AGRICULTURAL SETTINGS for HARDSHELL LABS’ AVIAN DAMAGE CONTROL SERVICES
Many birds are agricultural pests and the challenge of driving them from crop fields and orchards is a significant problem. The scale of losses stretches well into the billions of dollars which creates a very promising opportunity for commercial development by Hardshell Labs.
In a survey conducted by Hardshell Labs at the University of California, Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources 2018’s Pistachio Day proceedings, three out of four respondents reported costly crop loss and irrigation system damage by pest birds, principally ravens. They estimated average losses of $1,700 per acre. Using specially designed laser equipment Hardshell Labs has successfully deployed, on a trial basis, a raven deterrence system/process to protect pistachio orchards during their critical growth periods. Raven numbers over the 30-acre test site were reduced from a maximum of 171 to zero in four days. For two weeks after the cessation of laser firing, ravens avoided the orchard and no pistachios were lost to the birds. Pistachio orchards often utilize small diameter, flexible Irrigation lines. These are also targeted by ravens and crows causing water loss damage demanding constant attention and incurring materials and labor costs.
Field trials indicate that due to raven learning characteristics, aversion to the orchard area may be retained and even passed onto others in their group. Over 250,000 acres of pistachios are under cultivation in California, generating some 600 million pounds of annual production, representing 99% of U.S. production, second only to Iran on the world market. Losses to ravens cut into the harvest and can exceed 50% on small parcels. Currently utilized pest aversion approaches have little to limited effectiveness and can be labor intensive, expensive and polluting.
Hardshell Labs is also experimenting with drone-based bird hazing for crop protection, with very promising initial results. Hardshell Labs’ technology and approaches can readily be transferred to other high value crops. We continually search for cost effective methods of discouraging pest birds from attacks on crops and ag infrastructure.
WASTE MANAGEMENT, COMPOSTING & DAIRY OPERATIONS
MILITARY and COMMERCIAL AIRPORT BIRD AIRCRAFT STRIKE HAZARD PREVENTION PROGRAM (BASH)