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American blueberry grower solves bird problem with laser technology

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Justin Meduri, Farm Operations Manager of Meduri Farms has a 168 acres blueberry farm that suffered from crop damage inflicted by birds. The annual cost of bird damage at Meduri Farms was quantified at approximately 25% of the overall potential crop volume, or approximately $100,000.

When Justin Meduri looked for a more effective bird repellent solution, he discovered the Agrilaser Autonomic via the local solutions integrator Oregon Vineyard Supply. The automated laser is used at blueberry farms around the world such as John Benson in Australia and the blueberry research farm of Oregon State University in the United States. There are 6,000 users of the laser technology worldwide. Justin was intrigued by the possibility of the laser and leased the systems for the season from June until October. “It has been a success story ever since,” he reports.

The laser bird deterrent technology takes advantage of a bird’s natural instincts. Birds perceive an approaching laser beam as a predator and take flight to seek safety. Meduri Farms installed 6 Agrilaser Autonomics equipped with solar panels at the outer areas of his farm projecting on the blueberry bushes. Therefore, preventing birds from coming near the bushes. “Previously we had to work hard to keep the birds away. Last year before the lasers, we experienced the highest damage incurred by birds ever. Now with the lasers, we don’t even have to worry about it – we simply have no issue anymore.” As a result of the bird deterrent lasers, Meduri Farms will save each year 578,713 lbs (262,500 kg) of blueberries worth $99,733.

Bird damage across the United States

According to research done by numerous US universities, American fruit growers lose tens of millions of dollars each year as a result of birds damaging crops and ineffective bird repelling methods. Oregon and Washington have the biggest blueberry crop damage caused by birds per hectare. The damage per hectare for blueberries equals to $4,571 for Oregon and is calculated at $11,238,095 for the entire state. Current yield-loss percentage due to bird damage in blueberry production in Oregon is the highest among other states and is on average 18.2%. The birds responsible for damage to blueberry crops include American Robins, European Starlings and Blackbirds.

 

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