Cost-effectiveness of bird repellents for crop protection

Chemical bird repellents are touted as an effective and “clean, green” solution to bird pest problems. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of some purported bird repellents for crop protection. They cost from about $200/ha to more than $30,000/ha for a single application. Most would require repeated application, and therefore cost at least twice this amount. If a crop was worth $10,000/ha, the loss to birds without treatment was 10%, and the treatment was 100% effective, then the cost of treatment must be less than $1,000/ha for it to be cost-effective. If the value of the crop, loss to birds, or effectiveness of the treatment was less, as it is likely to be, then the maximum cost of the treatment must also be less to be cost-effective. Based on current treatment costs, most of the bird repellents evaluated are unlikely to be cost-effective, except perhaps on high-value crops suffering high levels of bird damage. A simple pre-treatment cost-benefit analysis such as proposed here would indicate when a treatment was likely to be cost-effective, and should always be undertaken before the use of any bird repellent or other bird control technique.

Author Spurr, E. B. and Coleman, J. D.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Institution Landcare Research
Pages 227-233
Region NZ
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