Research

Strategies for the disposal of fallen stock and their applicability to the UK situation

Abstract

The aim of this research project was to develop a method of anaerobic digestion that was suitable for the bioreduction of pig carcases on-farm.

Description

Since the introduction of EU Animal By-product Regulation (ABPR) 1774/2002, the open burning and burial of fallen stock on-farm has been prohibited. The project has examined the current methods of livestock disposal available to farmers within the UK, EU and globally. Upon consultation of farmers around the UK, a novel method of on-farm storage and bioreduction was desired to try to reduce the cost of disposal and increase compliance to EU legislation. 

The process of anaerobic digestion was a very interesting method that could be developed for the bioreduction of carcases prior to disposal. Anaerobic digestion involves the transformation of organic material into volatile fatty acids and methane gas, by a mixed microbial culture without the presence of oxygen. The methane released from the process can be utilised to provide heat and/or electricity to operate the digester, with suprlus energy used on-farm. Digesting carcases on-farm could also reduce biosecurirty issues associated with the frequent movement of fallen stock between farms during collection and reduce the carbon footprint of carcase disposal.

A series of experiments were conducted to ascertain the suitability of anaerobic digestion for the bioreduction of pig carcases. The efficiency of the process was determined due to the degradation of carcase material; quantity and quality of methane production and the level of pathogen destruction achieved.

Funding Body

BPEX and Harper Adams

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