Research and demonstration projects continue to validate the practice of mortality composting in a variety of production scenarios, geographic regions, and climates. Composting, when compared to many common methods of mortality management, can result in improved environmental, economic, and biosecurity outcomes. In SW Nebraska, a partnership was developed between the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) to demonstrate mortality composting as a biosecurity management practice for livestock producers, and an economically viable practice for management of equine mortalities. Initially, the target audiences for the demonstration and outreach were agricultural students and faculty of NCTA, livestock producers, and horse owners; however, the project attracted the interest of veterinarians managing private practices and the teaching hospital at NCTA. The expanded audience allowed for discussion on the social acceptance of composting for recreational horses and companion animals, particularly the fate of the finished compost. Additionally, multiple carbon sources and co-composting materials were piloted, included waste cedar which is common to the area. Additional demonstration sites and outreach events are planned for 2015, working with the expanded audiences, and in other regions of the state. Management of mortality composting in the humid eastern end Nebraska will be different than in the semi-arid high plains location of NCTA.
Bass, Thomas email@example.com Animal and Range Sciences
Jim Hicks, NCTA
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