As days become longer, the sights and sounds of spring come into focus across Manitoba’s prairie landscape. Farmers start moving equipment into place, working long hours and hard days to plant their crops that they will care for and agonize over for months. This includes returning key nutrients to the soil by applying manure.

Manure, just like for a person’s personal garden, is a valuable organic fertilizer used by farmers for over 10,000 years to help build and maintain soil health. Hog manure returns vital nutrients like nitrogen to the soil while enriching it further, helping farmers grow healthy and nutritious food. Organic fertilizer, like hog manure, also helps farmers reduce the need for non-renewable synthetic fertilizers, which are often imported from other parts of the world.

“All crops require nitrogen and phosphorus to grow,” says Scott Dick, co-founder of Agra-Gold Consulting. “Manure is an excellent source of these essential nutrients, and our team provides expert nutrient management services for farmers to ensure that manure is applied at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place to meet the nutrient needs of the farmland.”

Scott and his team are a key part of Manitoba hog farmers’ commitment to protecting our natural resources. To prevent runoff and safeguard our waterways, farmers must file annual manure management plans with the provincial government, which must be designed and managed by registered manure management planners, like Scott.

“There are many steps in developing and carrying out a manure management plan,” Scott explains. “First, we must file a plan with Manitoba Environment and Climate. Then, we physically go out into the field and take soil tests to understand what nutrients are in the field already. After that, we provide farmers with a recommendation as to how many more nutrients they need for their crop, and work with a contractor to remove manure from storage and apply it to the field at the proper rates. Finally, we file an application report with Manitoba Conservation and Climate, identifying when we applied, where we applied, and how much we applied.”

According to Statistics Canada, about 90 percent of hog manure in Manitoba is injected under the soil surface or incorporated into the soil, the highest rate in Canada. This method of application ensures that valuable nutrients are not lost through runoff but remain firmly in the soil for uptake by plant roots — it’s nutrient recycling at its best. It also mitigates odour and greenhouse gas emissions.

Another key part of Scott’s work involves going out to farms across the province to sample water from monitoring wells. This provides farmers with up-to-date and timely information about their facilities and helps to ensure ground water is never at risk.

“Monitoring wells act as an early detection system similar to the check engine light on your car,” Scott adds. “Regular monitoring of these wells ensures that manure storages are properly and vigorously protecting the land and waterways nearby. Our team, alongside Manitoba hog farmers, test hundreds of monitoring wells around manure storage systems and design manure management plans. It is my job to ensure that farmers receive accurate reporting in the protection of our groundwater.”

Other environmental advancements that the hog sector has spearheaded have successfully resulted in hog farms emitting about 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than they did 50 years ago. Thanks to improved environmental practices and the adoption of enhancements to barn construction, lighting, heating, and insulation, Manitoba hog farmers are producing food that ensures Manitobans are eating more sustainably.

“I love working with farmers and helping them grow the food that goes on our tables while protecting our environment,” Scott says. “Every day, I can see that Manitoba hog farmers are passionate about protecting the environment, and they are committed to following best management practices that meet or exceed environmental regulations.”

Manitoba’s hog farmers raise the animals and help grow the crops that feed us here at home and millions of people around the world. This spring, as the crops are planted and crops begin to blossom, farmers will once again do what they have done for generations: protect our land and water so that future generations can continue to grow food for the world.
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Scott Dick


Manitoba Pork represents 624 Manitoba hog farms

Manitoba Pork

Manitoba Pork’s office at 28 Terracon Place is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, closed from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lunch. As much as possible, please contact by emailing or phoning in requests for information, ear tags, and other resources. Contact us by phone, fax, email or regular mail.

Tel: 204-237-7447
Fax: 204-237-9831
24-hour Emergency Contact Line: 1-833-310-0108

28 Terracon Place
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R2J 4G7