Compost is a soil-like product resulting from controlled biological decompostion of organic materials.
Plant and animal residues such as leaves and grass, crop residues, manure, sawdust, food wastes, paper products, municipal sewage sludge, and yes ..... dead poultry and livestock, are common examples of organic materials that are often composted. All are comprised of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur - the essential elements of all life - and as a result they are readily decomposed by bacteria and fungi that occur naturally in our environment.
Organic materials are composted to achieve a variety of desirable characteristics. Composting reduces the volume of organic materials, often by as much as 50 percent, making them less costly to store and transport. Rapid microbial activity during composting breaks down organic materials, causing them to become more biologically stable and less likely to produce odors during storage. The composting process also produces considerable heat, generating internal temperatures of 120 - 160 degrees F that significantly reduce disease-causing microorganisms and viable weed seeds.
In addition to the benefits cited above, on-farm composting of animal mortalities rapidly degrades all soft tissues, producing a heat-treated product that can be applied to cropland without attracting insects, rodents, or scavenging animals.