said. "Now, with the lasers, we don't even have to worry about it — we simply have no issue anymore."

The farm, according to Agrilaser Autonomic, is saving nearly 580,000 pounds of blueberries with nearly a $99,800 value.

Meduri Farms raises the blueberries as part of its dried fruit business. Since 1980, the farm has been working to be the premier infused dried fruit producer in the world. You can learn more about the farm at its website, medurifarms.com.

For more information about Agrilaser Autonomic, check out birdcontrolgroup.com, where there's more information about the system and how it works. The company serves customers in a wide range of industries that must deal with bird issues, including aviation, agriculture, oil and gas, and recreation.

Source: Bird Control Group

TAGS: Management
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