Wine Industry News

Laser Bird-Deterrent Technology Effective and Environmentally Friendly Solution for Vineyards

Oct 28, 2021 | Winery Industry News

Humans have been farming wine grapes for almost 8,000 years, and you can bet they have been battling birds in their vineyards for that same amount of time. Viticulture is one of the most rewarding forms of farming. It gives you a direct link to all of the subtle nuances of your land; your soil and vines are personified in the wines that they make. But, we finally get to veraison with a clean and healthy crop, and we feel like we are on the home stretch of the season just to see our vineyard rows ravaged by flocking pests. Birds not only drastically reduce the crop volume, their damage can cause further infections which will have a negative effect on your wine’s quality. 

There have been several studies that focused on the effects that our avian friends have in our vineyards. There are two types of bird damage in a vineyard: pluck damage and peck damage. Pluck damage is when a berry is forcibly removed from the pedicle and results in crop loss. Peck damage occurs when the birds are testing the fruit. They peck the skins, exposing the sugary pulp and seeds. This is the first point of bird-induced infection in the vineyard. Peck damage is the primary source for secondary infections like botrytis and sour rot which will have dramatic effects on wine quality if not addressed. The combination of both pluck and peck damage has led to average losses of $500/acre (US) across growing regions throughout North America. 

Vineyard bird pest species have very particular foraging habits. The birds do not generally live or nest in the vineyard rows, and they are always opportunistic foragers. This is good news for the vineyard farmer because with simple planning they can stay ahead of the birds. The key to protecting your fruit is to use the birds natural foraging behavior against them and naturally nudge their feeding path to other areas. 

One very promising bird deterrent technology is the use of lasers to drive foraging birds out. Lasers have the ability to effectively cover large areas (up to 25 acres), and they can work autonomously, allowing farmers to be more efficient with their time and money. One specific laser technology is the AVIX Autonomic designed and manufactured by Bird Control Group. The Bird Control Group laser is an expanded green beam (532nm) that is seen as a physical object by the birds. With its constant movement, the birds don’t know how to categorize the beam, making the area look uninhabitable and ultimately pushing them elsewhere. One of these automated lasers will cover between 5-20 acres with no habitualization of any birds. When the systems are installed and operating ahead of the birds’ arrival (two weeks pre-veraison), growers have seen a 70-95 per cent reduction in bird damage.

Review customer testimonials on the company’s website at www.birdcontrolgroup.com or YouTube page.

The AVIX Autonomic Mark II can be either purchased or leased based on your vineyard’s needs. For more information about this new and exciting technology, or to request a custom proposal contact Bird

Control Group at www.birdcontrolgroup.com or 844-406-9280.