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Fines: Ontario livestock farmers fined $15,000 under nutrient management act

April 17, 2024  by Manure Manager

A pair of Ontario brothers who own farms in the Southern Ontario towns of Melbourne and Dorchester have been fined a total of $15,000 each, plus a victim fine surcharge of $3,750 each, under the province’s Nutrient Management Act.

The two were convicted in a London Court for an offence that took place in early 2018. The convictions relate to failing to correctly dispose of dead farm animals (cattle) within the required 48-hour period. The deceased cattle, in various stages of decomposition, were identified during inspections from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Approximately 46 dead and decomposing cattle were identified on site between the two properties, and were found to be uncovered and not buried, which is not considered an approved method of disposal.

Ensuring investigations laid charges resulting in convictions. The defendants attempted to appeal the convictions, which were recently upheld under the Nutrient Management Act.

Incineration in the news in Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is proposing changes to the Disposal of Dead Farm Animals regulation made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002. These changes will allow verification certificates to be issued to demonstrate incinerators meet the requirements of the regulation.


Comments on the matter were open for 60 days, and recently closed (late February 2024). Among those invited to share their views publicly were the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which represents nearly 40,000 family farm members across Ontario.

“Incineration remains a very important option for deadstock disposal for Ontario’s farmers,” the OFA wrote in its official submission. “It must remain a viable option for the sector, particularly with the current shortages in deadstock collectors.”

With biosecurity and livestock health a concern, the statement added, “Incineration also remains an effective management tool for ensuring biosecurity protocols and minimizing the spread of potentially devastating disease, such as Avian Influenza and African Swine Flu.”

Composting deadstock

Composting deadstock as an option for mass disposal can be a vital option for producers. However, it must be done properly in ways that meet the requirements of the specific jurisdiction and promote the health of animals, soil and water.

In a 2020 feature in Manure Manager, published in the wake of mass disposals due to pandemic-induced shutdowns, Melissa Wilson, assistant professor in the department of soil, water and climate, and extension specialist at the University of Minnesota said mortality composting requires a different approach than traditional composting.

“Mortality composting is different from regular composting, in that you don’t mix it as much,” says Wilson. “If you have a regular [composting] system going that you mix or move every one or two weeks, then you throw livestock in there, you’re going to disrupt that.”

Deadstock composting piles need to be considered as longer-term compost.

“You have the base that’s usually two feet tall, and that’s where the animals are laid, and then you have a cap over them, and that should be at least two feet as well,” she explains. “If you’ve got compost already, that’s great. It’s got that starter microbiome and that gets it started as quickly as possible.”


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