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October 13, 2022 Health & Production

Fall manure spreading reminders from the NRCB

Fall is manure spreading season for many producers, including confined feeding operators, and the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) wants to remind you of a few things.

Manure application

Under the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA), you must incorporate manure or compost within 48 hours of the start of application on cultivated lands. If you apply on forage or direct seeded lands you don’t have to incorporate but a setback distance of 150 metres to neighboring residences is required.

Water bodies and water wells

Manure run off must not enter a common body of water and section 24 of the Standards and Administration Regulation of AOPA indicates the setbacks below to prevent this from happening.

You must not apply manure, composting materials, or compost:

  • within 10 metres of a common body of water if subsurface injection is used
  • within 30 metres of a common body of water if applied to the surface of the land and incorporated within 48 hours, or
  • within 30 metres of a water well.

When applying manure or compost without incorporation, keep in mind that the setback distances to common bodies of water increase as the average slope of the land towards that common body of water increases.

Soil testing

Fall is also a good time to soil test any land that will be receiving manure this fall or next spring. This is also a requirement in AOPA for anyone applying more than 500 tonnes per year of manure or compost.

Spreading on frozen or snow-covered land

Don’t do it.

Both the NRCB and Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development strongly discourage winter spreading of manure or compost due to the increased potential for run off to contaminate surface water. In fact, confined feeding operations that have at least nine months of manure storage are not allowed under AOPA to apply manure or compost on frozen or snow-covered land unless prior permission is received from an NRCB inspector, or the NRCB issues a notice allowing spreading due to weather conditions such as early onset of winter or delayed harvest.

Complaints

If the NRCB receives complaints about manure spreading, inspectors will conduct a site inspection or contact the operator by phone to follow up.

For more information on manure spreading, please contact an NRCB inspector at your regional NRCB field office, email us at info@nrcb.ca, or check the NRCB website at www.nrcb.ca

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About the Author

Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB)

The NRCB is responsible for reviews of proposed major natural resource projects under the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act (NRCBA), and for the regulation of confined feeding operations (CFOs) in Alberta under the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA).

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