Best Management Practices
What is a "best management practice?"
- a practical, affordable approach to conserving a farm's soil
and water resources without sacrificing productivity
Who decides what qualifies as a best management practice?
- a team of farmers, researchers, extension staff and agribusiness
The Best Management Practices Series is...
An award-winning series of innovative publications:
- presenting affordable options for protecting soil and water
resources on the farm;
- supporting individual farm planning and decision-making in the
short and long term;
- harmonizing productivity, business objectives and the environment;
- available in both English and French;
- each book presents a range of circumstances and options to address
a particular environmental concern - use the information to assess
what's appropriate for your property.
Cover to cover, every BMP book will help you:
- understand an environmental issue in context of your operation
- see options for addressing an issue that work with your circumstances
- plan and put into action farm-proven, environmentally responsible
- increase efficiencies - in resource use and production
- improve property now and for future generations
- demonstrate stewardship to neighbours
- created long-term plans and sharpen day-to-day decision-making
- enrich natural areas.
Let BMP books be your best-used, ready-reference guides.
Step into the BMP library, and see what belongs as useful guides
on your shelves...
How Do I Obtain a Book?
Hardcopies of publications can be ordered through ServiceOntario
Online at ServiceOntario
By phone through the ServiceOntario Contact Centre
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
1-800-668-9938 Toll-free across Canada
1-800-268-7095 TTY Toll-free across Ontario
Order in person through a public access terminal available at ServiceOntario
Centres located across the province
AF151 - Soil Health in Ontario (PDF)
publication provides a visual overview of the many best management
practices that build back and safeguard soil health, along with
soil health basics and challenges to soil quality.
AF153 - Adding Organic Amendments (PDF)
the level of your organic matter in your soil will improve soil
health, resilience to degradation and productivity. This factsheet
describes the nature and benefits of soil organic matter, sources
of organic matter and best management practices (BMPs) for adding
organic amendments to the soil.
AF155 - Buffer Strips
factsheet explains the benefits of buffer strips, considerations
for design and planning, and tips for establishment and maintenance.
AF163 - Cropland Retirement (PDF)
agricultural soils are so inherently unproductive or challenged
from past degradation that they are not suitable for intensive cropping.
This factsheet looks at the problems with cropping marginal or fragile
lands, the benefits of and options for cropland retirement, suitable
planting types, planning steps and how-to tips.
AF165 - Erosion Control Structures
control structures are designed to management runoff from cropland
during intense storm events. This factsheet explains their role
unique role in soil management, different types and their specific
functions, how to get started, and design, management and maintenance
AF167 - Field Windbreaks (PDF)
windbreaks and shelterbelts are vegetative barriers that reduce
wind and water erosion, while improving crop yields and protecting
sensitive crops from wind damage. This factsheet provides an overview
for designing, planting and maintaining field windbreaks around
AF173 - No-Till for Soil Health
factsheet describes types of no-till systems, their benefits and
challenges, and tips for successful implementation.
AF181 - Rotation of Agronomic Crops
factsheet compares continuous cropping and crop rotation systems,
outlines what to consider if you want to move to crop rotation,
lists tips to making it work, and describes proven crop rotation
AF189 - Winter Cover Crops (PDF)
factsheet describes the benefits, challenges, types and opportunities
for growing cover crops in post-harvest conditions in Ontario.
AF191 - Soil Erosion by Water (PDF)
slope gradient and length, rainfall, surface water runoff, tillage
and cropping practices and soil type all play a role in a field's
risk for erosion by water. This publication offers best practices
and tips for keeping soil where it should be.
BMP 01 - Farm Forestry and Habitat Management
early book in the BMP Series introduces a range of practical measures
to sustainably manage farm woodlands for off-farm sales, on-farm
use, woodlot health, and wildlife habitat protection and enhancement.
A useful overview, the book's general content is explored in-depth
in several subsequent BMP titles.
BMP 02 - Field Crop Production (Reprinted 2012)
detailed, broad-ranging view of crop production systems and how
to improve their sustainability, yield, and economic viability is
presented. The book lays out the basics of soil, nutrient and pest
management, tillage systems, and conservation cropping and structures.
BMP 06 - Soil Management (1994)
Soil Management is a practical guide for farm managers and professional
agronomists - helping them solve every day cropland soil problems.
It covers the basics on soil properties, diagnostics for soil problems
and BMPs to prevent and correct problem soil conditions. A DVD version
of the book is underway.
BMP 07 - Water Management (1993)
This comprehensive introduction tours a typical farmstead (the home,
the barn, natural areas, storages, and the well), identifying potential
problem areas and what to do to reduce impacts and preserve quality
BMP 08 - Irrigation Management (Revised 2004)
Irrigation shouldn't waste your time, money, or water. Get the latest
on scheduling strategies, the pros and cons of sprinkler, drip,
and sub-irrigation systems, water-saving tips, and special applications.
Includes extensive crop-specific charts.
BMP 09 - Integrated Pest Management (1996)
This introduction to IPM explains the basics, including pest monitoring,
identification, and thresholds. Control options, as site and crop
options, biological control, crop rotation, pest removal, trap crops,
nutrient and water needs, and pesticide timing and application,
BMP 10 - Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management
Healthy fish and wildlife habitat on rural property has many benefits,
and BMPs for improving habitat are compatible with cropland BMPs.
Full of info for farmlands, woodlands, wetlands and other transitional
areas, and aquatic areas. Prevention and control of nuisance wildlife
are also covered.
BMP 11 - No-Till: Making It Work (1997)
No-till takes know-how of soil and residue management, specialized
equipment, weed, disease and pest control, and crop selection. Whether
you want to strip-till, slot-plant, pre-till, or ridge-till, this
book is helpful for beginners and no-till veterans.
BMP 12 - Water Wells (Revised 2003)
If you own a water well, this book can help you protect the quality
of water you and your family relies on. Explains well components,
maintenance, new well construction requirements, and procedures
for unused wells.
BMP 13 - Pesticide Storage, Handling and Application
Growers seeking to create or refine a safe and practical system
will find this a helpful overview. Structures, handling techniques,
transportation, mixing and loading, spills management, and approaches
to spraying, calibration, and maintenance are explored.
BMP 14 - Nutrient Management Planning (2007)
This essential companion for anyone completing a nutrient management
plan explores the process in-depth. Learn how ti inventory nutrient
sources, interpret results, plan application, keep records, monitor
BMP 15 - Buffer Strips (2004)
Well-managed buffer strips go a long way to filtering farmland runoff
before it enters streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes. This has many
benefits for water quality, erosion prevention, soil water-holding
capacity, fish and habitat quality, livestock health, and drain
maintenance. This book explains how to establish, maintain, and
improve buffer strips according to the topography and land uses
on your property.
BMP 16 - Manure Management (2005)
Make the most of this important on-farm nutrient. This book explains
what's in manure, how to mitigate concerns re: storage, odours and
runoff, and how best to plan, set up and time its application.
BMP 17 - Greenhouse Gas Reduction in Livestock
Production Systems (2006)
The good news is that many existing BMPs for livestock production
also reduce GHG emissions. This book presents BMPs for breeding,
feeding, housing, quality control, grazing and manure storage to
further reduce emissions.
BMP 18 - Woodlot Management (2007)
Existing farm woodlots brim with potential: for timber, fuelwood,
specialty products, income in kind, as well as important environmental
and wildlife benefits. But it takes planning and management to make
the most of them, and this book will show you how.
BMP 19 - Streamside Grazing (2007)
Properly planned and managed, streamside grazing can benefit the
environment through improved buffers and layout. This book will
help you develop a workable grazing management plan for your property
to balance production and environmental goals.
BMP 20 - Managing Crop Nutrients (2008)
This book will help growers determine what nutrients they have,
what ones they need, when they're needed and how to apply them for
maximum efficiency and minimal risk to the environment.
BMP 21 - Agroforestry Series Volume 2: Establishing
Tree Cover (2009)
Whether as crop trees, as windbreaks and fencerows, within buffer
strips, in pasture, or intercropped with field crops,trees offer
tremendous economic and environmental value. Learn how trees and
plantings grow, and what treespecies need to flourish. Look to this
book for sets of BMPs for planning, planting, establishing, andmanaging
tree cover for a variety of functions.
BMP 22 - Deadstock Disposal (2009)
How livestock mortalities are disposed of has implications for the
environment, animal and public health, and consumer confidence.
This book will help producers compare options for pickup, incineration,
in-vessel disposal, burial and composting, and implement regulation-compatible
BMPs. PDF (2
BMP 23 - Application of Municipal Sewage Biosolids
to Cropland (2010)
This book explains how biosolids are processed, their benefits and
risks when applied to cropland, and societal safeguards. A set of
best management practices for production and application rounds
out the book, which will be of interest to farmers, rural residents,
spreaders and municipalities.
BMP 24 - A Phosphorus Primer (2011)
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for crops and livestock. Unless
properly managed, phosphorus can move from land to lakes, rivers
and streams harming fish habitat and water quality.
This 38-page booklet sets out all the BMPs for on-farm management
to keep phosphorus in its place.
With many illustrations and photos, A Phosphorus Primer follows
P in its various forms in soil and water and shows how
it can travel in runoff, erosion, leaks and drainpipes. The BMPs
are sorted for point and non-point sources of phosphorus. BMPs for
point source, such as manure storages and dairy washwaters, focus
on reduction, containment, and treatment. BMPs for non-point source,
such as cropland runoff and erosion, include nutrient management
planning, and soil, field and shoreline practices.
BMP 25 - Cropland Drainage (2011)
Many Ontario farms rely on drainage systems to remove excess water,
extend field access, lengthen the growing season, conserve topsoil,
and generally make best use of agricultural lands. This 64 page
book provides information on the many improvements in drainage technology.
Cropland Drainage describes drainage as part of an on-farm soil
management system, and many complementary BMPs for erosion control,
and healthy soils, cropland, and adjacent natural areas apply. Specific
BMPs for surface drainage include inlets and erosion control structures.
The book details how to diagnose subsurface drainage problems, and
takes a step-by-step approach to designing a new system including
drainage coefficient, drainpipe depth, spacing, sizing and layout.
The construction section includes handy checklists for landowners
and contractors. Inspection, maintenance, and troubleshooting are
also covered. Key legislation and a glossary round out the 64-page
BMP 26 - Controlling Soil Erosion on the Farm
erosion hurts cropland productivity and contributes to the pollution
of watercourses, wetlands and lakes. The first step to keeping soil
in its place is diagnosing the problem at a particular site. This
36-page booklet is filled with photographs to match field symptoms
with erosion type, and provide practical solutions. Reduced tillage,
cover crops and crop rotations, diversion terraces, earthen berms,
other erosion control structures, grassed waterways, and bank and
outlet stabilization are among the best management practices discussed.
AF150 - Best Management Practices for Phosphorus
8-page brochure introduces phosphorus and its various forms in soil,
manure and water. It outlines phosphorus issues and BMPs in a variety
of farm settings. The key best management practice approach is the
4 Rs - Right source, Right rate, Right time, Right place - to keep
"P" in the soil and out of runoff.
BMP 27 - On-Farm Energy: A Primer
22-page booklet is an overview of energy conservation, efficiency
and generation around the farm. It begins where farmers should too:
a professional energy audit. The audit identifies how much energy
is being consumed in every facet of the operation, and where and
how efficiencies can be made.
Different forms of on-farm energy generation are introduced: solar,
wind, geothermal, micro hydropower, biomass, biofuels, and biogas.
The focus is small-scale generation for on-farm use.
This introductory book is the first of three BMP titles about on-farm
energy. The next two will delve more deeply into evaluating alternative
energy options and finding efficiencies in livestock facilities
and field operations.
BMP 28 - Best Management Practices and Self-Assessment
- Water and Fertilizer Use For Outdoor Container Production
and nutrient management is fundamentally important to the profitable
production of container-grown woody and herbaceous crops.This
40-page booklet can help you to improve production efficiency
and protect our environment by making the best use of water and
Every BMP will not be suitable for every operation. Your completed
Self-Assessment can help you determine which BMPs to implement in
your outdoor container production system.
BMP 29 - Self-Assessment and Best Management
Practices for Water and Fertilizer Use In Greenhouse Vegetable Production
and nutrient management is important to the production of greenhouse
vegetable crops. The management of these resources helps protect
the environment and improve production efficiency. This 30-page
booklet is written for Ontario's greenhouse vegetable growers.
It guides the grower in developing a comprehensive assessment of
their operation's water and fertilizer management practices and
describes the use of key best management practices to address any