Our Compost Bunkers are used for various mammals and livestock:
- Road Kill
Due to the proposed FDA rule change effective April 27, 2009 farmers will no longer be able to send
their dead cattle over 30 months of age to rendering plants. Most dairy herds lose cows well past
this 30 month mandate. Hanson Silo Company is helping our dairy customer by providing precast
composting systems. With several options of Bunker Panel sizes available and 2 composting systems
in use, we are happy to offer another solution to the large and small farms we serve. Contact
us for more information.
Why Composting is a Good Choice
- Composting allows immediate year-round disposal of carcasses so that disease is not spread.
- There is no entry of off-farm vehicles that can bring disease onto the farm from other operation.
- The high temperatures in the compost pile kill pathogens.
- A properly functioning compost pile gives off little odor and does not harm or affect groundwater.
- Composting turns a waste into a beneficial fertilizer and soil amendment, resulting in on-farm nutrient recycling.
- Composting has low to moderate start up costs and minimal operating costs. Plus NCRSEQUIP
pays up to 75% of project costs visit your county NCRS or http://www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/
Easy to accomplish
- Composting requires only good management and minimal training.
Will I have problems with odor?
No. A properly managed compost pile with enough bulking agent will not produce offensive odors.
Farmer cooperators in three Minnesota demonstration projects found that the layer of sawdust or
bedding on top of the pile greatly reduced odor and, once the compost heated up, offensive odors
were essentially absent. However, turning the pile may produce odors.
Will the composting piles attract flies and rodents?
No. Flies are not a problem because internal temperatures above 130F will kill existing fly larvae.
Also, when piles are covered by at least 12 inches of bulking agent, flies and rodents are not attracted
to the area. If manure is used in the pile and not covered adequately by a bulking agent, some
flies may be present on the surface but they will not be able to reproduce.
Will the compost spread diseases?
No. The high temperatures of proper composting will destroy most harmful bacteria and viruses
associated with livestock. Viruses that cause avian influenza, Newcastle disease and pseudo rabies
are completely inactivated by the end of the second heat cycle. Bacteria such as Salmonella enteritidis,
Pasteurella multocida, Erysipelas rhusiopathiae and Salmonella cholerasuis will be successfully
destroyed by the composting process.
Will composting work with all animals?
Yes. Poultry, swine, sheep, and goats can all be composted without a permit. The Minnesota Board
of Animal Health regulations require a permit for cattle. With larger animals such as sows and larger
cattle, some of their large bones may take longer to decompose than with smaller animals. These
bones can be removed from the finished compost and returned to an active pile for further composting.
Note that while any species can be composted, Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulations
do not allow composting of any animals that died from anthrax or toxic materials.
Will I recognize animal parts in the compost when I turn it?
No. Farmer cooperators in three Minnesota demonstration projects found that when the piles were
ready for the first turning, the only recognizable parts were larger bones. These bones were rubbery
and decalcified, and could be broken easily. There were even fewer after the second turning.
Is composting costly?
No. The main cost is in building a composting structure. Some farmers in Minnesota have renovated
existing buildings for little cost. Another cost may be a front-end or skid steer loader to handle the
mortalities and compost. The only on-going cost is the bulking agent and the skid steer. Your farm
may have bulking agents (such as straw, litter, bedding, or corn stalks) available at no cost. If not,
you will have to purchase bulking agent. This cost should be minimal.
Will composting take a lot of labor?
No. The labor involved is minimal, consisting of placing any new mortalities in the bin every day and
covering them with bulking agent, checking the temperature of the pile every day, moving the pile
between the primary and secondary stages of composting, and moving the finished compost to storage.
One Minnesota farmer who had a composting demonstration site on his farm estimated that it
took about ten minutes each day to manage.
Are there uses for the compost when it's done?
Yes. The finished compost can be used in your next compost pile to replace part of the bulking agent
and provide a large microbial population right away. It can also be spread on crop fields to provide
beneficial organic matter and nutrients to the soil and the crops.
Can composting be done in the winter in Minnesota?
Yes. Active piles will continue to heat during the winter. New piles should not be started during the
winter unless active, hot compost is available as the bulking agent.
Can any size operation use composting?
Yes. However, if small operations use a seasonal livestock production cycle they may not want to
start in the winter.
Can varmints be a problem around the compost pile?
Yes. Visiting dogs, coyotes, raccoon, skunk and fox can become problems. A very hot and active
compost pile where the carcasses are adequately covered is the best solution.