Temporary permission process for spreading solid manure on frozen and/or snow covered land

Posted on December 2, 2019 |

The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) recognizes the current challenges confined feeding operations (CFOs) are facing with the much delayed harvest and the recent onset of winter.

While the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA) prohibits the spreading of manure on frozen and/or snow covered land*, AOPA provides for NRCB inspectors to authorize this practice under unique and extraordinary circumstances. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Specific criteria must be met, and the operator must receive permission from the NRCB Compliance division prior to any manure application.   

Due to current workloads of custom applicators and their availability to producers the NRCB has developed a temporary permission process for solid manure application. This process will continue to December 15, 2019. This timeline is only to accommodate operators who have been waiting for custom applicators to clean their pens. The NRCB will not grant permission for manure that is already stockpiled in an environmentally safe location.  

If operators are able to incorporate the manure they may go ahead and spread without receiving prior permission from the NRCB. In all other cases, operators need to contact the NRCB prior to any manure application.

Before granting permission, an NRCB inspector will conduct a site inspection of the land being considered for the manure application. If the NRCB inspector grants permission to spread, the operator must comply with the following conditions:

  • Setbacks must be double those specified in section 24(10) of the AOPA Standards and Administration Regulation for common bodies of water. Similar setbacks must be required for drainage courses that lead off the property (including roadside ditches).
  • Spreading must not be closer than 150 metres to any residence.
  • The proposed spreading fields must not have received manure or fertilizer within the previous seven months.
  • The operator must keep a record of spreading activities and provide soil test results for the land where the manure is being applied.

After December 15, 2019, owners and operators with solid manure systems have the option of stockpiling their manure. The NRCB encourages using either long-term or short-term manure storages. Permission to spread solid manure on frozen or snow covered land will only be granted on a case-by-case basis under exceptional circumstances.

For more information about manure application on frozen or snow covered land, please contact the NRCB field office nearest you or refer to the NRCB fact sheet Applying Manure on Frozen or Snow Covered Land, available on the NRCB website: www.nrcb.ca.

Morinville   780-939-1212
Red Deer   403-340-5241
Lethbridge 403-381-5166

Frozen land:  the soil is impenetrable as a result of freezing temperatures, or more than one third of the top 15 cm (six inches) contains frozen soil water

Snow-covered land: more than 50 per cent of the field is covered by an average snow depth of more than 5 cm (two inches) from the ground surface