New Composting Publication Offers Practical Steps for Livestock Producers

link opens in new window/tab pdf file opens in new window/tab

Tractor and spreader mounding a livestock composting area.

AMES, Iowa – Composting has long been an option for livestock mortality disposal. It generally can be done on farm, requires little in the way of equipment and additional supplies, and the end product may be used to enhance soil fertility.

Although composting has not been standard operating procedure on many farms due to other established processes, some new or potential situation changes have led to renewed interest in composting. Whether you’re interested in reducing or eliminating rendering truck stops on-site or are working on an overall biosecurity plan for your operation, composting now could be on your radar.

A new publication from Iowa Pork Industry Center can help provide the information you need. Iowa State University extension swine specialist Dave Stender is one of the authors. He said that while it’s written for beginners, anyone who wants to learn more about issues, options and steps can benefit.

“Two primary worries about composting are odor and leachate, which is the water that has percolated through a solid,” he said. “Both of these are easily addressed by selecting and managing appropriate co-compost materials.”

The publication outlines how to set up the base for the compost, cover the carcass to shed rain, and choose the co-compost material that will act as a biofilter to stop any adverse odors.

Download the publication Field Tips for Successful Composting, AE3549 at no charge from the Iowa State Extension Store.


IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Life Sciences) and Veterinary Medicine at ISU. Its mission is to promote efficient pork production technologies in Iowa, maintain Iowa's pork industry leadership and strengthen rural development efforts. IPIC focuses its efforts on programs that are integral and complementary to ISU Extension and Outreach. Through IPIC, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to make their operations more efficient and profitable.


Dave Stender, ISU extension swine specialist, 712-261-0225,
Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, 515-294-4496,


2021 News and releases