This question was emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, asking:
Is there evidence that turkey manure spread over fields could cause bird flu?
Dr. Chris Janelle is a wildlife research scientist at the Minnesota DNR in the wildlife health program. He had this to say:
Yes, poultry manure contaminated with avian influenza virus that’s then spread on fields can result in infection of healthy poultry flocks in the vicinity. The general recommendation is to compost infected droppings inside an affected barn, if possible, for up to three weeks before applying to allow time for any virus to be deactivated. Composting time depends on how warm the compost pile can be maintained. Additionally, there are lots of avian influenza strains that react to the heat that's generated from a compost pile differently and some may be deactivated more quickly than others. The research that's been done so far has been done on specific AI strains. In general, it's recommended that temperature reach 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the compost pile and on the surface of the pile too.
Read more about avian influenza on the Agriculture Department's Animal Production and Health Division's website.
Thanks for asking!