KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

News Releases


November 14, 2013

KAP dismayed as government ignores previous fertilizer-application assurances

Keystone Agricultural Producers is extremely disappointed with the province’s handling of KAP’s request for extending the winter fertilizer-application deadline, said Doug Chorney, president of the farm advocacy organization.

When regulations were changed in 2011, stipulating that farmers could not apply synthetic fertilizer or manure between November 10 and April 10 to avoid application on frozen ground, Chorney said the province assured KAP that the Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship could allow for blanket exemptions when conditions were appropriate.

If the same conditions did not exist across the province, then instead of a blanket exemption, it would  allow farmers to apply for an individual exemption.

“This year, knowing that the late harvest had hindered fall fieldwork, including fertilizer application, we wrote to the Minister in October and asked if the department was prepared to provide these exemptions,” said Chorney. 

“Only after repeated requests for information – and after the November 10 deadline had passed – did Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship finally inform us that it was not willing to provide any exemptions this year, despite soil temperatures registering above freezing in several regions of the province.

“When this regulation was put in place, we asked the government to base it on scientific data on soil temperatures, rather than an arbitrary date. They told us then there is enough flexibility in the regulation to address our concerns, which is obviously untrue.”
  
Further confusing the issue, Chorney said, is that the Province previously encouraged farmers to wait until soil temperatures dropped below 5 degrees in order to reduce the risk of nitrogen volatilization (when nitrogen turns into nitrous oxide and disappears into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas), further limiting the time available for safe fall fertilizer application.

“Of course we don’t want to harm the water or the atmosphere, but we need understanding from the government of the tight window we have, and why an extension on the deadline is needed,” Chorney said. “Also, I want to stress that farmers will not apply fertilizer on frozen ground – with the high cost of fertilizer, we have no desire to see it washed away before it can be incorporated.”

KAP will be requesting a meeting with the Minister for Conservation and Water Stewardship to review how this regulation is enforced in the future, and to ensure that if conditions are appropriate in early April the ban will be lifted – so farmers are not unnecessarily restricted in their farming practices.

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For more information:
Doug Chorney, president – 204-785-3626
Val Ominski, communications – 204-697-1140 (ext. 3)