The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) recently implemented a program to improve its manuring in agriculture efforts and enhance soil health. The program would make a significant investment in qualified nutrient applicators to enhance their systems by offering a 60% cost-sharing scheme which maxes out at $25,000.
Wastewater from household and industrial sources are processed to produce nutrient-rich and organic residuals known as biosolids. The treatment is done in Water Pollution Control Plants, as they are known in Ontario, and follow strict guidelines approved and regulated by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).
There are various methods employed to separate the liquid part or “effluent” and solid materials known as biosolids. The effluent, once deemed safe, is discharged back into the water systems. Manuring in agriculture entails biosolids that are further processed in digesters to ensure that they meet standards for recycling into organic fertilizers.
Biosolids improve soil quality since they release nitrogen, phosphorous, as well as essential micro-nutrients such as copper, iron, molybdenum and zinc. The advantages of manuring in agriculture to enhance soil fertility have been well documented. It is also a viable solution to the negative environmental impact of untreated sewage sludge.
The OSCIA released a Manure and Biosolids Management Program guide to lay the rules that need to be complied with in order to receive funding. This was all done to promote soil health through manuring and using precise volumes and efficient application techniques. These best management practices (BMP) aim to reduce excess phosphorus in the soil and protect the water basins from developing algal blooms due to phosphorus enrichment.
“It’s the multiplier effect that is so significant within the Manure and Biosolids Management Program,” said Andrew Graham, executive director of the OSCIA. “Each implemented best management practice can benefit soil health on many farm properties. The potential impacts are exponential,” he added.
The guidelines for the improvements are elaborated below.
- Customization of Spreading Equipment
- Flow regulators
- Choppers and macerators
- Injectors and openers
- Vertical beater bars
- Customization of tool bars to allow narrow, shallow injections
- Customization of tool bars to create dribble bars
- Purchase of specialized shanks and knives
- Purchase of pre-fabricated specialized tool bars
- Purchase and installation of GPS mapping systems (limit of one per business)
- Purchase and installation of rate monitors, flow sensors, and flow meters (limit of one per business)
- Purchase of necessary software
- Purchase of specialized shanks and knives
- Purchase of units that feed cover crop seed directly into manure or biosolids
- Design and fabrication costs of prototype units that feed cover crop seed directly into manure or biosolids
- Design and fabrication of customized equipment that allows cover crop seed to be spread and during a manure or biosolids application
- Purchase of mechanisms to deflate tires on manure application equipment at the field edge
- Purchase of flotation tires (limit of one set per tractor and one set per manure tanker)
- For implementing management practices that are not yet used in Ontario, that will demonstrate significant advancements in manure and biosolids management
- Submit the BMP-6 Innovative Approaches to Manure and Biosolids Management Form in addition to the application form to apply for this BMP category
Aside from the aforementioned criteria, there are a few more innovative BMP methods that call for businesses to invest in the latest technologies. Each participant can only utilize just one BMP process per application and not combine different BMPs.
“There are new ideas coming forward from around the world for precision manure application and data management,” stated Mack Emiry, president of OSCIA. She elaborated that “The innovative approaches BMP encourages businesses to invest in these technologies, raising the bar for nutrient management here in Ontario.”
Eligible applicants must have an up-to-date Nutrient Application Technician Licence and/or an up-to-date Prescribed Materials Application Business Licence.
If you are a municipality in Ontario and in need of a biosolids management solution, please feel free to contact us at 1 (877) 479-1388.