Thursday, January 09, 2014

Composting Mortalities for Disease Control in Poultry Disease Outbreaks

This research improves the readiness of industry and government agencies to respond quickly to contain and eradicate emergency animal diseases in the Australian poultry industry.

The project investigated the feasibility of using composting for emergency poultry carcass disposal in Australia and validated the effectiveness of the process in eliminating Newcastle disease virus in poultry carcasses.

The project findings will assist the development of more robust emergency disease response procedures since the research that was undertaken simulated the scale and ‘real-world’ character of emergency mass mortality composting without compromising scientific integrity.

Composting of carcasses in mass livestock disease outbreaks has commonly been considered sceptically by many.  Yet, the physical conditions in well managed compost operations will achieve conditions that can eliminate disease organisms.

I am aware of work using the in vessel VCU technology conducted in the 1990s that was able to eliminate plant diseases by in vessel composting, as well as effectively transform poultry carcasses killed by a small outbreak of Newcastle disease in NSW into compost as well as eliminating the disease organism.

The timely work by lead author Kevin Wilkinson from Victoria, with a long connection with composting activities as well as government policy, shows it can be done on a large scale, a scale sufficient to handle a major disease outbreak.

The full document can be downloaded free from here -

Well done to RIRDC for supporting the work.

There are lessons here also for some of Australia's near neighbours in handling mass poultry disease outbreaks.  After all, composting is not that difficult, over expensive, nor logistically problematical and it works!!

Another big plus for composting as an organic low energy driven solution.

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