Using Propane-Fired Cannons to Keep Birds Away From Vineyards

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Bird damage is a problem in all grape-growing areas of the world. Most agree the problem is worsening as more hectares of cultivars are grown. Damage begins around veraison when grapes start to colour, signifying change from growth to ripening and the accumulation of sugars. Damage continues until harvest in early fall or winter with grapes harvested for ice-wine. A field trial (Fraser, 2005) showed with no bird controls, losses were 50 per cent for Cabernet Franc and 100 per cent for Cabernet Sauvignon by late October. Although birds prefer blue/red French hybrids and red Vinifera grapes damage is reported in all cultivars.

Hugh W. Fraser
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rurals Affairs