Manure Sreading Advisory #1 - February 2, 2012

South Coastal Region
Date: February 2, 2012

The following advisory is produced by government, in partnership with industry, to provide guidance to farmers regarding the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation and the ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT. If a discrepancy arises between this document and the legislation, the legislation takes precedence. Following this advisory does not relieve anyone from their obligations under the LEGISLATION. The Province of British Columbia does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information referenced here from legislation, and in no event is the Province liable or responsible for damages of any kind arising out of its use.

Manure applications are not advised on any crops or fields.

Producers are responsible for decisions regarding manure spreading. Legislation gives no specific dates for manure spreading, but it does not allow for manure to be spread in a manner that causes pollution.

Please read the entire advisory for details and important information to assist producers with decision-making about manure application and storage.

Current Conditions, as an indication of manure application suitability

Weather: Predominantly clear conditions are forecast for the next few days in Abbotsford. Check your local weather forecast.

Soil: Soil temperature is about 7.4°C in Abbotsford.

Crops: The T-Sum for Abbotsford is 109. A T-Sum of 200 (forecast for mid to late February) is one indication of optimal timing for the first fertilizer application on well-established grasses (see farmwest.com). Also consider crop growth: there have been few signs of early growth, if any, in perennial grass and cover crop fields so far.

Avoiding Overflowing Manure Pits

Some producers may still be faced with potentially overflowing manure pits. Producers should plan to have enough manure storage to include the average 360 mm of expected precipitation in February and March plus account for unforeseen circumstances such as excessive rain and snow.

Allowing any uncontrolled release of manure is likely a contravention of the Environmental Management Act. If overflowing manure pits cannot be avoided, producers are strongly advised to identify temporary alternatives to manure spreading. Producers should examine alternative storage options on neighboring farm operations with no stock or consider dewatering a portion of their storage pits (use a temporary liquid separator). The separated solids should then be managed as solid manure and placed in a bermed and covered (confined) facility. If alternative storage options for excess manure are not available, please contact the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Environment (contact info below) for further advice.

Principal environmental risks associated with manure application include:

  • surface runoff of manure nutrients and pathogens to water courses,
  • groundwater impacts from leaching, 
  • short-circuit flow of manure nutrients and pathogens to water courses though drain tiles, and
  • soil compaction from operating heavy equipment on fields that are very wet.

Given the above risks, the “Manure Spreading Advisory Committee” (consisting of industry and government representatives) is not advising any manure application at this time.

Additional Resources

Canada-BC Environmental Farm Plan Program

Trained Planning Advisors are available to assist producers with completing an Environmental Farm Plan. For more information contact the ARDCorp office in Abbotsford.

Agricultural Waste Control Regulation

This is the actual legislation that applies to manure management in British Columbia.

http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/reg/E/EnvMgmt/131_92.htm

For further information, please contact:

BC Ministry of Agriculture
Lolita Aumuller 604-556-3098
Geoff Hughes-Games, PAg 604-556-3102

For questions of a regulatory nature, please contact:
BC Ministry of Environment
George Rushworth, PAg 604-582-5211

Trevor Hamelin, AScT 604 582-5275

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