How To Dispose of Dead Livestock

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By titanoutlet November 20, 2013 09:51

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What Happens When They’re Gone?

 

                  As a young girl growing up on the farm, I remember the occasional death of cows from our dairy herd.  There was a panel truck that came and picked up the animal and drove away, and I always knew that this vehicle was called a rendering truck, but never really knew what that meant.

 

Cattle loss from Winter Storm Atlas in South Dakota. Photo via USDA NRCS South Dakota on Flickr (http://bit.ly/I3kV0v)

Despite the best care that farmers give them, farm animals succumb to injury, disease, and other factors.  One recent event that will be remembered by many for years to come is the October snowstorm in South Dakota which claimed thousands of animals, including 14,840 cattle, 1,257 sheep, 288 horses and 40 bison according to the latest (but not final) reports received by the South Dakota Animal Industry Board Office.  And while the storm itself didn’t actually kill them, many basically died of pulmonary edema. Their lungs filled up with fluid that actually came from their bloodstream as their cardio vascular system was compromised.

 

Because of biosecurity issues, increased fees, changes in the animal byproduct market and new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations in 2009, rendering service availability has decreased and has become less appealing.  Other methods of animal mortality disposal include burial, incineration and composting, but all of these methods are subject to state regulations to prevent groundwater contamination.  Composting is a simple and natural process that requires only a site to compost and bulking agents or co-compost materials to absorb moisture and reduce odors. It requires minimal labor to construct the compost pile, but still involves special considerations regarding surface and groundwater, neighbors and human dwellings, and potential risk of disease transmission by rodents and drainage.  Composting is often the method of choice for mortality disposal.

 

South Dakota officials used the burial method for their state’s catastrophic animal loss, creating two 20-foot-deep by 60-foot-wide disposal pits in the western part of the state.  These pits were dug specifically to avoid health problems by being at least 1,000 feet from surface water, floodplains, rivers, and private or public drinking water wells.

 

Experiencing new life on the farm is always enjoyable and rewarding, but the last phase of that life cycle is a constant reality.  Know your state regulations regarding mortality disposal so you can be equipped and prepared for the inevitable end to that cycle.

For more in depth information on how to dispose of farm animals, including cattle, goats and sheep, see the following links:

http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/compost.html

http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalHealth/docs/LivestockDisposalManual10709.pdf

http://www.in.gov/boah/2369.htm

http://www.sheep101.info/201/deadanimal.html

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/cattle/194412-what-do-dead-cow.html 

References:

http://brownfieldagnews.com/2013/11/07/south-dakota-cattle-died-congestive-heart-failure/

http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/Cattlemen”sConference/On-Farm%20Animal%20Mortality%20Disposal-IBC%20draft.pdf

http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/live/ec727/build/ec727.pdf

http://www.biosecuritycenter.org/article/carcassDisposal

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3190608.shtml

 

 

 

Terry Olson – Titan Outlet Store Team

 

 

titanoutlet
By titanoutlet November 20, 2013 09:51
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