Beneficial Management Practices: Environmental Manual for Livestock Producers in Alberta

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About this BMP Manual Series

What is a Beneficial Management Practice or “BMP”?

  • A BMP is defined as any management practice that reduces or eliminates an environmental risk.
  • BMPs are site-specific practices that take into consideration legislation, practicality and operational needs for a specific operation.
What is the BMP Series?
This manual series covers all aspects of environmental risks for a farm operation.

The manuals include: To obtain any of the BMP Manuals, contact:
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Publications Office
7000-113 Street
Edmonton, AB T6H 5T6
Phone: 1-800-292-5697
or visit

For more information
If you have comments or questions about this manual or would like more information about beneficial management practices (BMPs), you can e-mail or call the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (310-3276) between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm MT (Monday to Friday). If calling from out of province, call 1-403-742-7901.

BMP Series
Operational PracticeAppropriate BMP Manual
Cropping PracticesCropping
Disposal Sites for Mortalities Farmstead
Emergency Farm Plan Farmstead
Energy Efficiency Cropping, Farmstead
Environmental Considerations All
Environmental Legislation All
Environmental Pathways and Receptors (Water, Soil, Air,
Humans, Livestock)Farmstead, Livestock, Cropping,
Farmstead Waste Management Disposing of Animal Health Care Products Disposing of Veterinary WastesCow/Calf, Farmstead
Feed and Feed Storage Cow/Calf, Cropping
Fertilizer Storage, Handling and ApplicationCow/Calf, Cropping, Farmstead
Fuel Storage and HandlingCow/Calf, Cropping, Farmstead
Grazing Management Cow/Calf
Household Wastewater ManagementFarmstead
Land Base Management Cow/Calf, Livestock, Cropping
Livestock and Poultry Mortalities Cow/Calf, Farmstead
Manure Management Cow/Calf, Livestock
Manure Storage and Composting OperationsCow/Calf, Farmstead, Livestock
Nuisance Management/Community RelationsAll
Pest and Predator ManagementCow/Calf
Pesticide Storage, Handling and ApplicationCow/Calf, Cropping, Farmstead
Silage Cropping, Farmstead
Soil Risks Cropping
Surface Water Management Farmstead, Livestock
Water Management Cow/Calf, Farmstead
Wildlife Habitat Cropping


This manual was prepared for Alberta producers to create a greater understanding of activities and strategies to reduce environmental risks and social concerns. It was written as a reference document based on the best available information from industry, government and interested stakeholders.

While the authors have made every effort to ensure this manual is accurate, current and complete, it should not be considered the final word on areas of law and practices covered. Individuals should seek the advice of appropriate professionals and experts as each situation may differ from those set out in the manual. Laws and guidelines are also subject to periodic updates and should be referred to regularly. Individuals should not extract portions of this publication, nor draw inferences, without considering all aspects of the livestock operation.

The guidelines in this manual should not be adopted literally into policies or legislation in whole or in part by any level of government. All information (including descriptions of or references to products, persons, websites, services and publications) is provided entirely as is, and the authors make no representations, warranties or conditions, either expressed or implied, in connection with the use of or reliance on this information. This information is provided to the recipient entirely at the risk of the recipient, and because the recipient assumes full responsibility, the publishers shall not be liable for any claims, damages or losses of any kind based on any theory of liability arising out of the use of or reliance on this information (including omissions, inaccuracies, typographical errors and infringement of third-party rights).


Developed by:
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

The committee who prepared this manual gratefully acknowledges:
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Technical Reviewers:
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Agri-Environmental Services Branch
    Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
    Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association
    Alberta Chicken Producers
    Alberta Egg Producers
    Alberta Milk
    Alberta Pork
    Natural Resources Conservation Board
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Chapter 1. Introduction (633 Kb)
  • 1.1 Legislation
  • 1.2 What’s in this Manual?
  • 1.3 Themes
  • 1.4 Manure as a Resource
  • 1.5 Other Biological Materials
  • 1.6 Manure Issues
  • 1.7 Agriculture’s Response
Chapter 2. Manure - The Basics (788 Kb)
  • 2.1 Physical Properties
  • 2.2 Biological Properties
  • 2.3 Chemical Properties of Odours and Gases
  • 2.4 Contaminants from Manure
  • 2.5 Manure Management as a System
Chapter 3. Managing Manure Storage and Collection Areas (177 Kb)
  • 3.1 Site Considerations
  • 3.1.1 Groundwater Contamination Risks
  • 3.1.2 Surface Water Contamination Risks
  • 3.1.3 Odour Risks
  • 3.2 Manure Storage Design Considerations
  • 3.2.1 Storage Capacity
  • 3.2.2 Manure Storage Systems
  • 3.2.3 Loading and Emptying of Liquid Storages
  • 3.3 Management Practices for Manure Storage
  • 3.3.1 Maintenance and Monitoring
  • 3.3.2 Odour
  • 3.3.3 Fly Control
  • 3.4 Temporary Shutdown and Decommissioning of a Manure Storage
Chapter 4. Manure Treatment (237 Kb)
  • 4.1 Anaerobic Digestion
  • 4.2 Solid-Liquid Separation
  • 4.2.1 Separation Techniques
  • 4.2.2 Implications of Implementing Solid-Liquid Separation
  • 4.3 Composting
  • 4.3.1 Composting Techniques
  • 4.3.2 Composting Regulations
Chapter 5. Manure Transportation (170 Kb)
  • 5.1 Transportation Risks and Considerations
  • 5.1.1 Reducing Manure Spillage Risks
  • 5.1.2 Emergency Spill or Accident Plans.
  • 5.2 Transportation Costs
  • 5.2.1 Maximizing the Value of Manure.
Chapter 6. Nutrient Management Planning (228 Kb)
  • 6.1 Managing Nutrients in Manure
  • 6.1.1 Manure Nutrient Availability
  • 6.1.2 Managing Nutrient Losses and Risks
  • 6.2 Nutrient Use Efficiency
  • 6.3 Field Assessment
  • 6.4 Soil Sampling and Testing
  • 6.5 Put Your Manure to the Test
  • 6.5.1 Recommended Practices for Sampling Manure
  • 6.5.2 Interpreting Manure Test Results
  • 6.6 Manure Inventory – Determine Manure Production Information
  • 6.7 Crop Nutrient Requirements
Chapter 7. Manure Application (243 Kb)
  • 7.1 Land Application
  • 7.1.1 Manure Application Technology
  • 7.2 Calibration and Maintenance of Manure Application Equipment
  • 7.3 Bio-Security and Equipment Cleaning
  • 7.4 Timing of Manure Application
  • 7.4.1 Seasonal Timing of Application
  • 7.4.2 Timing Application to Fit Weather Conditions
  • 7.5 Soil Compaction
  • 7.6 Odour Control During Application
  • 7.7 Manure Application Safety
  • 7.8 Manure Application Tips
  • 7.8.1 Tips for Applying Manure on Forages
  • 7.8.2 Tips for Applying Manure After Cereal Harvest.
  • 7.8.3 Tips for Improving Manure Application Uniformity
  • 7.9 Summary of BMPs for Application
  • 7.10 Calculating Manure Application Rates
  • 7.11 Record Keeping
Chapter 8. Surface Water Management (161 Kb)
  • 8.1 Runon and Runoff Flow
  • 8.2 Runoff Volume
  • 8.3 Runon Management
  • 8.4 Runoff Management
  • 8.4.1 Runoff Control Options
Chapter 9. Building Good N eighbour Relationships (155 Kb)
  • 9.1 Critical Issues for Good Neighbour Relationships
  • 9.1.1 Odour
  • 9.1.2 Flies
  • 9.1.3 Dust
  • 9.2 Minimizing Complaints
  • 9.3 Preventing and Resolving Conflict
  • 9.4 Dealing with Complaints over Nuisance Issues
Chapter 10. For More Information (97 Kb)
  • 10.1 Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
  • 10.2 Natural Resources Conservation Board
  • 10.3 Publication Sources
  • 10.4 References for Environmental Management Topics
  • 10.4.1 General
  • 10.4.2 Nutrient Management Planning
  • 10.4.3 Manure-Related Issues
  • 10.4.4 Manure Production
  • 10.4.5 Manure Treatment
  • 10.4.6 Land Application
  • 10.4.7 Soil and Manure Sampling
  • 10.4.8 Calculators and Software Tools
  • 10.4.9 Manure Markets
  • 10.5 AOPA Legislation
  • 10.5.1 Act and Regulations
  • 10.5.2 Codes
  • 10.5.3 Technical Guidelines
  • 10.5.4 Standard Factsheets on AOPA
Appendix: Metric-Imperial Conversion Formulas (212 Kb)

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Source: Agdex 400/28-2. April 2010.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Michelle McKinnon.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on April 22, 2010.