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Performance Evaluation of a Passively-Aerated Plastic-Wrapped Composting System Designed for Emergency Disposal of Swine Mortalities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  074038.(doi:10.13031/2013.23242)
Authors:   T D Glanville, H K Ahn, J A Koziel, N Akdeniz, B P Crawford
Keywords:   animal carcass, mortality, disposal, composting

Monitoring of a passively-aerated plastic-wrapped mortality composting system designed for emergency disposal of diseased swine highlighted the importance of the physical characteristics of materials used to envelop the carcasses. Inadequate moisture was a problem when using envelope materials such as ground cornstalks or straw having low density and high air-filled porosity. High O2 concentrations throughout these materials, and significantly higher moisture levels in the top layers than in the materials surrounding the carcasses, suggested significant air movement and transport of carcass moisture away from the carcasses, resulting in carcass desiccation and incomplete decay. Although internal temperatures and moisture levels in test units constructed with corn silage were much more favorable than in those constructed with cornstalks or straw, less carcass decomposition occurred. Settling and compaction, resulting in high bulk density and low air-filled porosity, caused low O2 concentrations that appeared to impair carcass decay in the silage test units.

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