Electronic scarecrow technology is an easy and reliable way to control major avian crop pests like birds and or animals. This Scarecrow decreases crop damage by dispersing birds in a safe and human way.
All around the world, birds are a major threat in the field of agriculture causing damage to economic field crops, storage houses, and dirty human life areas. These birds are controlled by practicing different traditionally outdated methods.
Nowadays with the change of technology, different electronic scarers are adapted for bird control in the agricultural field. Studies have been carried out to know the different electronic bird scarers available and the technique used in it is discussed.
The Agriculture Sector In Nigeria
Agriculture has been the way to guarantee food security for any nation from time immemorial. Many Africans do not only rely on it for food but as their primary source of income. About 30 % of Nigerians have agriculturally based occupations and 80% depend on it for their source of livelihood.
The sector contributes above 40 % to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. The major crops cultivated across the country are maize, beans, millet, guinea corn, yam, cassava, rice, palm oil, palm kernels and melon. Farmers in the country mostly cultivate small farmlands of about four to five acres in rainy seasons (Olomola and Nwafor, 2018).
The use of machinery and specialized equipment is not very prevalent due to cost and farmland patterns, this contributes to inefficient farming methods and low agricultural yields.
Bird Scaring Methods In Nigeria
One of the cultural practices rice producers use in bird scaring is employing women, men, and children to scare birds in rice farms, which basically involves stationing them in the farm to effect the driving away of the birds and pests from the rice using means such as shouting, singing, throwing objects, etc to generate both visual and acoustic stimuli that scare the birds away.
During the milk stage of rice production, birds are driven from rice farms. During this stage, birds invade the rice field and suck the milky grains leaving traces of empty or poorly filled grains, broken stems, and cut panicles.
According to USAIAD Market (2008), birds are a problem during grains filling stage. Birds suck the semi-liquid substance, leaving behind an empty husk. At later stages when the grains are almost ready for harvest, the birds also shatter the grains. Birds on rice farms cause whiteheads and very low yields.
History of Scarecrows
The first scarecrows recorded in history were made along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail. Egyptian farmers put wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets. Therefore, the protection of agricultural production areas from various animals having a tendency to damage the aforementioned areas is an old age problem.
Farmers today still use scarecrows all over the world. In countries like India and Arab nations, old men sit on chairs and throw stones at the birds trying to eat or damage their crops. Farmers have also attempted to employ the use of young boys who patrolled the fields to scare away animals or birds destroying crops by physical chasing, scaring off by beating sonorous bodies like tins and cans and using clappers to make noise to chase away birds (Wilfred, 2006).
The disadvantage of this system, however, is costly, especially for farmers with large plot of fields.
Challenges Faced By Rice Farmers In Nigeria
One of the major challenges faced by farmers (especially rice farmers) in Nigeria is the inability to effectively control pest birds, which negatively influence food production. In fact, birds account for about an annual loss of 15% in rice production worldwide.
Birds feed on the cereal crops during the early stage of fruit-bearing, thereby rendering the grain empty. In Northern and Southwestern Nigeria, foraging birds come in flocks and attack rice plantations by sucking the milk of ripening rice on the farm. Damage to crops by birds does not occur at random.
It occurs majorly at a particular time in the life span of crops. Familiarization with the time and nature of the damage helps to reduce it or lower the cost of controlling it by concentrating control methods in particular areas and at the time of the season when the damage is most severe.
Bird pest damage to farms in Nigeria has grave consequences and costs the country billions of Naira (Elliot and Bright, 2007). In 2017 bird pests were blamed for food shortages experienced in more than 14 states (Akinfewa, 2017), more than 20 % of rice was lost to bird pests after more than 13 hours of constant farm monitoring and repelling efforts by farmers place (Elliot and Bright, 2007).
The manual method of bird repelling is still the prevalent method used by Nigerian farmers to scare birds away from their farms, this method is highly tedious and ineffective. Moreover, the cost of employing scarers is high, usually costing more than 50 % of production costs (Ainsley and Koso, 2015).
Farmers with large families wanting to reduce such costs end up using their wives and children to help scare birds from the farm. Due to the time demands, however, they end up causing the children to miss valuable school time and this still does not mean total protection of crops. An autonomous system requiring less supervision that will not allow easy habituation will provide the necessary protection for farms.
Such systems can also be employed in places where birds have become a nuisance, like resting shades, houses, or in airports, where bird-plane collisions are a problem.
The aim of this article is to introduce you to a newly developed electronic bird scaring system specifically made for rice farm use.
The project was designed by Udo Success Ifunanyachi, a graduate of Mechatronics Engineering, Federal University Otuoke, under the supervision of Engr. Prof. Dau S. Zibokere, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering in Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, to scare birds in a rice farm.
Introducing Our Novel Technology, The Electronic Scarecrow
The design was mainly developed for the detection of the motion of birds using a PIR motion sensor which then activates the audio to produce sound that scares birds. A combined unit operating on solar energy is designed to overcome the major climatic disadvantage of the solar-operated scarer. This unit will store the energy obtained through the sun.
- PIR motion sensor
- Solar panel
- Esp32 Camera
These components were aligned to obtain a sharp crow upon sensing the presence of the pests on the farm. When the system design is powered, it automatically detects birds through the motion sensor, which triggers the gun sound to scare birds away.
The electronic bird scarer is a very loud and dynamic device with the strong potential to scare off avian pests from gardens and farms. The device has the potential to work all by itself. Due to the results obtained from several tests, a good number of these systems are recommended for a hectare of land for effective work.
We are also using this medium to seek and call on investors to invest and partner with us or manufacturers who have the potential to reproduce this novel technology in large-scale quantity to reach out to us for further negotiations via the contact details provided: 07038600732 or +2347026321243 (WhatsApp).