Carcass Disposal by Composting
Keywords:Composting, carcass disposal, compost windrow, bone structure
Composting is an acceptable method of disposal of cattle carcasses. Composting requires appropriate carbon:nitrogen mix (-30:1), moisture (50-60%), porosity (35-45% open spaces), and temperature (130-150°F) to be successful. This paper describes a procedure used for approximately four years to successfully compost cattle. Adult (-1200 lb) intact cattle carcasses should be placed in a compost windrow for at least 60 days to assure adequate heat production and degradation of carcass before turning, mixing or grinding. Composted intact cattle can be ready for field application in approximately 12 months. Larger bones should be 'recycled' back into more compost for complete deterioration. Grinding of fresh carcasses or carcasses composted at least 60 days could reduce compost time to approximately 6 months and will eliminate major bone structure.