This project partners with Washington State University to reduce pesticide use in dairy operations by introducing IPM practices in these workplaces. We are working with a network of participants to develop a robust and practical IPM program that provides evidence for cost-effective interventions that can reduce pesticide usage in these farm operations. Pyrethroid pesticides are widely used in agriculture and are applied on livestock in the form of sprays, dips, and tags to control flies and other insects, particularly in dairy operations. Pyrethroids also represent a potential workplace health issue in this region. Since 2001, pyrethroid-related illnesses documented by WS-DOH have quadrupled, suggesting that exposures to pyrethroids have increased both at home and in the workplace.
In FY2013 we conducted a survey of dairy operators through a mail-in survey with the cooperation of the WA State Dairy Federation (WSDF); 414 surveys were mailed out to WSDF members in early November 2012, with a reminder sent in December 2012. To date, 78 surveys have been returned (19% response rate). The returned surveys came from dairy farms in 18 counties across the state, with most coming from Whatcom and Yakima Counties. These are counties with relatively high numbers of dairy farms, and the Yakima region is of primary interest to our ongoing study because of the intensive scale and number of large dairy operations. Our survey response indicates significant statewide interest among dairy managers in learning how to improve their on-farm integrated pest management practices. Using alternative reduced risk technologies should result in reduced pesticide usage. The survey results will be compiled into an outreach publication to dairy farmers.
In summer 2013 the IPM intervention of calf hutch bedding trials for the source reduction of fly larvae showed promise as an effective approach for fly control. Continued trials showed a positive correlation between calf-hutch bedding with lower pH and lower fly larvae counts. Lower larvae counts may allow operators to reduce their reliance on pesticides, especially the commonly used pyrethroids that in turn may reduce potential exposure for dairy workers.
In FY2013 we continued to reach out to the dairy farm community through site visits. We have also formed close collaboration with the PNASH Team members of the new "One-health" dairy pilot project to coordinate our work in this industry, share resources and support each other’s project activities.