Farmscape for September 13, 2011
The president of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association warns new regulations contained in the recently passed "Save Lake Winnipeg Act" will do little to improve the water quality of the lake.
Bill 46, passed in June, contains new provisions to reduce the amount of nutrients entering Lake Winnipeg including extending a 2008 moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion in part of Manitoba, to the entire province.
A coalition of 15 Manitoba commodity groups have drafted an open letter to the citizens of Manitoba to inform them of what farmers are doing to save the lake.
Hank Enns, the president of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association and a municipal councilor in the R.M. of Rhineland, says the key question in his mind is the issue of phosphate loading into the lake.
Clip-Hank Enns-Manitoba Corn Growers Association:
You've probably heard of Tobacco Creek.
They are directly finding on that project that's been going for ten years that the manure being spread onto the fields, and they're doing the testing of the run-off, they're not finding the phosphates coming off those fields.
Now we as farmers, as far as phosphates go, we use a lot of it in our crops.
As a matter of fact we put a lot of it in.
It's a conception that the phosphate comes off the fields where it really isn't coming off the fields.
It's actually coming off a lot of waterways, like the cattails and a lot of the vegetation that grows in those waterways when they dry up or when they freeze over.
The straw itself is the phosphate loading also loading into those rivers.
I don't think there's very many farmers in Manitoba that don't soil test their fields, simply because the cost of fertilizer today, you're just not going to over-apply fertilizer onto the fields.
Enns suggests working together with government to determine what we can do as a whole for the environment.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council