Comparing Bird Deterrent Strategies to Increase Sustainability and Production of Fruit Crops in Hawaii

Project Overview

FW19-350
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $18,620.00
Projected End Date: 12/01/2021
Grant Recipient: Mauka Vista Farms LLC
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Paul De Filippi
Mauka Vista Farms LLC

Commodities

  • Fruits: figs

Practices

  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, prevention

    Proposal summary:

    Comparing Bird Deterrent Strategies to Increase Sustainability and Production of Fruit Crops in Hawaii.

    Birds are responsible for damaging many high value fruit crops in Hawaii, making a significant detrimental economic impact for local farmers and creates barriers to entry for new farmers. They spread disease and ruin crops.  These affected crops include dragonfruit, figs, mangos, lychee and longan.  Farmers are presented with various methods of protection and deterrence.  Many of these methods are expensive, labor intensive, impractical and often ineffective.  The subject research looks to examine the cost/effectiveness of two conventional methods of bird pest deterrence, and compare it to one novel method.  The methods are conventional netting (exclusion), conventional reflectors (visual stimuli), and an innovative method of utilizing an automated visible Agrilaser. 

    Current practices include sound machines, hunting, bitterants, reflectors, bird netting, and bagging fruit before harvest.  These methods are problematic as the birds quickly adapt to these deterrents.  Netting and bagging are labor intensive, additionally the materials used are expensive and often do not survive an entire season.  Many fruit crops do not lend themselves to these practices due to the size of the tree or the fruit.

    The project will test this innovative and humane form of pest deterrent in Hawaii and compare it against conventional methods for use on dragonfruit and fig crops.  The project will use a visible laser system to keep birds out of a specified area of crops.  This method differs from others in that the birds view the laser beam as a physical object, and they avoid it without adapting.  This system is mounted on a programmable base, so that the deterrent can be applied to any crop-producing field within a 6,500-foot radius.  The system is programmed once with the specific parameters of the area to be treated.  It can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within these parameters.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Design an executable set of trials.
    • Install Agrilaser equipment, conventional netting, and conventional deterrents.
    • Gather yield data for treated vs non-treated areas
    • Gather yield data for netted vs non-netted areas
    • Quantify cost/effectiveness.
    • Conclude which method is the most cost effective.
    • Present results through presentation, field-days, and on-line video to wide Hawaiian based audience on multiple islands through the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), Extension Office, the Hawaiian Tropical Fruit Growers association (HTFG), and the Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU).
    • Assist interested farmers in coordinating, attaining, and setting up the most cost effective methods for their operations.
    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.