canada geese© Rex Shutterstock

Researchers in Canada are trialling scarecrows with laser beams to fend off geese from crops.

A team of six mechanical engineering students from the University of Victoria on Canada’s Vancouver Island has developed laser technology which scares off geese from farmers’ fields.

Peter Rashleigh, a fourth-year mechanical student and farmer, calls the project a “high-tech scarecrow”.

He told CBC News: “Geese are very effectively scared by lasers, especially green lasers, even at very low power levels.

See also: The ultimate guide to crop disease and pest forecasting tools

“We’ve created a device that automatically moves that laser beam across a specified target area – in this case, your field – at regular intervals all night long.”

Mr Rashleigh said the device uses very little power and can switch itself off if aimed above the horizon, so that it does not affect planes.

“The next step is to basically set it up on a field and see if it works,” he added.

Canada geese cause damage to farm fields costing some farmers thousands by plundering soya beans, winter wheat, barley, rye, clover and other crops. Their damage reduces yields and can also cause erosion.