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

Part 7 - Nutrient Management Plans

Table of Contents

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

7.1 Review and Renewal of a Nutrient Management Plan

A nutrient management plan should be reviewed by the farm unit operator annually to ensure that it is still relevant and to recognize and explain any difference between the projections in the nutrient management plan and the records kept of actual events.

All nutrient management plans must be renewed every five years. Renewal means to make amendments to the nutrient management plan to reflect the events of the last five years and to prepare for the next five years. Some situations require that a nutrient management plan be renewed earlier than five years: Regulation, Part 3. These situations include:

  • the end of a year in which there is an increase of 20% or more in the quantity of prescribed materials stored or applied to land at the farm unit since the first year during which the plan was in force
  • the end of a year in which, due to a change in the cropping system at the farm unit there is a decrease of 20% or more in crop removal of nitrogen and phosphorus provided by the nutrients received since the first year during which the plan was in force
  • the farm unit for which the nutrient management plan is prepared has a decrease in land available for the application of prescribed materials, of more than 10% amounting to a decrease of at least 10 hectares since the first year during which the plan was in force.

It should be noted that 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 plan be updated.

7.2 Required Contents of a Nutrient Management Plan (Regulation Part 3)

See Part 5 of the Protocol for descriptions of each of the components listed below as they will have already been completed if a strategy was prepared.

7.2.1 Components of the Plan in Common with the Strategy

  • Farm Unit Information
  • Farm Unit Declaration Form
  • Description of Operation
  • Agreements
  • Farm Unit Sketch
  • Storage Information
  • Contingency Plans
  • Sign-off form

7.2.2 Nutrient Information

Prescribed Materials Applied to Land in the Farm Unit

For all prescribed materials destined to be land applied on this farm unit, the nutrient management plan must include the following information:

  • type of prescribed material segregated into liquid or solid. With respect to prescribed materials, the Regulation describes "solid" as ...having a dry matter content of 18% or more or a slump of 150 millimetres or less using the Test Method for the Determination of Liquid Waste (slump test) set out in Schedule 5 to Regulation 347 made under the Environmental Protection Act
  • quantity of prescribed material;
  • nutrient analysis of the prescribed material

If prescribed materials are received, the nutrient management plan must include:

  • date received; and
  • identifier number of the source of the prescribed materials, if applicable.
Analysis of Nutrient Content

All nutrient analysis are to be performed according to Part 9 of the Regulation and the Sampling and Analysis Protocol. Further, all prescribed materials intended for land application must meet the nutrient quality standards set out in Part 9 of the Regulation and Part 13 of this Protocol.

In addition, the following should be provided in nutrient management plans:

  • the guaranteed analysis for total nitrogen, available phosphorus and soluble potash of all commercial fertilizers used;
  • the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content for all prescribed materials;
  • if a laboratory nutrient analysis is supplied for a prescribed material, then it must have been completed within the previous 5 years;
  • the nutrient content of a laboratory nutrient analysis for manure (Note: if the nutrient content varies by more than 30% of the NMAN data bank averages, documentation must be included explaining any differences).

7.2.3 Field Information

A field can be broken down into sections to reflect individual management zones. Each field is considered to include at least one section. Information pertaining to the following three components as set out in Table 4.4.1: Identifying components required in nutrient management strategies and nutrient management plans must be included for every field section identified in the nutrient management plan. All land identified in the farm unit must be included in a field section if prescribed materials are to be applied to this land during the nutrient management plan period.

Field Properties

The following field properties must be provided in the nutrient management plan for each field identified in the farm unit: 

  1. The total tillable area for each field.
  2. The total tillable area available for nutrient application.  Note: this is determined by subtracting the area not available for nutrient application due to required setbacks from the total tillable area for each field.
  3. The percentage of slope near the surface water if the field is within 150 metres of surface water.
  4. A statement as to whether the field is tile drained.
  5. The maximum sustained field slope.
  6. The minimum depth to saturated soil conditions.
  7. Predominant soil series and soil texture for the field.
  8. A statement as to whether surface water is adjacent or contained within    the field.
Field Sketch

Many of the field properties are required in the format of a sketch for each field in the farm unit. The sketch must address the following field components:

  • field identifier (from Farm Unit Declaration)
  • sections within the field, if the field has more than one section, including individual field locations and boundaries
  • identify the presence of tile drains
  • as set out in Part 9 of this Protocol, Common Land Application Requirements, the following features must also be included on the sketch (or where the features do not exist, a statement indicating this must be included):
    • the location of all surface water,
    • the location of non-agricultural land uses,
    • the location of any municipal wells within 100 metres of the field boundary
    • if land applying biosolids, the location of all other known wells within 90 metres of the field boundary
    • if land applying only agricultural source material, the location of all other known wells within 30 metres of the field boundary,
    • the minimum depth to saturated soil conditions,
    • the maximum sustained slopes within 150 metres of the top of bank of all surface water and any separation distances required due to the Phosphorus Index, and
    • show the separation distances for surface water required to meet the regulatory requirements.
Soil Sampling and Analysis

Soil sampling and analysis is to be performed according to Part 9 of the Regulation, the Sampling and Analysis Protocol, and Part 13: Nutrient Quality of this Protocol.

7.2.4 Cropping Practices

Crop Rotation and Yields

The following information is required for each field in the nutrient management plan:

  • crop rotation for the duration of the nutrient management plan;
  • expected planting and harvest dates;
  • expected crop yields for the duration of the nutrient management plan; and
  • previous years' crops
Yield Documentation for Continuous Cropping

Documentation supporting stated yields is required for fields where the same crop is grown continuously for 3 or more years on the same field and the estimated yield exceeds township averages. The township averages are in NMAN.

Yield Documentation for High Yields

Documentation supporting stated yields is required for fields where the estimated crop yields exceeds 120% of the township average and/or provincial average.

Tillage Practices

The following information must be included for all fields in the nutrient management plan, where a calculation of the Phosphorus Index is required:

  • tillage method;
  • tillage practice;
  • expected time of incorporation, if incorporated; and
  • length of slope.

7.2.5 Nutrient Application

Commercial Fertilizer Application

All liquid and solid commercial fertilizer applied must be identified for the entire duration of the nutrient management plan. This includes, but is not limited to: starter, pop-up, side-dressed, broadcast, banded, foliar, fertigated, incorporated or unincorporated applications.

For each application, the application date, incorporation method and amount of nutrient application must be identified.

Note: Potassium is included in NMAN for agronomic purposes only.

Application of Prescribed Materials and Limits

For each prescribed material listed in section 7.2.2 above, "Prescribed Materials Applied to Land in the Farm Unit" the nutrient management plan must identify the following for the entire duration of the nutrient management plan:

  • prescribed material type and form;
  • expected application date;
  • application method;
  • timing for incorporation; and
  • application frequency;

7.2.6 Nutrient Application Rates

A rate of application for each prescribed material intended to be applied to land must be determined for each part of the land managed in the farm unit (for example: each field, group of fields or field section). Application rates are based on many factors including: the characteristics of the land, and cropping and nutrient information set out in the nutrient management plan. The application rates also are balanced using the agronomic and crop removal balances as described below.

Note: Each of the components in this section apply to agricultural source materials, non-agricultural source materials and commercial fertilizers and must be calculated in accordance with Part IX – Nutrient Quality Standards of the Regulation.

Agronomic and Crop Removal Balance of Nitrogen

To determine the limits for nitrogen application you must calculate the Agronomic Balance and if needed Crop Removal Balance as set out below:

  • Agronomic Balance: Agronomic Balance is the total available nitrogen from all applied nutrients minus crop production requirements (OMAF crop fertilizer recommendations).
  • Crop Removal Balance: Total available nitrogen minus the nitrogen removed from the field with the crop when it is harvested.
Nitrogen Index

The N-Index is a tool for limiting nitrate nitrogen movement below the root zone in agricultural fields. It assesses the vulnerability of nutrient management practices with respect to the movement of nitrates in groundwater. It is based on nutrient management practices and characteristics of the soil.

There are two triggers that require the completion of the N-Index:

  • Nitrogen in any form is applied in excess of  the agronomic balance + 17kg/ha or the crop removal balance + 34 kg/ha ; or
  • Nitrogen is applied in the fall after crop harvest (in many cases there are exemptions that allow the fall value to default to zero).
 Agronomic and Crop Removal Balance for Phosphorus

To determine the limits for phosphorus application you must calculate the Agronomic Balance and if needed Crop Removal Balance as set out below:

  • Agronomic Balance: Agronomic Balance is the total available phosphorus from all applied nutrients (which is 40% of the total phosphorus in organic materials in the year it is applied) minus the crop production requirements (OMAF crop fertilizer recommendations).
  • Crop Removal Balance: Total available phosphorus (which is assumed to be 80% of the total phosphorus in organic material applied because it includes more than the prescribed materials for the present year and phosphorus becomes available over time for use by future crops) minus the phosphorus removed from the field with the crop when it is harvested.
Phosphorus Index

The P-Index must be completed for each part of the land that has a soil test phosphorus or available phosphorus level greater than 30 mg per litre. The P-Index results are used to determine separation distance requirements from surface water for phosphorus application.  The P-Index is a tool for limiting phosphorus movement into surface water from agricultural fields and is to be completed using the NMAN Workbook, the NMAN computer program or OMAF Factsheet 98-079.

Common Land Application Setback/Limits Regulation Part 6

The following land application standards must be applied to determine the application rate and land available for application for each field or section. The requirements are in the individual provisions of Part 6 of the Regulation indicated below and Part 9 of this Protocol:

  • liquid prescribed application rates:
    • setbacks from wells:
      • setbacks from surface water
  • winter spreading limits:
    • requirement for 30 cm of unsaturated soils

7.2.7 Land Base Information

Demonstration of Adequate Land Base

The nutrient management plan must demonstrate that a sufficient land base exists for the application of all the nutrients identified for land application to the farm unit so that none of the allowable application rates is exceeded and all of the setbacks are met.

Complete Nutrient Management Plan

Only those parts of a nutrient management plan that are required to demonstrate compliance will have to be submitted for approval or kept on file. The nutrient management plan that is required to be available for inspection and submitted for approval or certification should include, as necessary in the circumstances:

  • sign-off form
  • farm unit declaration form
  • copies of agreements
  • farm unit sketch
  • field sketches
  • soil test results
  • contingency plan
  • any additional documentation required for the nutrient management plan (such as yield documentation)
  • printouts from the NMAN program or workbook on the following:
    • farm unit information
    • for each farm property, a Farm Information sheet (location, roll #, a statement whether a generator or not, name)
    • manure/nutrient source summary
    • manure/nutrient information (type, analysis etc)
    • storage information (yearly amount, number of days of storage, amount remaining, and so on)
    • manure/nutrient application graph (tracks total (all types), amount remaining) or other means to demonstrate that an adequate land base is available to match storage capabilities
    • manure/nutrient application summary (for each field/section, the rate, amount, method, setback)
    • manure storage sizing calculations
    • field summary (field identifier, soil information, area, crop type, number of nutrient applications)
  • NMAN flag summary.

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