Best Environmental Management Practices

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					                                                          Acceptable ways for managing mortality                  Composting                                            1. Determine the average weight of the carcasses
                                                        include:                                                                                                           to be composted.
     Best Environmental                                 1. Rendering
                                                                                                                     Composting is the controlled aerobic biological
                                                                                                                  decomposition of organic matter into a stable,        2. Determine the composting cycle times for the
    Management Practices                                2. Composting
                                                        3. Incineration
                                                                                                                  humus-like product, called compost. Decomposi-
                                                                                                                  tion is enhanced and accelerated by mixing organic
                                                                                                                                                                           “design weight.”
                                                                                                                                                                        3. Determine the needed composter volumes.
           Farm Animal Production                       4. Sanitary landfills                                     waste with other ingredients in a manner that         4. Determine the dimensions of the compost
                                                        5. Burial                                                 optimizes microbial growth. Composting mortality         facility including bin dimensions and number
           Mortality Management                         6. Disposal pits                                          can be likened to aboveground burial in a biomass        of bins or windrow size and area requirement.
                                                          Of these methods, only the rendering, and               filter where most of the pathogens are killed by
        Charles Gould and Dale Rozeboom,                                                                                                                                5. Determine the annual sawdust requirements
                                                        composting methods recycle the nutrients. The             high temperatures.
           Michigan State University, and                                                                                                                                  for the composting system.
        Stephen Hawkins, Purdue University              other methods, in essence, waste the nutrients.              As the microbial population consumes the most
                                                        Rendering                                                 readily degradable material and grows in numbers,     Table 2. Mortality management by composting.
Introduction                                                                                                      the temperature of the compost pile begins to rise.
                                                          Rendering recycles the nutrients contained in                                                                    Advantages                   Disadvantages
                                                                                                                  Efficient composting requires that the initial
   A few animals die because of disease, injury, or     the carcasses of dead animals, most often as an                                                                 1. Conserves nutrients       1. High initial cost
                                                                                                                  compost mix have:
other causes in any confined livestock operation.       ingredient in animal food, especially for pets. The                                                                contained in the dead
The mortality rate is generally highest for new-        outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy              • A balance source of energy (carbon) and nutri-         animals
born animals because of their vulnerability.            (BSE) or “mad cow disease” in the United King-               ents (primarily nitrogen), typically with a        2. Low odor                  2. Labor intensive
                                                        dom in 1986 led to restrictions on how rendered              carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio of 15:1 to 35:1.    3. Environmentally safe      3. Regular monitoring and
   Catastrophic mortality can occur if an epidemic
                                                        products may be used in the United States.                • Sufficient moisture, typically 40% to 60%.                                          maintenance is required
infects and destroys a large portion of the herd or
                                                                                                                                                                        4. No need to store dead      4. Cropland required
flock in a short time, or if a natural disaster, such     If dead animals are not preserved, they should          • Sufficient oxygen for an aerobic environment.
                                                                                                                                                                           animals for utilization in
as a flood, strikes. There are also incidences when     be transported to a rendering facility within 24          • A pH in the range of 6 to 8.                           finished compost
an entire herd or flock must be destroyed to            hours. Preservation allows mortalities to be stored
                                                                                                                     A number of methods are used to compost
protect human health or other farms in the area.        on the farm until amounts are sufficient to warrant                                                             Incineration
                                                                                                                  mortality. At this time in Michigan, only the
   The purpose of this publication is to present        the cost of transport for rendering. Freezing and                                                                  Incinerating dead poultry and small animals is
                                                                                                                  passive composting method is acceptable.
options to manage normal, day-to-day mortalities.       fermentation have been used for preservation.                                                                   biologically the safest method. On the other hand,
                                                                                                                     Sizing the composting facility includes the
Several of the methods discussed may also be              Proper bio-security measures must be utilized to                                                              it can be slow, requires fuel and expensive
                                                                                                                  following general steps:
used for managing catastrophic mortality if scaled      minimize the spread of disease from farm to farm                                                                equipment, and can generate nuisance complaints
appropriately and accomplished under the direc-         by rendering plant vehicles and personnel.                                                                      from particulate air pollution and odors, even
tion and guidance of pertinent authorities. Plan-                                                                                                                       when highly efficient incinerators are used.
ning for a catastrophic mortality event should                                                                                                                          Incineration may require an air pollution permit.
include the study of appropriate regulations,            Table 1. Mortality management by rendering.                                                                    Check state and local regulations.
locating a site for disposal, and having insurance         Advantages                  Disadvantages
to cover the cost involved.                              1. Conserves nutrients      1. Increases sanitary                                                              Table 3. Mortality management by
                                                            contained in the dead       precautions to prevent                                                                   incineration.
Mortality Management Methods                                animals                     disease transmission
  Mortality must be managed for at least three                                                                                                                            Advantages                  Disadvantages
                                                         2. Minimal capital invest- 2. Storage of animals
reasons:                                                    ment unless preservation   is required until pickup                                                         1. Sanitary                 1. Nutrients contained in the
1. Hygiene                                                  is used                                                                                                                                    dead animals are wasted
2. Environmental protection                              3. Low maintenance          3. Fees charged for pickup                                                         2. Final except for ashes   2. Initial cost
3. Aesthetics                                                                        4. Rendering service may                                                                                       3. Fuel and maintenance costs
                                                                                        not be available                                                                                            4. Potential air quality
Sanitary Landfills                                          Table 5. Mortality management using burial.
                                                                                                                                            About this Publication
  In some areas, disposal of dead poultry and/or             Advantages                   Disadvantages                  This publication is adapted from Chapter 51 “Mortality
animals in a sanitary landfill is permitted. Some
states require special licenses to transport dead            1. Capital limited to
                                                                land and excavating
                                                                                       1. Nutrients contained
                                                                                          in the dead animals
                                                                                                                         Management,” which is part of the Livestock and Poultry
                                                                                                                         Environmental Stewardship project, funded by the U.S. EPA                                Best Environmental
animals. Again, check state and local regulations.                                                                       and coordinated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and

 Table 4. Mortality management using
                                                                equipment                 are wasted
                                                                                       2. Increases sanitary
                                                                                                                         published by the MidWest Plan Service, 122 Davidson Hall,
                                                                                                                         Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3080. To gain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Management Practices
          sanitary landfills.                                                             precautions to prevent         access to Lesson 51, go to <> or call 800-562-                                  Farm Animal Production
                                                                                          disease transmission           3618. This lesson was written by Don Stettler, retired from
  Advantages                  Disadvantages
                                                                                       3. Storage of carcasses           the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service,
 1. Simplicity              1. Nutrients contained in the
                               dead animals are wasted
                                                                                          until burial may be            National Water and Climate Center.                                                      Mortality Management
 2. No capital investment   2. Few landfills accept dead
                                                                                       4. Land area becomes                                                                                                       Charles Gould and Dale Rozeboom,
                               animals                                                                                    Publications in this series:
                                                                                          significant for large                                                                                                      Michigan State University, and
                            3. Transportation costs
                                                                                          operations                 •    Land Application Records and Sampling                                                   Stephen Hawkins, Purdue University
                            4. Not permitted in many
                               areas                                                   5. Impossible when            •    Emergency Action Planning for Livestock
                                                                                          ground is frozen                Operations
Burial                                                                                                               •    Mortality Management
                                                              Of the methods utilized, disposal pits or lined        •    Inspecting Your Confined Feeding Operation
   Burial is a common method of handling dead
                                                            pits are the least desirable method for managing         •    Feeding Strategies to Lower N&P in Manure
animals. In cold climates, burial is complicated by
                                                            mortality from an environmental protection
frozen ground. Some states allow burial only in                                                                      •    Building Good Neighbor Relationships
                                                            perspective. Dead animals take a long time to
situations of massive die-off. In general, do not                                                                    •    Disposal of Farm Medical Wastes
                                                            decompose in a disposal pit because of limited
bury carcasses:                                                                                                      •    Manure Nutrient Recycling
                                                            aeration. Due to a high potential for groundwater
• When conditions exist to create a potential               contamination, adequate separation distance from         •    Environmentally Sensitive Field Characteristics
   public health hazard.                                    drinking water supplies is necessary. Check with         •    Manure Applicator Calibration
• At sites with permeable soils, fractured or               appropriate regulatory authorities to determine if       •    Odor Control Options for Confined Feeding
   cavernous bedrock, or a seasonal high-water              pits are legal in your area.                             •    Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans
   table to prevent ground water contamination.
• Within a specified legal minimum separation
                                                            1. Bodies of Dead Animals. Act No. 239, Public Act
   distance from wells and surface water bodies.
                                                               1982, as amended (Michigan).
• Inside the 100-year floodplain.
                                                            2. Rozeboom, D.W., J.G. Sirera, B.E. Straw, L.M.               It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service,
                                                                                                                     David C. Petritz, Director, that all persons shall have equal opportunity and access to
Disposal Pits                                                  Granger, P.J. Fedorka-Cray, and B.J. Thacker. 1998.     the programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national
                                                               Disposing of Swine Carcasses and After-birth by            origin, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, or disability.
                                                                                                                                      Purdue University is an Affirmative Action employer.
                                                               Composting. Animal Science Dept., Michigan State                       This material may be available in alternative formats.
                                                               University. ANS Mimeo No. 369.                                                           1-888-EXT-INFO
                                                            3. Indiana Administrative Code TITLE 345 INDIANA
                                                               STATE BOARD OF ANIMAL HEALTH Rule 7.
                                                                                                                                                  MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity institution.
                                                               Disposal of Dead Animals <                                       Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
                                                               legislative/iac/title345.html>.                       are                          open to all without regard to race, color, national origin,
                                                                                                                                                  gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual
                                                            4. Adams, D., C. Flegal, and S. Noll. 1994. Composting   orientation, marital status, or family status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension
                                                               Poultry Carcasses, NCR 530.                           work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of
                                                                                                                     Agriculture, Margaret A. Bethel, Extension Director, Michigan State University, E.
                                                                                                                     Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only.