EQUINE NEWS

Do I Need a Nutrient Management Strategy or Plan for my Equine Operation?January 2010



By Mark Eastman, Credit Valley Conservation Authority

With the release of the Nutrient Management Act in 2002 you may have wondered…if I have horses, am I affected by the Nutrient Management Act? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as it depends on the characteristics of your equine operation.


To determine if you are regulated by the Nutrient Management Act, ask yourself, does my operation:

  1. - generate greater than 300 nutrient units annually; or
  2. - generate between 5 and 300 nutrient units annually and I have applied for a building permit to construct a building used to hold farm animals or store manure.


But what is a nutrient unit? A nutrient unit is a measurement used to equivalently compare the amount of nutrients generated from various farm animals. For horses, 1 nutrient unit equals:

  1. - 0.8 large framed horse (mature at >1500 lbs, includes unweaned foal);
  2. - 1 medium framed horse (mature at 500 – 1500 lbs, includes unweaned foal); or
  3. - 2 small framed horses (mature at < 500 lbs, includes unweaned foal).


The majority of equine operations in the province produce somewhere between 5 and 300 nutrient units. Until these operations apply for a building permit to expand an existing barn, or build a new barn or manure storage, they are not required to meet the requirements of the Nutrient Management Act.


If an equine operation is subject to the Nutrient Management Act the owner must prepare a nutrient management strategy and potentially a nutrient management plan. At this point the owner has two options. He/she can either take the necessary courses offered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to prepare their own nutrient management strategy and plan or hire a certified consultant to prepare it for them.


A nutrient management strategy details the storage and destination of all the manure generated on the property and a nutrient management plan details how the manure is to be applied to the landscape.


To determine if you require a nutrient management plan, ask yourself the following questions, does my operation:

  1. - generate greater than 300 nutrient units annually;
  2. - occupy lands within 100 metres of a municipal well; or
  3. - apply non-agricultural sourced materials, such as biosolids.


Although not every operation is required to have a nutrient management strategy and plan it is environmentally responsible to manage your operation in accordance with a nutrient management strategy and plan.


To register yourself in the nutrient management training courses, or to contact a certified consultant capable of preparing nutrient management strategies and plans call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs toll-free Nutrient Management Information Line at 1-866-242-4460.


Funding may be available to assist you with the cost of preparing the nutrient management strategy and plan, and other various environmental projects, including manure storage facilities, fencing around waterways and tree planting. Contact the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association toll-free at 1-800-265-9751 for funding opportunities through the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program.


Also contact your local Conservation Authority as they may be able to provide further funding and technical assistance for your environmental project. Not sure which of the 36 Conservation Authorities you should contact, check out the provincial map and contact listing on the Conservation Ontario website


This article has been prepared by the Healthy Lands for Healthy Horses Steering Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Ontario Equestrian Federation’s Horse Facilities Council, Uxbridge Horseman’s Association, Ontario Trail Riders Association, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and various Conservation Authorities.


The steering committee will be hosting a two day natural environment and equine workshop in Caledon on March 27th and April 10th. Participants will have a chance to complete an environmental risk assessment for their operation and learn from others who have made environmental improvements to their operations.


Interested? Contact, Mark Eastman at Credit Valley Conservation by email or by telephone at 1-800-668-5557 ext. 430 for further details.


For more information please visit the: Healthy Lands for Healthy Horses website