December 2003 Nutrient Management Protocol for Ontario Regulation 267/03 Made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002

Part 3 - Nutrient Units: How Farmers Determine Whether Their Farm Units Are Subject to the Regulation

Table of Contents

  1. Tables of Nutrient Unit Assignments to Certain Farm Animals
  2. Example Calculations of Nutrient Units for Operations that Generate or Receive Manure

Using the Nutrient Units (NU) concept helps ensure an 'apples to apples' comparison between sizes and types of farm units. Land application requirements for a farm unit, are based on the specific farm unit's nutrient management plan, not nutrient units. Nutrient units are not the same as Livestock Units, which are used in calculating Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) setbacks.

3.1 Using Nutrient Units to Determine the Obligations of Agricultural Operation Carried out at a Farm Unit

For agricultural operations that generate manure it is necessary to determine the number of Nutrient Units managed on a farm unit. The number of NUs generated on a farm unit by a particular type of farm animal is calculated by dividing the number of farm animals by the number given in Column 2 "# Animals per NU" for that type of animal listed in Column 1 of Table 3.2.1 "Number of animals per Nutrient Unit on Farm Units Generating Manure".

If the farm has more than one type of farm animal then it will have to do this calculation for each type of animal separately, then add all the results to give the total NU generated on the farm. To illustrate:

Number of NU generated = sum of a + b + c

  1. for one animal type in Column 1: x number of animals of that type divided by figure in Column 2 for that animal type
  2. for another animal type in Column 1: x number of animals of that type divided by figure in Column 2 for that animal type
  3. for another animal type in Column 1: x number of animals of that type divided by figure in Column 2 for that animal type

It is necessary to determine the number of NU that are expected to be generated or could be generated, based on the housing capacity, on a farm unit in order to:

  • determine whether the nutrient management strategy will need to be prepared for a given farm unit. Regulation Part 2. (A nutrient management plan will be required if the operation also applies nutrients to the farm unit.)
  • determine whether the nutrient management strategy or plan for a given farm unit will need to be approved by the Director. Regulation Part 4.
  • determine whether the farmer has the option of preparing a short form strategy or plan to fulfill the requirements of Part 3 of the Regulation.

3.2 Tables of Nutrient Unit Assignments to Certain Farm Animals

3.2.1 Number of Animals per Nutrient Unit

Table 3-1. Number of animals per Nutrient Unit on Farm Units Generating Manure
Type of Animal (based on highest design capacity of a new barn of the farm unit at one time) # Animals per NU
Dairy cow (large-frame, 1200-1400 lbs, milking or dry, such as Holsteins) 0.7
Dairy heifers (large-frame, 400-1200 lbs such as Holsteins) 2.0
Dairy calves (large-frame, 100-400 lbs, such as Holsteins) 6.0
* Dairy cow (large-frame, 1200-1400 lbs, milking or dry (Holsteins); includes calves/heifers) *0.55
Dairy cow (medium-frame, 1000-1200 lbs, milking or dry, such as Guernseys) 0.85
Dairy heifers (medium-frame, 325-1000 lbs, such as Guernseys) 2.4
Dairy calves (medium-frame, 85-325 lbs, such as Guernseys) 7.0
* Dairy cow (medium-frame, 1000-1200 lbs, milking or dry (Guernseys); includes calves/heifers) *0.66
Dairy cow (small-frame, 800-1000 lbs, milking or dry, such as Jerseys) 1.0
Dairy heifers (small-frame, 275-800 lbs, such as Jerseys) 2.9
Dairy calves (small-frame, 65-275 lbs, such as Jerseys) 8.5
*Dairy cow (small-frame, 800-1000 lbs, milking or dry (such as Jerseys); includes calves/heifers *0.77
Beef cows (includes unweaned calf and replacements) 1.0
Beef shortkeepers (900-1300 lbs) 2.0
Beef backgrounders (575-900 lbs) 3.0
Beef feeders (575-1250 lbs) 3.0
SEW (Segregated Early Weaning) Sows (lactating-aged sows, includes weaners to 15 lbs) 3.33
SEW Weaners (15-60 lbs) 20.0
Sow farrow-wean (lactating-aged sows, includes weaners to 60 lbs) 2.5
Finishing pigs (60-230 lbs) 6.0
Horses, large-framed (mature at>1500 lbs; inc unweaned foal) 0.7
Horses, medium-framed (mature at 500 – 1500 lbs; inc unweaned foal) 1.0
Horses, small-framed (mature at < 500 lbs; includes unweaned foal) 2.0
Laying hens (after 2.9 lbs pullet stage, until end of laying period at about 3.75 lbs) 150
Layer pullets (day-old pullets placed, raised to 2.9 lbs) 500
Chicken broilers, floor growing area (total square feet, regardless of quota cycle, or finishing weight) 267 sq.ft
Turkey broiler/hen/tom growing space (total square feet, regardless of finishing weight) 267 sq.ft
Chicken broiler breeder growers (females and males transferred out to layer barn) 300
Chicken broiler breeder layers (females and males transferred in from grower barn) 100
Sheep, breeding-aged ewes (sheep raised for meat production; includes lambs, replacements and rams) 8.0
Feeder lambs, 70 to 125 lbs 20
Sheep, milking-aged ewes (sheep raised for milk production; includes lambs, replacements and rams) 6.0
Goats, milking-aged goats (goats raised for milk production; includes kids, replacements and bucks) 8.0
Milk-fed, or grain-fed veal calves 6.0

Note: For animals not listed on the chart above the number of animals per nutrient unit can be calculated by determining:

  • the number of animals that will produce the amount of nutrients that give the fertilizer replacement value of the lower of 43 kilograms of nitrogen or 55 kilograms of phosphate as nutrient
  • assistance by OMAF staff will be available to complete this calculation

* It should be noted that for 100 Holstein milking and dry cows in a herd on the same farm unit, divide by 0.55 cows per Nutrient Unit to obtain 182 Nutrient Units for the entire herd including calves and heifers. If housed on separate farm units, do separate calculations, using the individual number of cows, heifers or calves per Nutrient Unit. There could be very slight discrepancies in the resulting number of NU because of the rounding of numbers.


3.2.2 Farm Animal Operations by Size

Nutrient units are calculated based on the number of livestock housed at a farm unit. The calculations presented in this example are only valid for farm units that have one type of livestock. If the farm unit has more than one type of livestock the combination of the NU generated by the two types will have to be used to determine the farm unit's size. See 3.1 in this protocol for an example of the type of calculation. It is important to be aware of nutrient units at levels of 5 NU, 150 NU and 300 NU. There are different regulatory issues at each of these thresholds.

Table 3-2 provides a basic overview of the different requirements for agricultural operations based on size. In most cases the number of Nutrient Units referred to in the table will be determined based on the number of farm animals that are present on the farm unit. However, where a building permit is applied for the capacity of the farm unit may become a factor. It is also important to note that approval of a nutrient management strategy or nutrient management plan may be triggered based on the capacity of the operation to house farm animals that would generate 150 NU or more.

Table 3.2. Timing of Regulation and Farm Animal Operations by Size
Number of NU Timing of Regulation (Part 2 of the Regulation)
≤ 5

Regulation does not require a NMS or NMP

>5 and < 150

New operations subject to the regulation with application for building permit effective 2003.

May be eligible for short form NMS or NMP

Documents may be filed on farm unless approval is required under Part 4 of the Regulation

≥ 150 and < 300

New operations subject to the regulation with application for building permit effective 2003

NMS or NMP must be approved by province per Part 4 of the Regulation

≥ 300

New and expanding operations subject to the regulation effective 2003

NMS or NMP must be approved by province per Part 4 of the Regulation

Existing operations affected 2005

NMS or NMP must be approved by province per Part 4 of the Regulation

3.2.3 Examples of Farm Animal Operations by Size

The calculations presented in this example are only valid for farm units that have one type of livestock. If the farm unit has more than one type of livestock the combination of the NU generated by the two types will have to be used to determine the farm unit's size. See 3.1 in this Protocol for an example of this type of calculation.

Table 3.2.3. Farm Animal Operations by Size
Animal Sector Examples(based on highest design capacity of all farm buildings on the farm unit, or pastured animals)
Farm Units>5 NU Farm Units> 5 NU, but<150 NU Farm Units≥ 150, but<300 NU Farm Units≥ 300 NU
Milking-aged Holstein dairy cows(includes calves & heifers, so use 0.55 dairy cows/NU)
>3 > 3, but< 82 ≥ 82, but<165 ≥ 165
Milking-aged Guernsey dairy cows (includes calves & heifers, so use 0.66 dairy cows/NU)
>3 > 3, but<99 ≥99, but<198 ≥ 198
Milking-aged Jersey dairy cows(includes calves & heifers, so use 0.77 dairy cows/NU)
>4 > 4, but<115 ≥ 115, but<231 ≥ 231
Beef cows(including unweaned calf & replacements)
>5 > 5, but<150 ≥ 150, but<300 ≥ 300
Beef shortkeepers (900-1300 lbs)(# of feedlot spaces)
>10 > 10, but< 300 ≥ 300, but<600 ≥ 600
Beef backgrounders (575-900 lbs)(# of feedlot spaces)
>15 > 15, but<450 ≥ 450, but<900 ≥ 900
Beef feeders (575-1250 lbs)(# of feedlot spaces)
>15 > 15, but<450 ≥ 450, but<900 ≥ 900
SEW Sows (lactating-aged sows; includes weaners to 15 lbs)
>17 >17, but<500 ≥ 500, but<1,000 ≥ 1,000
SEW Weaners (15-60 lbs)(# of weaner spaces)
>100 > 100, but<3,000 ≥ 3,000, but<6,000 ≥ 6,000
Sow farrow-wean (lactating-aged sows; includes weaners to 60 lbs)
>13 > 13, but<375 ≥ 375, but<750 ≥ 750
Finishing pigs (60-230 lbs)(# of spaces in barn)
>30 > 30, but<900 ≥ 900, but<1,800 ≥ 1,800
Horses, large-framed (mature at>1500 lbs; inc unweaned foal)
>4 >4 but ≤ 105 ≥ 105 but < 210 ≥ 210
Horses, medium-framed (mature at 500 – 1500 lbs; inc unweaned foal)
>5 > 5 but ≤ 150 ≥150 but < 300 ≥ 300
Horses, small-framed (mature at < 500 lbs; includes unweaned foal)
>10 > 10 but ≤ 300 ≥ 300 but <600 ≥ 600
Laying hens (# of layer spaces in barn)
>750 > 750, but<22,500 ≥ 22,500, but<45,000 ≥ 45,000
Layer pullets (# of pullet spaces in barn)
>2,500 > 2,500, but<75,000 ≥ 75,000, but<150,000 ≥ 150,000
Chicken broilers(total sq.ft of floor growing area)
>1335 sq.ft > 1,335 but <40,000 sq.ft ≥ 40,000, but <80,000 sq.ft ≥ 80,000 sq.ft
Turkey broilers/hens/toms(total sq.ft of floor growing area)
>1335 sq.ft > 1,335, but <40,000 sq.ft ≥ 40,000, but <80,000 sq.ft ≥ 80,000 sq.ft
Chicken broiler breeder growers (females and males transferred out to layer barn)
>1,500 > 1,500, but<45,000 ≥ 45,000, but< 90,000 ≥ 90,000
Chicken broiler breeder layers (females and males transferred in from grower barn)
>500 > 500, but<15,000 ≥ 15,000, but<30,000 ≥ 30,000
Sheep, for meat (# of breeding ewes; includes lambs, replacements and rams)
>40 > 40, but< 1200 ≥ 1200, but<2,400 ≥ 2,400
Feeder lambs, 70 to 125 lbs
>100 > 100, but<3,000 ≥ 3,000, but< 6,000 ≥ 6,000
Sheep, dairy (# of milking-aged ewes; includes lambs, replacements and rams)
>30 > 30, but<900 ≥ 900, but<1,800 ≥ 1,800
Goats, dairy (# of milking-aged goats; includes kids, replacements and bucks)
>40 > 40, but< 1,200 ≥ 1,200, but<2,400 ≥ 2,400
Milk or grain-fed veal (# of spaces)
>30 > 30, but<900 ≥ 900, but<1,800 ≥ 1,800

Note: For animals not listed on the chart above the number of animals per nutrient unit can be calculated by determining:

  • the number of animals that will produce the amount of nutrients that give the fertilizer replacement value of the lower of 43 kilograms of nitrogen or 55 kilograms of phosphate as nutrient
  • assistance by OMAF staff will be available to complete this calculation

3.3 Example Calculations of Nutrient Units for Operations that Generate or Receive Manure

3.3.1 Example 1 for calculating the number of Nutrient Units on a Farm Unit that generates manure and establishing the size:

A dairy farmer has 70 Holstein cows (milking and dry, and considered as large-frame cows), with all calves and heifers kept on the same farm unit. Across the road, she also has two 40' x 300' x 2 story chicken broiler barns (48,000 square feet of floor growing area). The entire operation is managed as one farm unit.

70 Holstein cows ÷ 0.55 dairy cows per NU (when calves and heifers are included)= 127 NU

48,000 square feet of floor growing area ÷ 267 square feet per NU = 180 NU

Toal = 307 NU

So, this farm generates enough manure to require a nutrient management strategy by 2005 if it is an existing operation and September 30, 2003 if it is a new operation.

3.3.2 Example for calculating the number of Nutrient Units on a Farm Unit that generates and receives manure and establishing the size:

A farmer has 1200 finishing pigs, 9000 laying hens, and 60 beef feeders raised from about 575 lbs. to 1250 lbs. He also receives 72 tons of dry-bedded poultry manure from the farm down the road. The entire farm is operated as one farm unit.

1200 finishing pigs ÷ 6 finishing pigs per NU = 200 NU

9000 laying hens ÷ 150 laying hens per NU = 60 NU

60 beef feeders ÷ 3 beef feeders per NU = 20 NU

Toal = 280 NU

Although the 72 tons of dry-bedded poultry manure that this farm receives must be included in the farm's nutrient management plan, it is not included in the calculation of the number of NU that the farm unit uses to determine if they are subject to the Regulation requirement to have a nutrient management strategy. This farm generates less than 300 NU so it would not be required to comply with the Regulation unless it was a new operation, or it expands it's production in the future to generate 300 NU or more.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 10 December 2003
Last Reviewed: 10 December 2003