December UPDATE to Manure Spreading Advisory #4

 Refer to Manure Spreading Advisory #4 of 2015 (November 2, 2015) for the current Advisory: “in general, manure application on any crops is not advised.”

The following information could be considered for spring manure applications in 2016. If solid broiler manure or litter cannot be injected or incorporated into a perennial grass sward, the next best strategy to reduce nitrogen losses is applying when the grass is taller (Table 1). Co-benefits include odour reduction, reducing risk of runoff and increasing nutrient uptake.

Table 1. Losses of nitrogen (N) from surface-applied broiler litter decrease with grass height. The N is lost to the air (volatilized) from the ammonium (NH4) fraction of the broiler litter.

Grass heighta

% of NH4 losta

NH4 losta

Value of lost NH4b.

27.5 cm (tallest)


45 lb N/ac


17.5 cm


59 lb N/ac


7.5 cm


60 lb N/ac


2.5 cm (shortest)


65 lb N/ac



a. Broiler litter was applied at 420 lb N/ac (total N), of which 90 lb N/ac was NH4-N. Source: Bittman et al. (2013). “Grass Height Affects Emission of Ammonia from Applied Broiler Manure" in Cool Forages - Advanced Management of Temperate Forages.The NH4 losses were measured 14 days after application to an established orchardgrass sward. The bulk application rate was not specified but is likely close to 6 to 8 tons/ac of broiler litter.

b. The dollar value was estimated based on the data from Bittman et al. (2013), assuming a cost of $0.75/lb of N in fertilizer (i.e. about $750 per tonne of 46-0-0).

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.

This Update 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.


For general information on manure spreading, please contact the BC Ministry of Agriculture:

David Poon, P.Ag                                                      604-556-3098

Geoff Hughes-Games, P.Ag                                  604-556-3102

Contact the BC Ministry of Environment:

Report a spill 1-800-663-3456

Report activities that are polluting the environment 1-877-952-7277 (Report All Poachers and Polluters RAPP)


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