Pigs and the environment
Pig manure is a natural, renewable, locally sourced, organic fertilizer. When crop farmers add manure to the soil, it is not foreign to it - it actually enriches and helps to build the soil to grow plants.
Annual manure management plans
Each year, prior to applying pig manure, all farmers must test the soil where they plan to apply the manure, decide the crop to be grown, then calculate the amount of nutrients that will be taken up by the crop to determine the amount of manure that can be applied, based on government figures. The results of these soil tests are sent to Manitoba Sustainable Development. Following a prescribed plan, manure is then applied at a calculated rate intended to match crop up-take of phosphorus (and nitrogen) over a certain period of time. By law, farmers are required to register and follow their manure management plans every year.
Over the last 10-15 years, Manitoba hog farmers began shifting to a newer technique of manure application called ‘injection.’ Because it is mostly liquid, hog manure can be pumped through pipes and hoses and injected into the soil. The vast majority of manure in Manitoba (about 85%) is now injected and/or immediately incorporated about 15 cm (6 inches) into the soil of cropland.
Injection of manure has several advantages:
- greatly reduces odour, because the manure is minimally exposed to the air;
- reduces greenhouse gases, again because the manure is minimally exposed to the air;
- is better for the crops because it gets the manure down to the root zone;
- lessens the loss of nutrients, because of minimal handling and exposure to the air; and
- almost entirely eliminates runoff: this is very important, since one of the main concerns about manure application is that it might run into waterways.
To read more about pigs and the environment, click here.
Click this link – Embracing a Sustainable Future: Acting Locally, Thinking Globally – to view Manitoba Pork’s 2011 green plan, including 82 commitments for improving the sustainability of Manitoba’s hog industry. Click here for a summarized version of the full report. Note that both of these documents are in the process of being updated.
Watch the following videos for more information:
Tricia Schmalenberg – I am part of the solution
Protecting Manitoba’s precious groundwater.
Sheldon Stott – I am part of the solution
Use of GPS technology to ensure nutrient run off does not enter lakes and streams.
Sheldon Stott, Director of environmental affairs with Hylife, a Manitoba pork producer, talks about the use of GPS technology in his industry’s commitment to the protection of our environment. Learn how the company he works with strives to reduce their overall environmental footprint on a daily basis.
Scott Dick – I am part of the solution
Testing the water in monitoring wells to provide accurate reporting for the protection of our groundwater.
Scott Dick, Nutrient Management Specialist with Agra-Gold, a Manitoba pork producer, demonstrates how he samples water from monitoring wells around manure storage systems as an early detection system and to ensure the accurate reporting to protect our groundwater.
George Bilinsky – I am part of the solution
Using injection method to ensure Manitoba’s farmlands receive the full benefit of organic fertilizer.
George Bilinsky, Director of Manure Management Planning with Farmers Edge, a Manitoba pork producer, talks about how his company bests uses the valuable organic nutrients available by injecting them into the ground of farmland, ensuring there is no runoff into nearby groundwater.