KAP Encourages European Approach to Nutrient Loading Issues

by 5m Editor
3 July 2008, at 11:29am

CANADA - Keystone Agricultural Producers is encouraging the Manitoba government to look to Europe for strategies to address concerns related to nutrient loading issues on Lake Winnipeg, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Last month, as part of his trip to Warsaw for the International Federation of Agriculture biannual meeting, Keystone Agricultural Producers President Ian Wishart toured several Polish dairy and hog operations to learn more about the Europeans approach to dealing with nutrient loading.

Wishart notes the Europeans have considerable experience with nutrient loading and they've had good success in getting some of their river systems cleaned up in a fairly short time.

Ian Wishart-Keystone Agricultural Producers

Their approach is very much along the lines of what we've been talking about with our new regulations, the site specific nutrient management.

If you on your own farm can manage the nutrients generated by your own livestock operation and not build excessive levels in the soils then you can continue to do that.

They do have some issues around needing to incorporate in some areas right away.

They don't seem to put a high priority on that and that's certainly something that we've moved a lot further on than they have.

But we're just beginning to take the site specific nutrient management approach and they've been doing it in some countries in Europe in particular for going on 20 years.

Some of the approaches, they vary a little from country to country, some have worked better that others and that was a good opportunity to talk to some of the delegates from different countries and learn about the particular issues in their approach that may work for us or may not work for us.

It was quite interesting to draw some comparisons and to see the fact that they actually did have success.

Theirs were mostly river systems and smaller lakes of course but they did make significant improvements in the nutrient loading on those rivers and lakes in fairly short periods of time.

Wishart says the information gathered will be used to lobby the provincial government for a different approach to nutrient loading issues rather than a ban on hog industry expansion and perhaps to fine tune some of the nutrient management regulations.

5m Editor