Today, the provincial government took aim at pig producers once more in the war on phosphorus. On behalf of its 600 producer members, Manitoba Pork Council must reiterate that pig producers are not public enemy number one. They are part of the solution. 

The government has pledged to “keep hog manure out of the lake,” with a newly packaged three-point plan.

But pork producers are not the villains in the story. The Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board information indicates that all of agriculture in the watershed contributes just 15% of the phosphorus going into the lake, and pork production accounts for 1.5% of that. 

To do our part in protecting Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba Pork has repreatedly stated that addressing excess phosphorus (P) is a clear priority. This is evident in the long-term sustainability strategy Embracing a Sustainable Future, released in March 2011. No fewer than 15 of its commitments address protection of water, and most of those are aimed at reducing the potential for P runoff from soils. By law, producers are not allowed to let manure run off into waterways. 

Manitoba Pork has put these and several other steps it is taking to address phosphorus into one document, called “Plan P.” Following are several key points: 

1. Asking the provincial government to join Manitoba Pork in persuading the federal government to end its requirement that phosphorus be added to all animal feed. This will reduce the phosphorus in the manure applied as a crop nutrient (addressing feed ingredients and feed efficiency); 

2. Applying manure at rates suitable to match the needs of the crop; 

3. Either injecting the manure 4-5 inches below the soil surface, or surface applying and cultivating immediately to work it into the soil; 

4. Ending the former practice of applying manure onto frozen soils in winter (only a few small producers still do this); 

5. Adopt new manure handling methods and technologies such as solid-liquid separation.

Manitoba’s pig producers …Thinking globally. Acting locally. 

For more information, contact:

Kelly Funke, Manager,
Communications and Media Programs
Manitoba Pork Council
(204) 235-2303/(204) 791-6395
[email protected]