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The goal of this project is to enable livestock producers, and others with interest in the livestock industry, to create a sustainable future through applied and fundamental research.Objective 1. Fertility (H. Neibergs and J.S. Neibergs). The objective of the genomics research on fertility is to identify loci associated with successful pregnancy in beef and dairy heifers and primiparous cows. To accomplish this objective the specific aims are:Determine loci that are shared across parities and breeds.Determine shared pathways and pathway regulators across parities and breeds.Fine map fertility loci to use for genomic selection and to characterize causal mutations.Objective 2. Bovine Respiratory Disease (H. Neibergs and J.S. Neibergs). The objective is to identify loci and genes associated with susceptibility to bovine respiratory disease in dairy calves and in beef feedlot cattle to use in commercial genotyping systems for selection of cattle that are more resistant to disease. The specific aims are:Determine if selection for susceptibility loci will need to be tailored by geographic region by identifying pathogen profiles in cattle across the U.S.Identify which loci are important for resistance to unique BRD pathogens.Develop custom genotyping panel to fine map fertility loci to use for genomic selection and to characterize causal mutationsDetermine economic value of genomic selection for enhance BRD resistanceObjective 3. Animal Efficiency (Johnson, H. Neibergs). The objective is to examine the phenotype, feed efficiency to determine what aspects of animal physiology contribute toward the observed variation in animal performance. The immune system is frequently identified as a large energy sink and its role in animal efficiency is not well defined. The specific aims are:Further characterize loci associated with feed efficiency across breeds in beef cattleDetermine shared pathways and pathway regulators across breeds.Examine the immune system as a major contributor to the feed efficiency phenotypeObjective 4. Environmental Impacts of Livestock Production. (Johnson, Jobson). The objective is to test opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and enhance the nutrient value (N and C content) of livestock manure. The specific aims are:Determine the impact of DCD on GHG and NH3 emissions and compost nutrient quality on manure stockpiles.Determine greenhouse gas emissions in a field trial from a commercial dairy liquid manure management system in eastern WA that is using the Biofiltro BIDA process.Objective 5. Pest Bird Management Practices (Adams Progar and J.S. Neibergs). The objective is to identify effective pest bird management practices that are economically sound for dairies. Specific aims to accomplish this objective are:Perform pilot efficacy trials of professional falconry, native raptor attraction, and bird exclusion netting on select dairies.Native raptor attraction techniques, including kestrel falcon and barn owl nest box and perch installations, will be encouraged through outreach. At least five producers adopting these techniques will be followed for pilot efficacy data. Numbers of pest birds pre- and post-installation will be noted.At least two producers with established starling night roost populations in their barns will be selected for a pilot analysis of professional falconry, in conjunction with large-scale exclusion netting, to deter roost habituation of starlings. Numbers of birds continuing to roost will be noted.Create a web-based tool for producers to help them choose an economically efficient bird deterrent method, given their site-specific bird damage issues. Data from previous work will provide the foundation for the tool to estimate the benefits and costs associated with different bird deterrent methods.Conduct Extension outreach including educational workshops, field days, producer-to-producer discussions, electronic dissemination, professional presentations, and publications on pest bird issues and control measures.Prepare Extension materials describing the risk and economic implications of pest bird management and the technologies that may reduce the risk of pest birds to livestock facilities.Objective 6. Enhancing Beef Cattle Grazing Sustainability (J.S. Neibergs and Johnson). The objective is to develop economic analyses publications and decision support tools to help producers improve sustainability. The specific aims are to:Analyze the economics of grazing fees to develop fair market rental payments.Explore the net economic return of best management strategies that improve grazing system resiliency relative to increasing climate variability.Develop economic research to evaluate the multi-year effects of stocking rates, culling decisions, and restocking strategies relative to dynamic rangeland carrying capacity as effected by climate variability and post wildfire grazing restrictions.Continue to explore regional comparative advantage to climate risk in the beef cattle production chain (Neibergs et al, 2017).Develop Extension publications analyzing the economic effectiveness of risk management insurance programs such as Livestock Risk Protection, Livestock Gross Margin, Whole Farm Revenue Protection, and Pasture Range Forage and USDA disaster programs such as the Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program.Investigate the feasibility of developing a decision support tool that could help better manage rangeland ecosystems with flexible stocking rates and adaptive grazing management opportunities that adjust to grazing season variations in forage growth using remotely sensed data (satellite imagery).Objective 7. Employee Management and Training Practices (Adams Progar). The objective of the dairy employee research and Extension project is to reduce cattle-related injuries that occur on dairies through outreach activities. The specific aims are:Survey current safety training and animal handling practices in Washington Dairies. A state-wide mass survey will be distributed in paper form at the Washington State Dairy Federation Annual Meeting and available to all Washington dairy owners as an online questionnaire. The purpose of the mass survey is to document current cattle handling practices and the barriers to implementing cattle handling training on dairies.Implement an intervention study to assess training modules and their effectiveness to provide key safety messages, instruction, and hands-on practice of specific dairy animal handling techniques. Training strategies will be implemented in a modular fashion. Each module will be deployed and tested in 50 recruited participants and training success, message retention, and behavior modification will be quantified.Evaluate employees for retention and adoption of key messages and safe animal handling practices over a 6-month period using employee self-assessment questionnaires, injury reporting and structured observations.

Johnson, Kr, A.; Adams Progar, Am, L.; Neibergs, H.; Neibergs, H.
Washington State University
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