Farm factors associated with reducing Cryptosporidium loading in storm runoff from dairies

W. A. Miller, D. J. Lewis, M. D G Pereira, M. Lennox, P. A. Conrad, K. W. Tate, E. R. Atwill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

A systems approach was used to evaluate environmental loading of Cryptosporidium oocysts on five coastal dairies in California. One aspect of the study was to determine Cryptosporidium oocyst concentrations and loads for 350 storm runoff samples from dairy high use areas collected over two storm seasons. Selected farm factors and beneficial management practices (BMPs) associated with reducing the Cryptosporidium load in storm runoff were assessed. Using immunomagnetic separation (IMS) with direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) analysis, Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected on four of the five farms and in 21% of storm tunoff samples overall. Oocysts were detected in 59% of runoff samples collected near cattle less than 2 mo old, while 10% of runoff samples collected near cattle over 6 mo old were positive. Factors associated with environmental loading of Cryptosporidium oocysts included cattle age class, 24 h precipitation, and cumulative seasonal precipitation, but not percent slope, lot acreage, cattle stocking number, or cattle density. Vegetated buffer strips and straw mulch application significantly reduced the protozoal concentrations and loads in storm runoff, while cattle exclusion and removal of manure did not. The study findings suggest that BMPs such as vegetated buffer strips and straw mulch application, especially when placed near calf areas, will reduce environmental loading of fecal protozoa and improve stormwater quality. These findings are assisting working dairies in their efforts to improve farm and ecosystem health along the California coast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1882
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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