Manure Spreading Advisory #1 for 2016: South Coast Region

Date: February 22, 2016

  • It is acceptable to apply manure on some fields but not others.
  • It is acceptable to apply manure on established grasses, fields being seeded within two weeks of application, and berry fields if:
    • Expected precipitation and manure applications will NOT create nutrient or pathogen runoff to surface water (by overland flow or through tile drains)*
    • T-Sum value in your area is greater than 200,
    • Soil temperature is greater than 5oC, and
    • Crop is actively growing (for established crops only)

*In general, runoff risks are greatest on areas with finer-textured or muck/peat soils, ponded or wet soils that would be compacted by traffic, high water tables (2 feet or less below the surface), or depressions or swales that drain to water courses.

  • Please continue to check you have enough manure storage to hold the average expected precipitation plus any excessive precipitation.
  • Field-stored solid agricultural wastes (except agricultural vegetation waste) MUST be COVERED from October 1 to April 1, inclusive.
  • Please read the entire advisory for details and important information.

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 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.

For further information, please contact BC Ministry of Agriculture: David Poon, P.Ag. 604-556-3098

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)


Manure Storage

  • Develop a contingency plan to outline an effective response in case of an emergency. The plan could include identification of nearby abandoned pits, contact information for vacuum trucks, and easy access to the provincial spill reporting hotline.
  • A review of beneficial management practices (such as those found in the Environmental Farm Plan Reference Guide) may help identify improved management practices to alleviate storage issues.

Established Grasses and Fields Prior to Planting

  • Manure may be applied to a field of established grasses if all of the following apply:
  1. Less than 5 mm of cumulative rain is expected for the 48 hours following application*
  2. Less than 10 mm of cumulative rain is expected for the 72 hours following application*
  3. The field is not frozen or saturated, subject to flooding or runoff, and it is not tile-drained with the potential for manure to leave the farm
  4. A minimum buffer width of 8 meters (26 feet) is maintained between the application area and sensitive areas and watercourses including ditches
  5. T-Sum value in your area is greater than 200 (see
  6. Soil temperature is greater than 5oC measured at a soil depth of 10 cm
  7. Grass is actively growing

A couple options to find forecasted rain amounts:

Berry crops

  • Manure may be applied in late February but it is recommended you confirm from your food safety plan or program to determine the time requirement between manure application and crop harvest.
  • The use of properly composted manure should be considered if food safety issues related to manure applications are a concern or if nutrient leaching is a concern in sensitive areas such as over unconfined aquifers.

Additional Resources

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