Composting livestock mortalities

Tom D. Glanville, T. L. Richard, J. D. Harmon, D. L. Reynolds, H. K. Ahn, S. Akinc

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

12 Scopus citations


A three-year study was commissioned by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to evaluate the practical feasibility, performance, environmental impacts and biosecurity of using composting for emergency disposal, should a livestock or poultry disease outbreak (or agro-terrorism) occur in Iowa. During the seasonal field trials, test units were monitored to evaluate composting performance, environmental impacts and biosecurity of the process. Three carcass cover materials (corn silage, ground cornstalks and straw/manure) were evaluated in replicated field tests; these and 10 other potential cover materials were also extensively tested in the lab and mathematically modeled to characterize and predict their performance potential for use in both routine and emergency mortality composting operations. The final project report entitled "Environmental Impacts and Biosecurity of Composting for Emergency Disposal of Livestock Mortalities" contained data collected during the field monitoring and a full analysis. Findings covered carcass decomposition, internal temperatures/pathogen destruction, internal oxygen concentrations, temperature, oxygen and carcass degradation, odor release and air pollution potential leachate release and soil/water pollution potential, soil contamination and cover material performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Specialist publicationBioCycle
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Soil Science


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