Livestock Mortality Composting Manual

When concerns about mad cow disease reduced rendering service availability and also increased the cost of using this service, livestock producers needed alternatives for disposing of livestock mortalities. But it needed to be a method that would protect the environment from contamination and prevent the spread of pathogens to live animals. So staff from Universities and the NRCS in four western states (Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming) collaborated on a project to provide information about composting as a way to safely dispose of dead animals.  Funded by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) program, the finished "Livestock Mortality and Composting Manual" covers the ins and outs of composting as a safe and affordable alternative. While it focuses on how composting might work for producers in the semi-arid west, there's plenty of good information for producers everywhere. Why Compost? Many of our past methods of carcass disposal come with their own problems.  The past practice of dragging the body off to the boneyard is illegal now in most states because o

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One thought on “Livestock Mortality Composting Manual

  1. Interesting document. I have been composting animals on farm for over 15 years, everything from poultry, hogs, sheep, goats, cattle and llamas have gone into the compost. We had to learn how to do this successfully as we did a lot of on farm slaughter for the community. The main key we found (anecdotal evidence but the compost always seemed to process faster with minimal odors) was to remove the paunch, and open both the stomach and upper intestine spreading the contents across as much surface area before covering. We think this places the bacteria that process feed in the animals gut in direct contact with the carbon in the compost pile, rather than having it killed off in an anaerobic environment while the carcass remains sealed. It can be a messy job, but if you are accustomed to butchering it is fairly easy. Also to quarter the animal and expose as much to increase the contact surface with the carbon additionally seemed to help the compost process.

    Best of all what it does for the soil, makes some incredible pasture.

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