Koala Farms grows crops on over 500 hectares across two locations in Queensland, one farm is located in the town of Gatton and the second farm is located in the town of Cambooya. Their crops were severely affected by Australian wood ducks eating the vegetables, as a result of increased duck migration. The farm lost around 50,000 AUD to birds each year.
In 2019 Anthony Staatz, owner of Koala Farms, discovered about the AVIX Autonomic Mark II through E.E Muir & Sons, an Australian partner of Bird Control Group, manufacturer of the laser bird repellents based in Delft, the Netherlands. AVIX Autonomic Mark II is a laser bird deterrent that projects a green laser beam across a field of crops, posing as a threat to the birds and deterring them immediately. After a successful demonstration, Koala Farms decided to purchase the laser bird repellents. The farm now covers two of their areas with 4 units of AVIX Autonomic Mark II.
The laser bird deterrent system proved to be a sustainable and cost-efficient solution for the farm. Mr. Staatz says: “The laser bird repellent is a humane alternative to dealing with the duck problem. It has great functionality, with the accessibility to program the green laser beam to move across the crops in a pattern that suits our specific locations. It saved us time, knowing we can sleep at night without waking up to acres of the product destroyed by the wood ducks.”
Bird damage across Australia
According to the Department of Primary Industries, bird damage is a significant problem in Australia with the total damage to horticultural production estimated at nearly 300,000,000 AUD annually. Over 60 different bird species are known to damage horticultural crops. These species have marked differences in feeding strategies and movement patterns that impact the nature, timing, and severity of the damage they cause.
Another reason for the bird damage across Australia is the increase in duck migration. This increase has occurred due to climate and habitat changes, and lack of ample food supply. Another reason is ducks trying to locate breeding grounds, which are usually large areas of land close to water. Farmlands are ideal locations for breeding. They contain an abundance of food. Therefore, farmers find it challenging to deter birds in an effective and sustainable way.