Using a laser system for non-toxic deterrence of birds and raccoons in an organic berry orchard

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $9,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Blue Fruit Farm
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Jim Riddle
Blue Fruit Farm


  • Fruits: berries (blueberries)


  • Energy: solar energy
  • Pest Management: physical control, prevention
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    We intend to install a laser system from the Bird Control Group to deter birds and raccoons from eating our fruit crops. The laser system is non-toxic and does not harm birds or mammals. The pests detect the laser beam as a threat and they are trained to stay out of the orchard. For a number of years, we have used a net system to protect fruit from birds. While generally effective, the netting and posts are getting old and it is labor intensive to install and remove the netting each year. We have also used live traps and a gun to catch and kill raccoons. If the laser is effective, raccoons will stay out of the field, with much less effort and worry for us and less loss of life for them. The laser will significantly increase fruit yields and potential profits for our farm, while serving as a teaching model to help other producers protect their fruit crops.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Purchase and install laser bird deterrence system.
    2. Program system so that it protects all parts of the field, both day and night.
    3. Determine if laser system effectively deters both birds and raccoons.
    4. Compare 2021 yields with 2020 yields to assess impact of laser system on fruit yields.
    5. Compare 2021 income with 2020 income to assess impact of laser system on farm income.
    6. Host at least one field day to demonstrate laser system to other growers.
    7. Work with UMN Extension Educator to assess effectiveness of the system.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.