Programming Of Dairy Calf Development From Intrauterine Exposure To Wildfire Smoke And Strategies For Farm Response To A Smoldering Predicament.
The rise in frequency of large wildfires, particularly in the western United States, underscores the need for research and outreach to investigate wildfire effects on dairy cattle and disseminate vital information to guide animal management. Wildfire emissions contain toxic gases and fine particulates (PM2.5) that have been linked to increased morbidity and mortality in humans and livestock. However, little is known about the impact of wildfire-PM2.5 on calves exposed through the intrauterine environment. Further, few resources exist to provide producers with tools to prevent or mitigate adverse outcomes from wildfire smoke inhalation in cattle.
Our goals are to 1) understand the impact of maternal wildfire smoke inhalation during gestation on the postnatal calf, 2) disseminate knowledge and provide best farm practices.
Our research approach is to compare growth and health metrics between dairy calves that were exposed or not exposed to wildfire-PM2.5 during fetal development. Our extension approach is to build a website for resources and information on wildfire and livestock, create activities for youth programs, and develop materials for courses to educate the public, students, producers, and stakeholders on the significance of wildfires in animal agriculture and offer solutions to reduce wildfire disruption to dairy production systems. We expect our project will lead to development of targeted interventions to mitigate the impact of smoke exposure, promote management practices that protect animals from adverse environmental conditions, and support the dairy industry’s resilience to natural disasters; addressing AFRI priority area; Rapid Response to Extreme Weather Events Across Food and Agricultural Systems.
Lead PI: Amy Skibiel, University of Idaho.
Co-PI’s: Pedram Rezamand and Denise Konetchy, University of Idaho. Jenifer Cruickshank and Juliana Ranches, Oregon State University.
This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2022-68016-38665 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Wildfires and Smoke Exposure: Impacts on Livestock Health and Performance and Producers’ Perceptions and Sentiments.
As demand for animal protein continues to increase, so do the challenges livestock producers face. The western states of the U.S.—home to some of the largest cattle operations in the country—are year-by-year devastated by wildfire incidents. With climate change, rising temperatures, ongoing drought, and drier climatic conditions, wildfires are predicted to intensify. It is well investigated and understood that sick animals, or those otherwise under stress, will not perform to their genetic potential. Given that wildfire smoke exposure causes morbidity and mortality in humans, we expect that wildfires and smoke exposure will negatively affect the sustainability and profitability of livestock operations due to impairment of animal health. Farmers and ranchers’ economy are highly vulnerable to climate change. However, awareness of climate change and preparation (not reaction) to events related to climate change, such as wildfires, results in better outcomes and less traumatic experiences. Therefore, this proposal aims to evaluate the effects of smoke exposure on cattle health and performance (while evaluating mitigation strategies), and to characterize livestock producer’s perceptions and sentiments related to wildfire, as well as, to quantitatively quantify the losses of animal production due to wildfire and smoke exposure. Finally, the ultimate goal of the Extension portion of this proposal is to develop a producer’s network assistance system to help producers directly affected by wildfires through peer support and education. This proposed project will address the following AFRI priorities: Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Natural Resources and Environment; Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities.
Lead PI: Juliana Ranches, Oregon State University.
Co-PI’s: Pedram Rezamand and Denise Konetchy, University of Idaho. Jenifer Cruickshank and Katie Wollstein, Oregon State University.
This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2023-68008-39173 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.