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Mortality Composting

Between 1 and 5% of animals die on Utah farms each year. These mortalities must be disposed of in a manner acceptable to the producer and according to local, state, and federal regulations. Composting is becoming a more common approach for dealing with mortality disposal. Where available and economically feasible, rendering is often the method of choice. On-site burial was once a common method for mortality disposal and may still be acceptable if mortalities are buried at the proper depth in soils where a water table or other limitations do not exist. Landfills may also accept mortalities. Incineration is used by larger operations, particularly for smaller animals like chickens. However, regulations and increased fuel costs are reducing the use of incineration. Check with local county and city officials for guidelines or regulations regarding burial, landfilling, incineration, or composting of mortalities in your area. In addition, state regulations must be followed for mortality composting and incineration.

A Nutrient Management Plan must include information regarding the disposal of mortalities.  Composting of mortalities is a viable option for Utah.  To compost mortalities, a plan must be approved by the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste.

Mortality Composting Contact
Ralph Bohn
Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste

Natural Rendering: Composting Livestock Mortality and Butcher Waste published by Cornell Waste Management Institute.