Farmwest Blog

Manure Spreading Advisory #4 2015: South Coast Region

In general, manure application on any crops is not advised. See below for advice on avoiding overflowing manure pits. What is the concern with spreading manure now? Although a manure application now, under the most favourable conditions, may lead to a growth spurt of grass (Fig. 1), most of the nitrogen in manure that would be spread now will be leached and lost from the soil during the cold, rainy season, before the grass can use it (Fig. 2). Advice: don’t just feed the microbes, feed the crop by waiting to apply manure.

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October UPDATE to Manure Spreading Advisory #3 2015: South Coast Region

Refer to Manure Spreading Advisory #3 of 2015 (September 1, 2015) for the current Advisory.  The following Update does not change the Advisory.

“Manure application on perennial grasses is usually appropriate as long as crop growth and warmer weather patterns (greater than 5°C) continue; fields are trafficable; and precipitation does not create runoff” (Manure Spreading Advisory #3 of 2015).

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Video - Producing Renewable Energy from Cow Manure

The Inside Scoop on Manure - Delta residents Darrell & Linda Mott visit their farming neighbour Jerry Keulen to learn how Seabreeze Farm converts manure and organic consumer waste into renewable energy and high quality fertilizer.  (Seabreeze Farm, Delta, BC) https://youtu.be/

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New Sustainable Ranching Enterprise Diploma at TRU in Williams Lake

The Ministry of Advanced Education will provide Thompson Rivers University with one-time funding of $154,000 for developing a proposed new Applied Sustainable Ranching Enterprise Diploma program in Williams Lake. The two-year program aims to give individuals the skills to develop a sustainable ranching enterprise by examining best practices in business strategy, financial management, operations, marketing and enterprise diversification. It addresses the needs of the local ranching environment with a focus on sustainable management of natural resources and building resilience into ranching enterprises both at home and abroad. An advisory committee of ranching representatives from the Cariboo region ensured the program was built by industry, for industry.

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Agriculture research needs to focus on future challenges

The institute said rising population, climate change and the need to find 
alternatives to fossil fuels are priorities Canada needs a forward-looking agriculture research policy to help feed a burgeoning global population, cope with climate change and develop alternatives to fossil fuels, says the Agriculture Institute of Canada. It has released a proposal to create a strong scientific base that “will be the primary source of innovation and productivity enhancements needed to meet these future challenges,” says AIC CEO Serge Buy.

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Right to Farm legislation goes under review

Industry sceptical because of changes to the land reserve,abrupt dismissal of Richard Bullock. The province has quietly launched a review of the BC Farm Practices Protection Act, consulting municipalities in advance of discussions with industry later this month. Passed in 1996, the legislation has never been reviewed. Municipalities are welcoming the move but RegEns, executive director of the BC Agriculture Council, says industry is more sceptical of the province's motives following controversial changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve and its abrupt dismissal of former land commission chair Richard Bullock. "We're concerned," Ens says. "As a council, we don't have an official position, but in the industry there's a lot of scepticism." The province contacted the BC Agriculture Council in early July, Ens says, and the council has met with ministry staff once to date. Consultations with municipalities followed, first with the four municipalities whose ability to pass bylaws affecting agriculture is regulated under the BC Local Government Act (including Abbotsford, Delta, Kelowna and Langley Township) and then unregulated municipalities.

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Agricultural products are one of the world’s biggest sources of plastic trash

From the pipes and tubes that deliver irrigation water to the pots seedlings are grown in to those delightfully tacky blue and orange bits of twine that bind bales of hay, plastic products are stitched into almost every agricultural activity. Agricultural films—thin plastic membranes used to cover the soil for purposes of weed suppression, temperature enhancement, fertilizer uptake and more—are one of the largest contributors to the billions of pounds of plastics that are discarded by farms across the planet each year.

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New Law Gives BC More Authority Involving Water Use

A scorching hot summer, abnormally low rainfall and dwindling reservoirs meant there wasn’t enough water to sprinkle lawns, fill pools or wash cars in Metro Vancouver and many other cities across B.C. Suddenly, interest spiked in understanding how the province protects and allocates its newest precious resource. There was far less public attention last spring when the provincial government refreshed the 100-year-old laws governing water by passing a new Water Sustainability Act. The centrepiece of the legislation was an extension of British Columbia’s existing licensing and regulation regime for surface water, meaning streams and lakes, onto groundwater, which is pumped from wells. The change closes a loophole where someone denied a licence to get surface water — due to limited supply or for environmental protection — could simply walk a dozen metres onto the nearest shore, drill a well and pump out an unlimited amount of groundwater without penalty. “We were the only jurisdiction in North America that had no regulation on groundwater, other than California,” Schreier said. California has also recently closed that loophole. As Environment Minister Mary Polak puts it: “Anybody could drill down into groundwater and take what they wanted, and as much as they wanted.” For a few more months, they still can. B.C.’s new rules come into effect on Jan. 1.

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Manure Spreading Advisory #3 for 2015: South Coast Region

Perennial grasses continue to benefit from fall manure applications when applied to meet crop nutrient needs. Manure applications for cover crops and newly seeded grasses should be based on a soil test and only applied if the cover crop will become well established to uptake nutrients prior to the end of the growing season. Manure applications on harvested or fallow fields are not recommended. Manure should not be applied within 8 meters of ditches or watercourses. Buffer width should be increased for slopes greater than 5% and/or if the potential for runoff exists. Consider wind speed and direction when applying manure and how it can have a negative impact on your neighbors. The wind can also increase ammonia loss and soil loss through erosion. Reminder that field-stored solid agricultural wastes (except vegetation waste) must be covered by October 1.

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