|Missouri Dairy Business Update|
|Volume 9, Number 4|
Composting Large Animal Mortalities in Missouri
By Joseph M. Zulovich, Ph.D., P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer
Success in the composting of poultry and swine carcasses has led to an interest in composting large animal mortalities like bovine and equine carcasses. Composting animal mortalities has been an approved method of dead animal disposal in Missouri for a number of years. A discussion covering all approved methods for handling animal mortalities in Missouri can be found in MU Guidesheet WQ216 entitled “Dead Animal Disposal Laws in Missouri” and can be found at http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/envqual/wq0216.htm on the University of Missouri Extension website.
A number of MU Guidesheets have been published covering composting of poultry and swine mortalities. A foundation of information can be found in the MU Guidesheet WQ351 entitled “Composting Dead Swine” found at http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/envqual/wq0351.htm on the University of Missouri Extension website. This foundation of information based on the success of swine mortality composting can be used to provide guidance for large animal mortality composting.
While experience is somewhat limited, the following notes and observations can serve as a guide in composting bovine and equine carcasses.
2. Perform composting in 3-sided bins or structures to confine material and facilitate cleanout. See composter details in WQ351.
Review MU Guidesheet WQ351 for other general information on composting livestock carcasses. Additional information about composting large animal mortalities can be found at http://www3.abe.iastate.edu/cattlecomposting/index.asp, a webpage titled “Emergency Livestock Mortality Composting in Iowa” from Iowa State University. However, one needs to be aware that the rainfall runoff will need to be addressed (See point #4) if an uncovered windrow compost system is being considered in Missouri.
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