Carcass and Animal Mortality Management

Supporting Agriculture is an important goal of the Maine Compost Team. Dealing with animal mortality management from routine to catastrophic is a subject area where the Team has been very active, starting with early research in 2001 based upon using composting to treat animals infected with the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease. This study helped us to develop concise, biosecure practices for proper mortality management.

In 2004, in response to the threat of “Mad Cow” disease, the Team stepped-in once again and conducted numerous mortality trials using various combinations of feedstocks to determine the optimal recipe. Out of this study came two ideal mortality management feedstock choices that have become standards for mortality management in Maine-Sewage Sludge Compost and Horse Manure.

In 2006, Avian influenza loomed a threat to Maine’s poultry industry and the team conducted trials using sewage sludge compost to treat potentially infected birds, successfully composting them in less than four weeks. Since then, the team has focused on evaluating the effects of mortality compost piles, from nutrient movement to leachate losses.