Manure Spreading Advisory #4 2015: South Coast Region

Date: November 2, 2015

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.

 manure N
Figure 1. What likely happens with nitrogen (N) if manure is spread now, assuming soils are not yet cold and there is no leaching.

manure N

Figure 2. What is likely to happen with nitrogen (N) in the weeks after the time period described in Figure 1.

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.

This 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.

The Manure Spreading Advisory Committee (consisting of industry and government representatives) is advising against manure applications due to lower air temperatures, the increased potential of significant rain events, and lack of vegetative cover and/or reduced nutrient uptake of cover crops. The committee will monitor weather and soil conditions and will issue further advisories as conditions change.

Principal environmental risks associated with manure application

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

Manure Storage

  • Winter manure applications are not recommended. It is essential to have enough manure storage to include the average expected precipitation plus account for unforeseen circumstances such as excessive precipitation.
  • Develop a contingency plan to outline an effective response in case of an emergency. The plan should include identification of abandoned pits and other storage facilities, contact information for vacuum trucks or commercial operators, and easy access to the provincial spill reporting hotline: 1-800-663-3456.

Harvested Annual Crops (including corn and vegetables)

  • Manure applications are not recommended until further notice.

Berry crops

  • Manure applications are not recommended until further notice.

Perennial Grassland

  • Winter manure applications are not recommended. All measures must be taken to address the chance of overflowing manure storage (see Manure Storage above). If manure storage is not adequate and overflowing might occur please contact one of the following staff for additional manure management advice:
  • David Poon, Ministry of Agriculture (604) 556-3098
  • Geoff Hughes-Games, Ministry of Agriculture (604) 556-3102

Agricultural Waste Control Regulation This is the legislation that applies to manure management in British Columbia.

Canada-BC Environmental Farm Plan Program
Trained Planning Advisors are available to assist producers with an Environmental Farm Plan. For more information contact the ARDCorp office in Abbotsford.
toll free 1-866-522-3447 or 604-854-4483

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