14 June 2024
"Laser Scarecrow Technology: Revolutionizing Crop Protection"

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Farmers face annual financial losses in the millions due to bird-related crop damage, but a novel approach may help. Laser scarecrow technology, developed by teams at the University of Florida and the University of Rhode Island, harnesses light to ward off avian pests, offering a sustainable and innovative defense mechanism for agricultural fields.

Laser scarecrows: a high-tech solution for protecting crops



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Every year, millions of dollars are lost due to damage caused by birds to crops. But now, scientists from the University of Florida and the University of Rhode Island are exploring a new solution to this problem: laser scarecrows. These high-tech devices use light to deter birds and could offer a sustainable and cost-effective way to protect crops.

How do laser scarecrows work?

In a recent study published in Pest Management Science, researchers presented captive flocks of European Starlings with fresh ears of sweetcorn and tested the effectiveness of devices emitting a moving laser beam. The results showed that these laser scarecrows can significantly reduce damage to crops, up to 20 meters from the laser device.

Why are lasers a good option for protecting sweet corn?

One of the reasons lasers are particularly effective in protecting sweet corn is because birds only target the crop during a short period known as the “vulnerability window.” This window lasts only 5-10 days, which reduces the risk of birds becoming desensitized to the lasers. Additionally, lasers can be combined with other non-lethal deterrents, such as loud noises, to further enhance their effectiveness.

What did the study find?

The study involved two types of trials: Stick Trials and Natural Trials. In Stick Trials, fresh sweet corn ears were mounted on sticks at varying distances from laser units, while in Natural Trials, birds foraged on ripe corn grown from seed in a flight pen. The results showed that lasers reduced sweet corn damage marginally in Stick Trials, but dramatically in Natural Trials. This difference in effectiveness can be attributed to the sturdiness of the sticks used in Stick Trials compared to natural corn stalks.

How far can lasers deter birds?

The study also examined how distance from the lasers affected the amount of damage to the sweetcorn. It was found that lasers were effective in deterring birds up to 20 meters from the laser source. However, beyond this distance, damage to the crop increased, with little to no deterrence at 30 meters. This information is valuable for farmers when deciding where to place laser scarecrows in their fields.

Why are laser scarecrows a sustainable solution?

Laser scarecrows offer several advantages over other deterrent methods. They are silent, unlike acoustic deterrents that can be disturbing to neighbors and workers. Lethal deterrents require permits, time, and labor to apply, and can have toxic effects on wildlife, soil, and water. Laser scarecrows provide a non-lethal and environmentally friendly alternative that can be easily implemented by farmers.

Conclusion

The use of laser scarecrows could revolutionize the way we protect crops from bird damage. Their effectiveness in deterring birds, especially during the short vulnerability window of crops like sweet corn, makes them a promising solution for farmers. By combining affordability, portability, and sustainability, laser scarecrows have the potential to save millions of dollars in crop losses and provide a more environmentally friendly approach to protecting our food sources.

Read More: Laser scarecrows could offer a sustainable solution for protecting crops from birds

https://phys.org/news/2024-01-laser-scarecrows-sustainable-solution-crops.html

FAQ’s

How do laser scarecrows work?

Laser scarecrows emit a moving laser beam that deters birds from approaching crops. In studies, they have been shown to significantly reduce damage to crops up to 20 meters from the laser device.

Why are lasers a good option for protecting sweet corn?

Lasers are effective in protecting sweet corn because birds only target the crop during a short vulnerability window. This reduces the risk of birds becoming desensitized to the lasers. Lasers can also be combined with other deterrents, such as loud noises, to enhance their effectiveness.

What did the study find about laser scarecrows?

The study found that laser scarecrows reduced sweet corn damage marginally in Stick Trials, but dramatically in Natural Trials. This difference in effectiveness can be attributed to the sturdiness of the sticks used in Stick Trials compared to natural corn stalks.

How far can lasers deter birds?

Laser scarecrows are effective in deterring birds up to 20 meters from the laser source. Beyond this distance, damage to the crop increased, with little to no deterrence at 30 meters.

Why are laser scarecrows a sustainable solution?

Laser scarecrows offer a sustainable solution because they are silent, non-lethal, and environmentally friendly. Unlike other deterrent methods, they do not disturb neighbors or workers, require permits, or have toxic effects on wildlife, soil, and water.



Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Laser scarecrows, Bird control, Agriculture

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Bird control
Bird control or bird abatement involves the methods to eliminate or deter pest birds from landing, roosting and nesting. Bird control is important because pest birds can create health-related problems through their feces, including histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. Bird droppings may also cause damage to property and equipment. Birds also...
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Agriculture
Agriculture encompasses crop and livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry for food and non-food products. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. While humans started gathering grains at least 105,000...
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