Montana State University

National animal composting webinar features MSU Extension specialist

April 19, 2010 -- MSU News Service

MSU Extension Livestock Environment Associate Specialist Tommy Bass will be one of four national experts speaking at a webinar about livestock and poultry mortality composting on May 14. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.)   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
On May 14, a free webinar "Livestock and Poultry Mortality Composting: A Natural Rendering Process" will be presented at 12:30 p.m. The webinar will feature four of the top national experts in livestock and poultry composting including MSU Extension livestock environment associate specialist Tommy Bass. This webcast is part of the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center webcast series.

The webinar topics will include: routine and emergency carcass composting; composting large carcasses with different types of feed-stock (straw, saw dust, manure, etc.); considerations for composting in cold semi-arid environments, such as the high plains and mountain states; and composting catastrophic poultry mortalities.

Even in ordinary day-to-day operations, feed yards, poultry farms and other livestock operations will have to deal with dead animals. There are many issues, including regulatory ones, with letting the carcass decay naturally in the field. In most states the legal options are burying, incinerating, conventional rendering and composting. Most of these options have drawbacks.

If done properly, composting dead animals poses few if any of the problems of incinerating, burying or transporting long distances.

"Not only is it more economical, it may be more environmentally sound as well," said Bass. "Plus, in a relatively short time - less than 45 days for chickens and about six months for an average-sized cow -- the carcasses can be recycled into carbon rich compost with no sign of soft tissues and minimal residual bones, which can be screened out."

The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Saqib Mukhtar, Texas AgriLife Extension Service engineer. In addition to Bass, webinar speakers will be: Jean Bonhotal, Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Waste Management Institute, Cornell University; George (Bud) Malone, former Extension Poultry Specialist with the University of Delaware for 34 years, who now runs a private poultry consulting service; and Josh Payne, Area Animal Waste Management Specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

To attend the webinar, participants should go to: They may also download the speakers' PowerPoint presentations and connect to the virtual meeting room. It is recommended that individuals who haven't attended a webinar before visit the site ahead of time and click on the link about participating in a webcast.

To allow time for questions and answers, there is no set end time for the webinar, but it is expected to last about 70 minutes. The webinar will also be archived for later viewing.

Tommy Bass at (406) 994-5733 or