Iowa farmers are dealing with at least two incidents that killed a great number of animals. When they must dispose of livestock it can be a huge problem, but Iowa’s new acting state veterinarian Doctor David Schmidt says there are approved procedures for such an event.
Composting is acknowledged in the administrative rules of the Department of Natural Resources as a way to dispose of dead animals. Schmit says the farmer puts down a bed of organic material, puts the animals on top and covers them completely so there’s nothing exposed. They will decompose there.
It’s an effective disposal method, he says, and it works well. The animals can simply be buried, too. Schmitt says one thing an owner does not want is to let predators eat all the dead livestock. In the spring he says eagles are foraging for food, and dogs running loose also might consume carcasses, spreading any disease to other farms in the area.
There are half-a-dozen state veterinarians who can give advice on disposing legally of dead carcasses, or farmers can call the state ag department. About 150 cattle died on an Adair County farm and the cause of their death is still under investigation. A fire that demolished a hog confinement building near Bradford this week killed at least 23-hundred hogs.