With fall underway, the window of opportunity for manure application is closing quickly. An Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) specialist says producers can make the best use of their manure application time by first refreshing themselves on the rules of manure application.
“To get yourself ready, refresh yourself on the setbacks (the minimum distances required between manure application areas and sensitive areas) from water bodies, neighbors and water wells,” says Chris Ullmann, CFO (confined feeding operation) extension specialist, ARD, Red Deer, Alta. “These are the rules we have in place to protect both water quality and to help reduce the impacts that your activities have on neighbors.”
Ullmann says the rules are different depending on how the manure is applied. “It’s worth looking at what the regulations say for how you handle your manure –whether injecting, incorporating or surface applying – because there are different setbacks depending on what you do.”
There are a number of things producers can do to make sure they are well prepared to deal with the setbacks, says Ullmann.
“ARD’s minimum setbacks for manure application factsheet is an excellent refresher to help you remember the rules and get the best use of your manure while following those rules. To be really prepared, an air photo with neighbors, water bodies and water wells could help you or whoever is spreading your manure follow the appropriate setbacks for the manure application method you are using.
“The other rules you should check into are any restrictions (or opportunities) your county has on manure transport over or under county roads. I have seen that some counties support dragline systems because they reduce the impact on roads and reduce the risk of accidents – check before you run a dragline through a culvert.”
As well as being prepared for what is anticipated, Ullmann advises producers to have a backup in case things don’t go as planned. "ARD would also like to remind producers that, if you run into problems meeting manure spreading requirements, to make sure you contact your local NRCB inspector."
The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) contact information, the manure application setback factsheet and other information are available from any one of the three CFO extension specialists, or can be found on the AOPA legislation web page at www.agriculture.alberta.ca/aopa. To contact a CFO specialist in Alberta, call 310-FARM (3276).