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

Part 5 - Nutrient Management Strategy for Agricultural Operations

Table of Contents

  1. Required Contents of a Nutrient Management Strategy (Part 3 of the Regulation)

5.1 Review and Renewal of a Nutrient management Strategy

A nutrient management strategy is a 5-year strategy that should be reviewed by the generator annually to ensure that it is still relevant and accurate. It is also necessary to identify and explain any deviation from the strategy in records that are kept of actual events. Part 11 of the Regulation sets out the requirements for record keeping and these are further detailed in Part 14 of the Protocol.

Some situations require that a nutrient management strategy be renewed earlier than five years: Regulation Part 3. These situations include:

  • there is a change in ownership or control of the farm unit that adversely affects the capacity of the farmer to implement the nutrient management strategy such as a change in type of livestock or the loss of some existing agreements;
  • the end of a year in which there is an increase of 20% or more in the quantity of nutrients generated in the course of the operation at the farm unit since the first year during which the strategy was in force;
  • a change in the use of nutrients generated in the course of the operation, including a change from applying the nutrients to the land to having an intermediate generator process them;
  • the loss of available destinations resulting in an amount of prescribed materials being generated that exceeds the amount that the strategy can accommodate;
  • the quantity of agricultural source material transferred to any single farm unit or non-agricultural operation increases by at least 30 nutrient units in one year, provided the increase is at least 10 per cent of the number of nutrient units transferred to the agricultural operation in the previous year.

It should be noted that it is also possible for a provincial officer or Director under the Act to issue an order under Section 29 or 30 of the Act requiring that the strategy be updated.

At least 90 days before the fifth anniversary of the date that approval was given to a nutrient management strategy, the farmer who owns or controls the agricultural operation being carried out at the farm unit must submit a new nutrient management strategy or in other words, a "renewed" strategy, for the Director's approval: Regulation, Part 4.

5.2 Required Contents of a Nutrient Management Strategy (Part 3 of the Regulation)

The nutrient management strategy is a subset of the printouts that NMAN can provide or the applicable sections of the workbook as well as the forms found in Part 15 of this protocol.

A completed nutrient management strategy would be available for inspection and must include:

  1. Farm unit information and identifier numbers
  2. Description of the operation
  3. Farm Unit declaration form including location, roll #, generator or not, name
  4. Agreements
  5. Farm unit sketch
  6. List of prescribed materials generated -manure/nutrient information (type, analysis etc)
  7. Analysis of nutrient content
  8. Destinations of nutrients generated
  9. Storage information- yearly amount, days of storage, amount remaining including storage sizing calculation
  10. Contingency plan
  11. Sign-off form

These requirements are explained in more detail below.

5.2.1 Farm Unit Information and Identifier Numbers

1. Farm Unit Information:

A regulated operation that generates less than 150 NU will not receive an "operation identifier" unless one is requested and the Director determines it is necessary to assign one. These farmers require operation identifiers only where they receive material from someone who is required to record an operation identifier, or transfer material to someone who is required to record an operation identifier. OMAF will be responsible for assigning operation identifiers.

2. Description of the Operation:

The description must give details about the general type of operation for which the nutrient management strategy is being prepared as well as the size of operation and the prescribed material being produced and/or received. It must include the name and contact information for the operator of the operation if that has not already been done using NMAN. The description should indicate whether the nutrient management strategy is new or a renewal.

3. Farm Unit Declaration Form:

For an agricultural operation only, a Farm Unit Declaration is required. It identifies the contact information for the farm unit operator and identifies the facilities and land base associated with the operation. The Farm Unit Declaration is described in Part 2 of this protocol and can be completed using the Farm Unit Declaration Form in Part 15 of this protocol. The farm unit must comply with the rules set out in Part 1 of the Regulation.

4. Agreements:

Any agreements required by the strategy must be signed and copies attached to the nutrient management strategy. There are two types of agreements recognized by the Regulation and they can be found in Part 15 of this Protocol. In addition, the Protocol has provided for a third type of agreement to address a situation where one person controls land application and another continues to farm the given parcel of land. The following agreements and any other agreement that establishes control of land within the farm unit need to be included in the strategy. The agreements are:

Broker Agreement

This agreement is required for a transfer from a generator who is required by the Regulation to have a nutrient management strategy to a broker, or, from a broker to a receiver who is required by the Regulation to have a nutrient management plan.

Each party to the agreement must have a signed copy.

Brokers must have the identifier of each generator or receiver who is subject to the Regulation and with whom they have an agreement, if an operation identifier has been previously assigned by the Ministry.

Nutrient Transfer Agreement

Where an owner /operator of one operation intends to have another person manage the prescribed materials s/he has generated, then a Nutrient Transfer Agreement is required to be executed by:

  • the generator of the prescribed material and the owner or controller of any other farm unit required to have a nutrient management plan under the Regulation or
  • intermediate operation to whom the prescribed material is transferred for management.

The agreement must include the identifier for the generator and the person to whom the material is transferred, if an operation identifier has been previously assigned by the Ministry. The agreement must also include – a statement setting out the quantity of prescribed material that is to be transferred.

This form indicates that nutrients are being transferred to or from a farm unit and implies that the nutrient management strategy and/or plan of each farm unit reflects that transfer. This form must be signed by the supplier and the receiver and must be included in the nutrient management strategy or plan for the supplier and the receiver of the agricultural source materials.

Application Agreement

An application agreement may be necessary if:

  1. the land is not part of the land base owned by the generator,
  2. the landowner or another person is still engaged in farming on the property, and
  3. the generator intends to manage the application of nutrients to the land.

The agreement demonstrates

  1. the landowner consents to the application; and
  2. for the duration of the agreement, the land that is the subject matter of the agreement is treated as part of the farm unit of the person applying the nutrients.

Therefore, the land must also be identified on the Farm Unit Declaration of the applier's farm unit.

5. Farm Unit Sketch:

Maps or sketches can be hand drawn, photos, or computer generated. A farm unit operator/controller may choose to do more than one sketch if it is not possible to show the land belonging to the farm unit on one sketch or if there is too much information for one sketch. NMAN has placeholders for scanned images or links to picture files. Every map or sketch should be neat and readable and be presented with the direction north to the top of the page, denoted by a north arrow.

The sketch must address the following items (either by including them or stating that they do not exist):

Location of the entire land base declared in the farm unit:
  • Land that is owned or controlled (rented or leased) or for which there is an Application Agreement
  • Road names, municipal boundaries, neighbours, and other local features
Location of generation facilities and storage(s):
  • Permanent, temporary and proposed generating facilities
  • Permanent, temporary and proposed storage facilities and sites
  • Dimensions of all generating and storage facilities and sites
  • Distance between facilities and lot lines
Distance to sensitive features within the farm unit and outside within regulated distances:
  • Known wells (includes gas, oil, test and water wells)
  • Municipal wells
  • Tile inlets
  • Surface water (as defined in Part 1 of the Regulation)
  • Other non-agricultural land uses

5.2.2 Inventory and Description of Prescribed Materials Generated and Received

6. List of Prescribed Materials Generated:

Every nutrient management strategy must have a summary of all the prescribed materials and volumes generated by the operation. The summary should identify whether each material is liquid or solid.

Note: when a farm that generates nutrients also receives nutrients, the receipt of the nutrients must be dealt with in the nutrient management plan.


All the calculations required to determine the volume of manure generated are done using the NMAN program or workbook, based upon the following rule:

Farm animal Numbers

"Farm animals" is defined in the Act as: "livestock, including poultry and ratites, fur-bearing animals, bees, cultured fish, deer and elk, game animals and birds or any additional animals, birds or fish prescribed by the regulations". For NU and manure storage calculations on new or expanding facilities the number of farm animals must be equal to or greater than the number determined using the Housing Capacity Guidelines (contained in NMAN software program) or documentation must be included indicating that the maximum housing capacity of the barn is less than the Housing Capacity Guidelines.

For existing facilities; NU and manure storage calculations are based on declared usage of the facility.

For all facilities, manure production (and consequent land base calculations) is based on declared housing usage of the facilities.

In all cases, a comprehensive, written explanation must be included if the declared housing usage is less than the maximum housing capacity of the barn.

Animal Weights

If the nutrient management strategy utilizes animal weights that are lower than the values provided by the Manure Storage Component (MSTOR) of NMAN, a comprehensive, written explanation must be included to justify the lower weights.

Manure Volume

The total volume of liquid or solid manure for each type of farm animal generated annually on the farm unit must be provided.

Other Prescribed Materials

The quantity of prescribed materials, other than manure generated at an operation must be listed using industry-specific documentation or records from previous time periods that can project the quantity to be produced over the time period to be covered by the nutrient management strategy.

7. Analysis of Nutrient Content:

A nutrient analysis for each of the prescribed materials listed in the nutrient management strategy must be provided. After preparation of the first nutrient management strategy then farm units generating more than 300 NU must always use a laboratory for the nutrient analysis. However for farms that are less than 300 NU the nutrient analysis can be determined either by conducting laboratory analysis or by applying the average values found in the NMAN databank. The NMAN databank depends on the type of prescribed material and the percentage of dry matter projected to be in the material. The laboratory analysis or the databank results, as the case may be, must be incorporated into the nutrient management strategy at least once every 5 years.

Sampling and Laboratory Analysis

Sampling and laboratory analysis must be conducted in accordance with Part 9 of the Regulation and the "Sampling and Analysis Protocol". If laboratory analysis produces results that vary by more than 30% of the NMAN databank values, documentation is required to justify the difference. It should be noted that management practices or feed additives could potentially alter the nutrient content of a farm animal's manure.

In cases where adequate documentation of the reasons for the variation in the nutrient content of the manure is not provided, the operator must follow one (or more) of the following options:

  1. Have the laboratory re-analyze the sample, to ensure the variation was not the result of lab error;
  2. Re-sample the manure, and have this sample analyzed; or
  3. If the operation is less than 300 NU, use the databank values for the appropriate manure type.
Feed Additives

If manure nutrients are modified due to the use of feed additives, adequate information must be attached to verify that the feed additive was actually used, and to verify the influence of the additive on the nutrient content of the manure. In addition, records must be maintained to confirm the continued use of the additive.

5.2.3 Description of Nutrient Destinations

8. Destinations

For all prescribed materials generated on the farm unit or other operation, a detailed, written description of their intended destination is required. The description should include:

  • the quantity and type of prescribed materials;
  • any applicable signed agreements
  • where prescribed materials are not intended to be used for nutrient purposes, the location and name of the destination of the materials; and
  • where prescribed materials are intended to be used for nutrient purposes, the location and name of the destination of the materials including a statement as to whether the materials are to be:
    • applied to land according to the nutrient management plan for the same farm unit under an Application Agreement, or
    • transferred to the nutrient management strategy of another farm unit under a Nutrient Transfer Agreement, or
    • transferred to another farm unit or operation which is not required to have a NMP or NMS under the Regulation, or
    • transferred to an intermediate operation by a Nutrient Transfer Agreement, or
    • transferred to a broker under a Broker Agreement.

5.2.4 Storage Information

9. Storage Facilities

Storage facilities on the farm units or operations must be listed. For each storage facility, a written description is required that gives the capacity, dimensions and type of storage (for example: circular, rectangle, pile, covered, exposed to precipitation). Nutrient storage facilities must comply with "Part VIII: Siting and Construction Standards" set out in the Regulation and the Construction and Siting Protocol, December 10, 2003.

5.2.5 Contingency Plan and Sign-off form

10. Contingency Plans

A written contingency plan is required to describe actions in the event the nutrient management strategy cannot be followed. See Part 11 of this Protocol for more detail on contingency planning.

11. Sign-off form

The "Nutrient Management Strategy or Plan Sign-off form" found in Part 15of this Protocol serves as a sign-off document for the farmer, the person who prepared the nutrient management strategy.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 10 December 2003
Last Reviewed: 10 December 2003