On-farm storage and bioreduction of pig carcase material by anaerobic digestion


01 April 2009 - 31 March 2011
Project leader:
Harper Adams University

About this project

  • To investigate anaerobic digestion (AD) as a cost effective, sustainable and bio-secure method of on-farm storage and bio-reduction of fallen livestock for the pig industry.
  • To provide evidence on the efficacy of anaerobic digestion as an on-farm method of storage and bio-reduction of carcase material to inform EU decision making and legislation. 


  • Significant levels of biogas can be produced from AD of pig carcase material (PCM).
  • AD of PCM was more efficient and stable at 35ºC than at 55ºC and at lower loading rates.
  • There was no significant effect of PCM pre-treatment on biogas production.
  • AD has been shown to significantly reduce pathogen numbers, although pathogen destruction was greater at 55ºC.
  • Preliminary analysis suggests that small scale on-farm systems may be a cost-effective alternative to incineration or collection and disposal by rendering for some pig production sites.
  • It appears that there is a compromise between the optimum temperature for killing pathogens and the optimum temperature for producing methane. 

Further information

M. Kirby, C. Brizuela, R. Wilkinson. (2010) Investigation of farmers' perspectives on the disposal of fallen livestock and animal by-products in Great Britain. Veterinary Record 167, 606-609.

Research into Action 22: On-farm storage and bioreduction of non-ruminant livestock

Pig carcase bioreduction using anaerobic digestion (AD) (stage 2)