STERLING, Ill. — University of Illinois Extension will offer two unique workshops for livestock producers who use, or are considering, mortality composting.

The Animal Mortality Composting Workshops will be held at two locations this year: Jordon Township Building, Sterling, on Aug. 6, and Rend Lake College, Ina, on Aug. 13. Both workshops will start at 9:30 a.m. and wrap up about 3 p.m.

“This workshop gives livestock producers the opportunity to visit a demonstration composting site and talk with a variety of experts on mortality composting,” said Nesli Akdeniz, a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at U of I and a member of the Illinois Extension Livestock Facilities and Manure Management team.

The morning session will include several presentations on different aspects of mortality composting, including new technologies available to help producers.

Ted Funk, an agricultural engineering consultant with Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Beef Association, will discuss regulations and practical concerns. Stanley Solomon, U of I Extension educator, will provide a general overview of the mortality composting process. Akdeniz will explain how to manage composting sites.

The afternoon will included a session on mortality management in the event of a major livestock disease outbreak or significant animal lost due to natural disaster. It will start with a video of Gary Flory, who is an agricultural program manager with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Flory will talk about real world experience with mortality management during disease outbreaks and natural disaster events. A visual tour of a recently completed bio-secure composting study will be presented by Akdeniz.

Following the presentations, the group will move to an active composting site for discussions and demonstrations. Topics will include moisture control, selection and mixing of a carbon source, and measuring temperature in the compost.

“We will conclude the day by turning a compost pile that has already gone through a full heat cycle so that producers can see when they should turn a pile and what it should look like,” according to Stanley Solomon, U of I Extension educator.

Biosecurity concerns for pork producers have been addressed through the use of beef animals as the compost nitrogen sources at both sites.

Other precautions will be implemented at the Sterling farm site, as well. At the southern site, the composter is on Rend Lake College grounds away from other animal activity.

Register online at https://go.illinois.edu/amcw. Registration is limited and closes a week before each event.

There is a $30 fee for the first registrant and $15 for any additional persons from the same farm. Registration includes lunch for each attendee.

The workshop is sponsored by U of I Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Beef Association.

For more information, contact Akdeniz at 217-300-2644, or Solomon at 815-235-4125.

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