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2009 California State University Agricultural Research Initiative Federal Initiative (09 FFI)


Project information, results, and outcomes will be made widely available in the public domain in layperson terminology for California farmers, ranchers, agribusiness concerns and other interested stakeholder groups. Technology transfer assistance and information dissemination will be provided directly to the California producers, processors, and consumers. Additionally, professional journal publications, attendance and presentations at professional meetings, and other service to one's discipline will be strongly encouraged. <P>
Specifically, this multi-disciplinary project provides for: <OL> <LI> the laboratory testing of air monitoring equipment and the development of monitoring procedures for the sampling of particulate matter (PM10 and 2.5), fungus spores, pollens, and organic compounds in fugitive dust during agricultural field operations; <LI> testing and evaluation of a new simple digital radiography bone density measurement tool for early assessment and detection of the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in race horses; <LI>development of an economic and physiologically acceptable means of reducing damage to pistachio trees that are exposed to serious deficit irrigation while continuing to obtain a harvestable (albeit reduced) crop; <LI>development of a new approach to immunization against avian influenza virus (AIV) that will provide protection of poultry from a variety of distinct influenza viral subtypes; <LI> the development of sustainable best management practice (BMP) guidelines for the land application of food processing high-moisture high-solids by-products that do not degrade the environment or groundwater; and a study that determines value-added alternatives to land application.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: This multi-disciplinary project will address: 1) increasing air quality concerns and regulatory requirements that threaten the sustainability of California's agricultural industry. Its outcomes will assist in the reduction of fugitive particulate matter emissions during agricultural tillage operations, increase industry sustainability, and improve overall air quality; 2) race horse musculoskeletal injuries, which threaten the horse racing industry's vital part of California's economy. Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common and costly injuries-disease sustained by racing horses. The impact of this research may allow for a decrease in the frequency of catastrophic breakdowns and death of racing horses and contribute to the long term viability of California's racing industry. 3) California's persistent and reoccurring drought conditions place the long-term viability of otherwise promising high value permanent planting such as trees in serious jeopardy. The impact of this research while focused on pistachios, if proven effective and economical in pistachios, will likely be applicable to walnuts and almonds, which alone account for about 10% of California's acreage and represent an even larger share of the agricultural economy. If the experimental spray being studied is effective, it will be of great importance in sustaining existing acreage of permanent plantings with limited water supplies. Any significant practice that can minimize water consumption (or minimize the impacts of deficit irrigation) will have large impacts on energy (due to pumping), yields, and local/state economics. 4) Avian influenza viruses which are the most devastating of viral diseases and threaten the California poultry industry's economic viability, annual sales in excess of $2.5 billion, and employment opportunities for more than 25,000 people who collectively earn more than $250 million each year. Development of an effective immunization against the avian influenza virus, which is being studied, will significantly improve the California poultry industry's sustainability and long-term economic competitiveness. : 5)California food processors are under significant pressure to reduce processing and by-product handling costs as well as their environmental impacts. The cost of process water disposal doubles when it must be sent to a municipal sewage facility for primary and secondary treatment. While land application of processing by-products is much more cost effective, it raises unanswered environmental concerns. This research will assist in developing best management practices for economically and environmentally sustainable production of forage crops and land application of process water and bio-solids. <P>

APPROACH: Project results and outcomes will be made widely available in the public domain in layperson terminology and technology transfer assistance and information dissemination will be provided directly to the California producers, processors, and consumers. Specific project segment methodologies are: 1) fugitive dust Laboratory testing will investigate the physical property changes of air and soil resulting from the use of Plume Suppression/Dust Control devises (DCU). Testing results will be incorporated into DCU equipment modifications; 2) a study review, evaluation, and comparison analysis of error factors commonly associated with current radiograph bone risk assessment technologies and brightness/darkness index (BDI) technology's correlation to bone density in Thoroughbred horses will be completed; 3) a study to determine if it is possible to minimize economic and physiological damage to under-irrigated pistachio trees by applying a reflectant white-wash spray to the crop canopy to reduce evapotranspiration will be completed and evaluated for production scale application; 4) an Avian influenza viruse vaccine study to determine the most effective approach for vaccine development that is based on the use of the highly conserved influenza protein epitope of the viral envelope matrix 2 protein as an alternative target to the non-conserved haemagglutinin (H) or neuraminidase (N) influenza antigens will be completed and evaluated for commercial use application; 5)in an attempt to develop technically sound best management practices for the usage of food processing by-products field trials will be performed to explore new forage species that are adapted to food process water irrigation and competitiveness against weeds, field and soil amendment evaluations will be made to determine how to rejuvenate existing forage crops, and a study will be undertaken to evaluate the feed value of food processing biosolids for cattle and/or swine.

Bezerra, Joe
California Agricultural Technology Institute (CATI)
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