Responsibility and Change
Birds are one of the biggest threats to the Australian horticulture sector, causing severe crop losses each year. In Australia, bird damage to horticulture is estimated at nearly $300 million annually.
Pest birds have become a challenge for the food industry as they can harbor over 40 different types of parasites and can be the host for over 60 infectious diseases. Moving towards a ‘no-kill’ policy is the latest shift towards environment governance, contract management and utilizing enabling technology, working towards a sustainable future for our wildlife. This move is led by the heavyweight market buyers, knowing their customers place value on ethically sourced food.
Protecting crops from birds is extremely important to meet the growing demand for fruits and vegetables. Right before the harvest, birds fly down and peck on the vulnerable plants and then begin to roost in the area. Birds cause considerable economic damage to an array of crops. Although this is most common during the ripening period, it can also happen during sowing and seedling stages.
Evidence Based Outcome
One of the many Australian growers that benefit from this solution is John Benson, owner of a small blueberry farm in Cherokee, Victoria. John started using the AVIX Autonomic Laser in 2016 to stand up against the beautiful, but voracious, Rosella parrots. The situation before the laser was quite horrifying: without expensive netting the birds would damage most of the crop. By installing the laser system 6 weeks before the harvest, John Benson saves more than 65% of his blueberries from birds and has less issues with contamination of fruit.
Why We Should be Concerned
The presence of birds poses a serious risk to a company’s reputation as they are often the cause of contamination to stock, the manufacturing process, and the health and safety of the employees.
The most concerning health risks come from bird droppings because they are a place for disease organisms to grow as the droppings are high in nutrients. The feathers and debris that build up over time from birds roosting can bring external parasites, which can cause health risks for employees. Bird droppings should be removed on time, this of course adds to the labor and maintenance program and budget.
Birds are expected, bird damage is erratic, the only assurance is your artillery of devices. Most traditional methods fail as birds become accustomed to them. Gas guns are noisy, shooting is expensive and labor intensive, nets need maintenance and inhumane, poisoning is illegal. Once the green laser beam is projected, it will deter birds between 70-90% efficacy.
Installation of an automated AVIX bird control tool is a biosafety measure that can help both growers and food-processing facilities save time and be more cost-efficient.
Future planning for consumer confidence is key.