Lake Winnipeg Water Quality Issues

CANADA - A former Neepawa are pork producer is calling for common sense in addressing water quality issues in Lake Winnipeg, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 20 September 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The Save Lake Winnipeg Act, passed in mid-June, contains new provisions to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Winnipeg including extending a 2008 moratorium on new hog barn construction in eastern Manitoba to the entire province.

Under the act only operations prepared to invest in enhanced manure treatment technologies will be allowed to expand.

Weldon Newton, a past president of Keystone Agricultural Producers and former Neepawa area pork producer, says there are more reasonable and effective options.

Weldon Newton-Keystone Agricultural Producers

We've got some very effective strategies.

With the regulations that were put in place there are significant limits on how much you can apply.

We only basically apply for crop requirements for the manure that we apply.

You do that and you don't apply it in waterways or near waterways so it's basically being applied not much differently in actual total amounts than what we're doing with inorganic fertilizer for crops.

Most operations either inject it directly or if they do broadcast it then cultivate in right afterwards so we lose very little of the nutrients and so it's being used as a replacement for inorganic fertilizer.

In reality it's not changing the amount of crop nutrients that's being applied out there.

In our case the nutrients we applied was really the fertilizer for about 40 or 60 acres a year.

We put the fertilizer on again this year but it's all inorganic, there's no manure there so it doesn't change that.

Mr Newton says the current approach doesn't make economic or common sense.

He suggests the province needs to be prepared to listen to the industry on how we can provide reasonable environment protection that we can afford.

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