Mortality composting resources for responsible management practices

Managing livestock mortalities on-farm requires careful planning and precaution. MSU Extension has compiled resources on mortality management.

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Sheep at a livestock handling demonstration. Photo by Eliza Hensel, Michigan State University Extension

Knowing how to manage livestock mortalities on the farm means having proper management practices in place to protect not only yourself and your community, but also ensuring your farm stays within state regulations and guidelines.

When dealing with disease or mortality, awareness of proper disposal methods can make or break success on the farm and help you avoid composting or environmental problems.

Below are resources to guide you in making the best decisions of how to manage mortalities on your farm:

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Disease Outbreak

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has a variety of resource pages dependent on the species being handled as well as a platform to report an outbreak in your area. You can also sign up to receive notifications on disease outbreaks in your area. Reporting outbreaks is important to the health of your community and important to keeping other livestock around you safe.

Mortality Composting Done Right

Understanding proper composting techniques is crucial to a successful mortality management practice and should not be overlooked. MSU Extension mortality composting expert Dale Rozeboom discusses correctly performing small-scale mortality composting for your livestock farm.

Michigan Requirements for Disposal of Dead Animals

A variety of resources on proper disposal requirements specific to Michigan. Resources linked include the BODA-NREPA Mortality Composting Briefing, Michigan Animal Tissue Compost Operational Standard, the Bodies of Dead Animals Act 239, as well as other sources detailing proper Michigan-specific requirements.

MSU Extension Composting Tools

When handling your livestock mortalities through composting, it is important to do it correctly and safely with a proper plan. The Managing Animal Mortalities Composting Tools site  contains resources to help you plan your compost pile. Links include the Spartan Compost Recipe Optimizer which provides an opportunity for people to learn how to develop a compost recipe, the Spartan Emergency Animal Tissue Composting Planner which provides instructions for emergency planning, a template for you to easily document animal production and compost as well as a form template that can be used to keep records of composting work done on-farm or in an animal processing business.

When creating your management plan, being informed of your options and state-specific regulations is important to your success on the farm. It is recommended that you carefully evaluate your circumstances and create a unique management plan dependent on the size, location, and scale of your farm and the amount of livestock mortalities on hand.

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