On April 25, 2014, the American Institute for Goat Research of Langston University held a conference entitled “What Farmer Educators Need to Know about Mortality Composting – Beyond the Basics.” All livestock producers know that if you raise livestock, at some point you will have dead stock. Mortality composting is a lawful, environmentally-friendly method of carcass disposal that can easily be done on-farm. The basic procedure of mortality composting can be found in a number of on-line resources and requires the same components as backyard vegetative composting, namely a carbon source (sawdust, animal bedding, old hay or straw, etc.), a nitrogen source (carcass), water, and available oxygen for aerobic decomposition. Whereas mortality composting is not difficult, farmer educators and other people who work with producers should have a deeper knowledge about the process to answer questions and concerns that farmers may have. What happens to disease organisms in a mortality compost pile? What happens to the drugs used to treat an animal prior to its death? Can I use the compost on pastures or cropland? What is the best way to build a pile? Are there pollution or other environmental concerns? Providing information to farmer educators on these and other questions was the goal of this conference.
You may freely browse and download the individual conference papers or presentations using the pull-down menus below.
All livestock producers encounter mortality. Finding appropriate carcass disposal methods can be challenging. The State of Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry lists five acceptable options for animal carcass disposal:
This web page will help goat and sheep producers with the basics of mortality composting.
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