Training & Info

Livestock & Poultry Mortality Disposal Training and Information Materials


According to recent USDA statistics, Iowa ranks # 1 in the U.S. in hog & pig inventories (16,300,000), #1 in laying hens (52,147,000), # 7 in beef cattle and calves (3,800,000), and 12th in milk cows (200,000). With such large animal populations in one state, bio-secure and environmentally sound disposal of poultry and livestock mortalities is a very important concern in Iowa.

The following bulletin and presentations are designed to provide Iowa’s poultry and livestock producers, veterinarians, environmental officials, and others, with up-to-date information and training on environmentally sound and bio-secure methods for disposal of routine and emergency animal mortalities.

  • Summary Guidelines for Emergency Composting of Cattle Mortalities (276 Kb, 4-page PDF)
    Practical emergency cattle mortality composting recommendations based on results of replicated warm- and cold-weather field research trials conducted at Iowa State University.
  • Understanding and Troubleshooting Mortality Composting (444 Kb, 2/08)
    Presentation, 16 slides, gives an overview of the causes and preventative measures for three of the most common composting problems ….. leachate production, odor, and slow carcass decay. Prepared for Iowa Pork Industry Center regional conferences held throughout Iowa in February, 2008.
  • Emergency Mortality Disposal Planning (739 Kb, 12/07)
    Presentation, 26 slides, covers practical, environmental, and legal considerations associated with use of burial, incineration, composting, landfill disposal, and rendering for disposal of large-scale poultry or livestock losses caused by fire, heat stress, ventilation failure, disease, and other catastrophes. Prepared for statewide ISU Manure Applicator Certification Meetings held winter/spring 2008.
  • Poultry and Livestock Mortality Disposal in Iowa – Frequently Asked Question’s (revised 08/26/15)
    Bulletin, 11 pages, covers frequently-asked questions concerning on-farm burial, landfilling, incineration, rendering, on-farm composting, and state agency (Iowa DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship) rules pertaining to these methods of poultry and livestock disposal.
  • Emergency Livestock Disposal Planning (444 Kb, 7/31/06)
    Presentation, 20 slides, discusses the importance of and procedures for establishing an emergency livestock or poultry disposal action plan that facilitates rapid, bio-secure, and environmentally sound recovery in the event of catastrophic herd or flock losses caused by fire, ventilation failure, disease, etc.
  • Composting for Routine Disposal of Poultry and Livestock Mortalities (1.8 Mb, 7/31/06)
    Presentation, 41 slides with review questions, covers pros and cons of using composting for routine disposal of poultry and livestock mortalities. Discusses typical equipment, facilities, materials, and procedures used for bio-secure and environmentally sound on-farm composting of poultry, swine, and similarly sized species.
  • Understanding and Troubleshooting Mortality Composting (Presentation, 613 Kb, 7/31/06)
    Presentation, 40 slides with review questions, covers fundamental factors that affect the success of on-farm mortality composting operations, and suggest strategies for avoiding typical problems such as leachate release, odor, and slow carcass decomposition.
  • Emergency Mortality Composting (877 Kb, 7/31/06)
    Presentation, 41 slides with review questions, covers emergency scenarios that favor the use of composting, provides rules of thumb for estimating size and cover material requirements for emergency windrow composting of large quantities of any type of carcasses, or for daily (non-emergency) disposal of cattle or other large species. Based on research and practical experiences obtained during a 3-year emergency cattle mortality composting study conducted by Iowa State University for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.