In the service of farmers, year after year

Questions about the regulations?

Who is subject to the REA and therefore must produce a NMP and phosphorus assessment?
The REA addresses all farmers using fertilizing materials on cultivated parcels of farmland (except forestry) where producers have more than 15 hectares for cash crops or more than 5 hectares for market garden production. All farmers who have livestock and produce more than 1600 kg of phosphorus a year (except for dogs, cats, aquaculture, zoos, parks and zoological gardens) are subject to the REA. This applies where a farmer owns livestock production (buildings, exercise yards) or livestock manure storage facilities. Toutes exploitations agricoles ayant des élevages d’animaux et produisant plus de 1600 kg de phosphore par année (sauf canidés, félidés, piscicultures, zoos, parcs et jardins zoologiques) sont soumises au REA. Cela s’applique dans la mesure où l’exploitant possède des installations d’élevage (bâtiments, cours d’exercice) ou des ouvrages de stockage de déjections animales.
Where can I find recommendations on the amounts of nutrients to apply?
CRAAQ provides standards for the amount of nutrients to be applied. However, these recommendations remain just standards and therefore are not always adapted to your crops’ actual needs. In fact, they do not take into account any determining variables for soil quality such as soil type, soil texture or drainage. But a good agronomist can do all that for you!
How long does a farmer need to keep documentation?
For agreements on storing and/or shipping livestock manure, each party must keep a copy of the lease, the agreement and/or the notice of the receiver’s ability to accept manure materials for at least 5 years after the expiration date of the agreement, and send it to the MDDELCC upon request. A record of storing and/or shipping livestock manure must also be produced and kept for at least 5 years from the last date of registering the activity. The farmer must also keep spreading agreements for at least 5 years after their expiration date. Likewise, a record of spreading must also be kept and retained for a minimum of 5 years from the last registration date of activity.
Do soil and manure samples need to be done every year?
For soil tests to be considered valid within the fertilization plan, they must not exceed more than 5 years past the year of fertilization unless the farming operation has been subject to changes that could impede the validity of the tests. As for the manure tests, a livestock farmer whose phosphorus production exceeds 1600 kg each year must analyze, at least once a year, the fertilization value of livestock manure produced and spread on cultivated parcels of farmland (REA, Art. 28).
Do pastures need to be sampled?
Yes. The producer of the cultivated fields referred to in a PAEF (including pastures) has the obligation to analyse the level and percentage of phosphorus saturation in each field.
Spreading on fields: rights and conditions
A farmer who produces or stores livestock manure must make use of the material (by spreading) or eliminate it (through a destruction process by an authorized person) at least once a year. A farmer who wishes to proceed by spreading the manure material must have parcels of crop land available, in each crop year, that corresponds to the total area required to spread the livestock manure. These parcels of crop land can be owned, leased or as a result of a written spreading agreement with a third party (REA, art. 20). It is also mandatory to keep a record of the amounts, methods and spreading periods.

Spreading fertilizer materials must be done in such a way that manure does not run-off into the following places (REA, Art. 30):
  • A water course or a body of water (i.e. a lake) and into a buffer strip;
    • If there is no buffer strip:
    • in a water course, lake or swamp with a minimum area of 10,000 m2 or pond, as well as within a 3m buffer strip for these bodies of water;
    • in a farm ditch and within a 1m buffer strip along this ditch.
How much manure can be spread in the fall? Under what conditions?
A maximum of 35% of fertilizing material can be spread in the fall, which means that this quantity can be spread after October 1st if the agronomist had indicated a different annual period of time when spreading would be prohibited and if the soil is neither frozen nor snow-covered.
What are the conditions for storing livestock manure and the location of manure storage facilities?
Art. 6, REA : « Il est interdit d'ériger, d'aménager ou d'agrandir une installation d'élevage ou un ouvrage de stockage dans un cours d'eau, un lac, un marécage, un marais naturel ou un étang et dans l'espace de 15 m de chaque côté ou autour de ceux-ci, mesuré à partir de la ligne des hautes eaux, s'il y a lieu. Cette condition s'applique aux sections de cours d'eau dont l'aire totale d'écoulement (largeur moyenne multipliée par la hauteur moyenne) est supérieure à 2 m². »

It is possible to store a pile of solid manure in a cultivated field if:

    1. The livestock farmer has annual phosphorus production (from solid manure) of less than 3,200 kg or, for a beef cattle producer, an annual phosphorus production greater than 3,200 kg.
    2. The pile must be at least 150m distance from a site as described in Article 6 above;
    3. The pile must be at least 15m distance from a farm ditch;
    4. The soil surface must be covered with vegetation;
    5. The land must have a gradient of less than 5%;
    6. Run-off water must not be able to reach the pile of manure in the field;
    7. The field manure pile must not be in the same location for 2 consecutive years;
    8. Contaminated water from the field manure pile must not reach any surface water;
    9. The field manure pile must be completely removed, utilized or eliminated, in conformity with Article 19, in the 12 months following the establishment of the pile.

    Farmers who must produce a NMP can only proceed with storing solid manure in a field pile on a cultivated field if they have written and signed consent from an agronomist who is a member of the OAQ.

    As for storage facilities: livestock sites for the management of liquid or solid manure must have watertight storage facilities, able to receive and accumulate material without overflowing due to the livestock manure produced in a year and guarantee that the soil on which the livestock facility is built, or planned to be built, will be protected from any contact with livestock manure. As well, evacuation equipment for livestock manure must be maintained in perfect watertight condition.

    Storage facilities « doivent être aménagés de manière à empêcher les eaux de ruissellement de les atteindre » (REA, Art. 11). Therefore, they must not have overflow drains or bottom drains. However, they must have around the entire outer perimeter at or below the level of the floor or bottom of the facility, a drain not adjoined to the storage facility but with an exit connected to a manhole with a minimum interior diameter of 40 cm in order for samples to be taken. The drain must work at all times, allowing water to be evacuated and its exit must be indicated by a permanent marker. Finally, exercise yards must be planned so that the run-off water cannot reach the drain and contaminated water cannot reach any surface water. A farmer must remove the livestock manure that has been produced and accumulated in an exercise yard at least once a year.

What are the regulatory constraints for a farming operation that wants to implement something new on their farm?
The farmer must provide a notice of project to MDDELCC at least 30 days before the date of undertaking certain types projects (REA, Art. 39), such as:
  • Building a new livestock facility with liquid manure management;
  • Building a new livestock facility with solid manure management with an annual phosphorus production greater than 1600 kg;
  • An increase of annual phosphorus production by more than 5% compared to the operating rights of an existing livestock facility with liquid manure management;
  • An increase of annual phosphorus production by more than 5% compared to the operating rights of an existing livestock facility with solid manure management such that annual phosphorus (P2O5) production will be greater than 1600 kg;
  • In a livestock production facility, changing from solid manure to liquid manure management;
  • Work involving erecting or increasing the capacity of a manure storage facility.

The project notice must contain:

  • The signature of the farmer concerned;
  • The signature of an agronomist, member of OAQ, and mandated to monitor the project;
  • Depending on the nature of the project, the confirmation of an engineer may be required to attest that the capacity of an existing storage facility will be sufficient to receive any planned increase in livestock manure;
  • In the 60 days following the completion of the project, the agronomist must provide MDDELCC with an attestation that the project conforms with the REA and that it demonstrates compliance with the conditions contained in the notice of project;
  • The project notice must contain the farmer’s identification, a summary description, the site of the project, the expected date of its completion as well as an update of the phosphorus assessment in relation to the project.

Some projects may also require a request for a certificate of authorization:

  • Building a new livestock facility with annual phosphorus production greater than 3,200 kg;
  • An increase of annual phosphorus production for a livestock facility, compared to existing operating rights, such that the annual production of phosphorus would exceed 3,200 kg and provided that this increase is greater than 500 kg.

The request for a certificate of authorization must contain:

  • Information required by the Règlement sur la qualité de l'environnement;
  • The NMP;
  • Plans and quotes for the storage facility, as the case may be;
  • Information on the utilization and elimination of livestock manure.