Concept and Equipment Demonstrations

The following concept and equipment demonstrations will be conducted during the 6th International Symposium on Animal Mortality Management on June 6, 2018 at 3 p.m.

  1. Aboveground Burial (AGB)—In this demo, aboveground burial is demonstrated with an adult Holstein cow placed on a 12-inch thick bed of carbon within an 18-inch deep trench.  The animal is then covered with the soil that was excavated from the trench.  Finally, the soil mound is seeded and the entire site is allowed to set while the carcass naturally decomposes.  The decomposition process occurs in the shallow, biologically active soil zone where biological decay and the distance to groundwater is greatest.  The AGB system was constructed during December 2017.
  2. Deep Pit Burial—This is the traditional go to practice for most farm mortalities.  In this case, a 6-8 foot deep pit is dug into the ground, with an optional liner added.  The pit is just wide enough to accommodate a carcass, which is added and then the pit is back-filled.  This demonstration was also built in December of 2017 and will be compared to the actions of the above ground burial.  A viewing port has been added to allow carcass observations and leachate sampling is also included in this demo.
  3. Soil Structure/Profile—In this demo an open soil pit will display the natural layers, or horizons, where the implications of soil texture and structure will be discussed as it relates to water movement and containment.  Examples of regional soils will also be on display.  Leachate movement through soil materials will be illustrated using soil columns.
  4. Drone Monitoring—Fitted with an infrared temperature monitor, a commercial drone will be used to show how aerial monitoring might facilitate temperature monitoring of large mortality compost piles/windrows during a foreign animal disease outbreak or natural disaster event.
  5. Static Pile Compost –This demo is built in accordance with USDA Livestock Mortality Compost Guidelines and includes placing an adult Holstein carcass on a 12 long by 16 foot wide by 18 to 24-inch thick bed of carbonaceous amendment, followed by an additional 18-24 inches of carbonaceous material as a cover.  The pile will be constructed in early April and will compost for 6-8 weeks prior to excavation.
  6. Aerated Static Pile—This demo is set up similarly to the static pile demo except the base will be underlain by perforated PVC piping.  This pile will also be built on the same day as the static pile and both will be compared for degree of degradation based on benefits of aeration.
  7. Ask the Experts: In this tent, participants will have a chance to interact with 8 industry experts specializing in all aspects of mortality management.
    –  Bob Peer, a Subject Matter Expert from Virginia, will be explaining the characteristics of various feedstocks used to compost catastrophic poultry and livestock losses from diseases or natural disasters. Advice will be provided on selecting and blending feedstocks, procuring feedstocks during a disaster response, and how to  identify feedstocks prior to an emergency.
  1. Foam Euthanasia—In this demo, experts from North Carolina will show the proper techniques to humanely use foam to rapidly depopulate during a significant animal disease outbreak or other critical event.  This demonstration will feature simulated animals only.
  2. Alkaline Hydrolysis—During alkaline hydrolysis, mortalities are subjected to a process which rapidly speeds up decomposition using heat, pressure, and an alkaline substance such as potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Carcasses are loaded into a steel vessel with 80 gallons or so of water that is heated up to 300 degrees—killing any microbes and even destroying prions responsible for the Chronic Wasting Disease and Mad Cow Disease. After approximately two hours, most of the soft tissue is dissolved into a liquid and the remaining bone is brittle and can be easily ground up into ash.

Educational Concept and Equipment Demonstration Schedule

2:15 p.m. Depart Amarillo for Demonstration Site
2:45 p.m. Welcome to Bushland ARS site of Symposium Demonstrations
3 p.m. Round 1 Educational Presentations
3:30 p.m. Round 2 Educational Presentations
4 p.m. Round 3 Educational Presentations
4:30 p.m. Round 4 Educational Presentations
5 p.m. Round 4 Educational Presentations
5:30 p.m. Discussion and Additional Discovery
6:15 p.m. Load Buses to Return to Hotel