The New Age scarecrow is a laser beam
I think it’s fair to say that the lifestyle of a farmer is both challenging and rewarding. Along with the independence of running your own business and taking on the role of the company kitchen, it is difficult to cope with the rising costs of fuel, feed and pesticides, as well as the volatility of weather conditions and crop prices.
All of these factors have led to a number of technological improvements intended to help the farming community. From autonomous electric tractors to the use of data-driven sensors and software to ensure ideal management of fields and irrigation resources, the digital age offers solutions as relevant to the server farm as it is to the vineyard.
Among the challenges the technology hopes to address is the negative impact of birds. California farmers have seen our feathered friends cause up to $4,000 in annual damage per acre.
It looks like the Scarecrow’s days are numbered, with a possible replacement being the AVIX Autonomic Mark II standalone laser system. And before you put PETA online, no, we’re not talking about frying birds as they try to slip in some berries or munch on some corn.
Instead, the system transmits 3B green laser light. This means it operates on a frequency that birds see as a solid object. So when the laser is fired, they fly away in anticipation of being crushed by the equivalent of the Incredible Hulk’s backhand.
The reality is of course that this is just a highly durable light that can be programmed with 150 unique patterns, 2,400 individual waypoints and 20 different time periods, with each pattern and waypoint potentially assigned at a different time slot for ongoing bird repelling activities.
According to the system’s manufacturer, Bird Control Group, it can reduce bird damage by more than 70% without harming birds or the environment. It is also programmed and monitored by a mobile application.
Individual lasers can be installed and operating within hours, with a range, depending on weather conditions, of up to 1,600 meters.
The biggest hurdle probably won’t be adopting new technology or saying goodbye to our straw-stuffed crop keepers. Most farms will need to use multiple lasers to realize the optimal profit, and each unit carries a price tag of over $10,000.