Livestock producers are being asked to provide information in an industry survey that runs through the end of June. The University of California is working with Oregon State University to better understand the impact of wildfires on grazing livestock. Producers with livestock that were affected by exposures to wildfire or by indirect smoke exposure last year are encouraged to participate.
“What we wanted to do with this survey is find out from producers what they observed,” said Gabriele Maier, Cooperative Extension Assistant Specialist at UC Davis. “Did they see an increase in respiratory disease? Was there any impact possibly on reproduction or on other production parameters? On weight gain? On milk production for dairy animals? So, we just want to see if people noticed any impact on the health or production of their livestock.”
The industry survey should take approximately three to five minutes to fill out and responses will be kept anonymous. Maier said they are looking for insight from producers of both dairy and beef cattle, as well as sheep and goats. Producers in both California and Oregon are encouraged to participate in the survey. The catastrophic wildfires of 2020 created enormous amounts of smoke that covered much of the western states. Many producers asked what exposure to the elements in smoke particles means for animal health, with little information currently available.
“We already know that inhaling smoke can be detrimental to the health of humans or animals,” Maier noted. “But what is less known is what the effects are of being exposed to relatively high particle counts over longer periods of time when animals are not in immediate proximity to a fire.”
The survey is available online and is expected to remain open until the end of June. Once the survey is completed, the researchers will compile the information and make it available to industry members.
Listen to Maier’s interview below.