KAP is working to get the Manitoba government to extend the Nov. 10 deadline for applying synthetic fertilizer and manure, should weather and soil conditions warrant.
“It just speaks to the fact that fixed dates (banning fertilizer applications) don’t work well,” Keystone Agricultural Producers’ president Doug Chorney told reporters during KAP’s general council Oct. 17.
Several years ago the Manitoba government passed regulations banning farmers from applying fertilizer or manure to fields after Nov. 10 or before April 10. It said the measure was designed to reduce water pollution. Nutrients applied to frozen soil are more susceptible to running into waterways.
Instead of using the calendar, field conditions should determine when it’s appropriate to apply nutrients, Chorney said, noting that road restrictions are now based on highway conditions instead of a fixed date.
“In my opinion we don’t need deadlines,” Chorney said. “Farmers aren’t going to apply fertilizer and manure when it’s impractical or unsafe to do. You can’t incorporate fertilizer or manure into frozen ground so why would you do it?”
In late March 2012 the Manitoba government waived the April 10 restriction for applying fertilizer after a mild winter and early spring. Chorney said that was the right thing to do and expects the government to do the same this fall if fields aren’t frozen by Nov. 10.
A long winter and late, wet spring delayed seeding in many parts of Manitoba this year.
Moreover, Manitoba farmers are growing more later-maturing crops such as soybeans and corn. As a result many farmers are still harvesting or doing field work, including applying nutrients.