Environmentally Sound and Bio-Secure Disposal of Livestock Mortalities

Dr. Tom Glanville, Faculty, Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering


As livestock and poultry operations have become more concentrated, and the rendering industry has continued to decline throughout North America, concerns regarding the cost, environmental impacts, and biosecurity of routine and emergency carcass disposal have mounted.  With added concerns due to recent outbreaks of avian influenza in the U.S. and Canada, and foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain, the need for scientifically valid data and practical guidance on mortality disposal options is greater than ever. 


Develop a coordinated program of field research and producer and regulatory agency outreach addressing environmentally sound and bio-secure methods for routine and emergency disposal of poultry and livestock.


During the 2005-06 program year a 3-year study of emergency cattle mortality composting was completed and the final project report was made available to peer researchers and producers through the world on the project website  (www.abe.iastate.edu/cattlecomposting ).  Following publication of research results on composting process performance; soil, air, and water quality impacts; and biosecurity/virus survival; a series of outreach materials based on the research findings was developed for producer groups, environmental officials, and educators.  These materials were the primary learning materials presented at a one-day conference on mortality disposal sponsored by USEPA Region 7 in Kansas City, KS on July 25th.  This meeting was attended by environmental professionals from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and New Mexico


Interest in the research and extension information provided by this program have been well received by producer and regulatory groups, resulting in numerous invitations to present at a variety of venues in North America including:

September 2006

147 Sustainable Agriculture

150 Environmental Stewardship

Page last updated: October 4, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu