Although mortality is minimized with proper care of the animals, there will always be a certain number of pigs of all age groups that will die. Producers have a choice of disposal methods that best fit their management plan. In this section, you will find information about the different types of disposal methods.Why proper mortality disposal is important.Public perception is powerful. Disease control is critical. Water, air and soil must be protected.

Nutrients and disease-causing microorganisms released from decomposing animal bodies may be detrimental to the surface water quality if they are transported in runoff to surface water or ground water by deep percolation. The disease that caused the death of an animal can be spread to others on-farm or to those on nearby farms. The sight of unattended dead pigs is repugnant to most people. Although the judgment may be unfair, some may label an operation as poorly managed solely because of unattended mortality. For these reasons, it is very important that a swine operation have an adequate method and facilities for disposal of mortality in a timely and environmental safe manner.

Primary considerations for mortality disposal

  • Adequacy of method and facilities for normal mortalityRegardless of the method of disposal used, it must be adequate to dispose of the swine operation’s normal mortality in a way that the environment is protected and is aesthetically agreeable. If possible, the actual mortality rate for the swine operation should be determined. With this information, the adequacy of the capacity of the disposal facilities can be determined.
  • Nutrient content of completed compostIf the composting method is used for disposal of dead animals, the nutrients it contains must be included with nutrients from other sources in a nutrient management plan.

Plan for catastrophic mortality

Most of the methods for disposal method for normal mortality can be used for catastrophic mortality. However, the scale must be increased many times in order to provide capacity for a catastrophic mortality event. As such, it may be impractical to have facilities prepared to handle a catastrophic event that may never occur. However, a plan should be developed as to how a catastrophic event will be managed. For example, an area on the farm could be identified that could be used to windrow compost the operation’s entire population should the need arise.
Management Methods