Ability to Manage Crop Nutrients Improves

CANADA - Keystone Agricultural Producers says Manitoba farmers are in a much better position than ever before to manage the use of crop inputs and reduce nutrient loss to the environment, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 August 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Manitoba pork producers are drawing attention to the fact that, despite a moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion in much of the province, water quality in Lake Winnipeg continues to deteriorate.

Keystone Agricultural Producers president Ian Wishart says KAP has opposed the ban from the beginning and instead favors a site specific approach to nutrient management.

Ian Wishart-Keystone Agricultural Producers

If a farm operation has either enough acres on its own or enough spread acres to handle the phosphorus and nitrogen requirements on a crop removal basis then we would support that particular farm whether they wish to expand or not.

We think that is a very practical approach.

It's simply a replacement of either purchased nutrients with naturally occurring ones from the livestock industry and we do think that that's the approach that going into the future will be what all livestock industries have to meet.

Certainly that's a change from many years ago when we were working really with a nitrogen balance requirement as what we met.

We've learned over the years that we need to do more than that and we have changed our management in not only the hog sector but all the agricultural sectors with this in mind.

We're in a much better position now to manage nutrients in a much more sustainable way and we are doing that.

In fact I would dare say that between the need to do this for water quality issues and the high price that we paid for some crop nutrients in 2008, I would say awareness and focus on better nutrient management by the farm community is way higher than it ever was before.

Mr Wishart says farmers are applying nutrients in a more strategic way and getting better results while minimising losses to the environment.

He notes over the last five years North American farmers have grown bigger crops using less nutrients per year.

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