Biosecurity for Livestock and Poultry Manure Management

livestock and poultry environmental learning center logo with cow, pig, and chicken sillhouettes over a map of the U.S. with three circling arrowsMost biosecurity plans are meant to protect animal and human health by preventing the spread of bacteria or other pathogens. Indirectly, effective biosecurity practices can reduce the likelihood of multiple or catastrophic mortalities which is an issue of environmental concern. While not usually discussed under the umbrella of “biosecurity”, manure handling should not be ignored when considering your plan. Related: Manure Pathogens

Avian Influenza | Swine PEDv | Pumping & Land Application | Inspectors | Mortalities | Recommendations by Species

Avian Influenza Resources

In 2015, millions of birds either died or had to be euthanized because of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The approved methods of disposal for large-scale (catastrophic) mortalities include: burial, incineration, and composting.

PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) Resources

The swine industry has experienced significant losses as a result of PEDv, which can be transmitted through contact with manure of infected pigs. It is possible to move the virus between farms on vehicles, pumps, manure handling equipment, clothing, or any other item that comes in contact with manure and is not thoroughly disinfected between farms/fields. The low amount of viral exposure required to cause illness means that even tiny amounts of residual manure pose significant biosecurity risks.

Preventing Manure Pathogen Dispersal Between Farms or Field

Restricting access of off-farm equipment and personnel involved in manure pumping or manure application and thorough cleaning of equipment between farms are among the recommendations to follow to reduce risks of spreading manure-borne pathogens.

  • North Dakota State Biosecure Nutrient Management. This fact sheet does an especially nice job describing how to manage and clean equipment used in manure handling around the farm.
  • The National Pork Board released fact sheets on Biosecure Manure Pumping Procedures for farmers, commercial manure haulers, and land owners.
  • The Maryland Department of Agriculture developed a brochure related to transporting manure and set out some guidelines to prevent the spread of pathogens.

Biosecurity for Inspectors or Technical Service Providers

What should regulatory inspectors do when traveling between farms to prevent the spread of disease? What requests can farmers make of inspectors to protect their farm biosecurity?

Biosecure Mortality Management

One of the best collections on composting animal mortalities comes from the Cornell Waste Management Institute. Check out their sections on health and safety and animal mortality composting for research on pathogen destruction and other safety considerations.

The following fact sheet was developed in response to the PEDv (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus), although these guidelines should be effective for reducing the risks related to other pathogens. It focuses on the use of rendering as the main mortality disposal method. Biosecure Mortalities Removal

Farmer & Farm Worker Biosecurity Resources

The following resources are not focused on managing manure but give a great overview of the larger biosecurity issue and practices on livestock and poultry farms.

farm worker in a confined swine barn

This farm worker follows the farm biosecurity protocol and is wearing coveralls and boots that are cleaned and laundered on-site.




Beef Cattle

Goats and Sheep

Page Managers: Jill Heemstra, University of Nebraska and John Lawrence, Iowa State University