Land Base Requirements for New and Expanding Livestock Operations

Land base calculations estimate the total land required for the sustainable management of manure nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P, often expressed as P2O5 or fertilizer equivalent).  These estimates are for planning purposes only and should not be used to determine annual manure application rates.  Annual manure application rates should be established in the manure management plan. 
Land requirements are established during the Provincial technical review process for new and expanding livestock operations that are 300 animal units or greater in size.  Livestock technical review is administered by Municipal Government and can be found via the link below.
MAFRD has developed a land calculator to estimate the land requirements for livestock operations. The method used to calculate land base requirements in the MAFRD land calculator relies on a combination of farm-specific data entry, optional default values that can be changed by the user and fixed variables and calculations that cannot be changed. 
Farm-specific data entry includes: 
  • total number of livestock and poultry (places) for each type of livestock associated with the operation
  • type of manure storage structure
  • weight gain for growing animals, where appropriate
  • number of days the livestock place is occupied, where appropriate
  • realistic historical crop yields for each crop that will receive manure over the course of a rotation
  • acreages associated with each crop type over the course of a rotation

Nitrogen and P2O5 excretion rates for each livestock type were developed for Manitoba and are used to estimate N and P2O5 excretion for each herd or flock.  The development of these fixed variables considered the following:  

  • Manitoba Farm Practices Guidelines estimates of ammonia volatilization during manure storage
  • American Association of Agricultural Engineers estimates of manure production and characteristics
  • United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service agricultural waste characteristics
  • National Research Council nutrition requirements for pigs and dairy
  • Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s CowBytes beef ration balancing software program
  • Government of Canada 1983 Feeds Regulations (CFIA Table 4)
  • Manitoba Swine Nutrition 2013 Survey
  • Manitoba Cost of Production data for pigs
  • Typical Manitoba weights for each livestock and poultry type
  • Typical feeding practices in Manitoba including days on feed, quantity of feed consumed and N and P content of feeds
  • Various book values for N and P retained in live animals and animal products
Crop-specific N and P2O5 uptake and removal rates were adapted by MAFRD (2009) from nutrient uptake and removal ranges published by the Canadian Fertilizer Institute and the International Plant Nutrition Institute.  Removal of P2O5 from pasture by grazing cattle was adapted from published Manitoba research on cattle and forage productivity of pastures fertilized with pig manure.

MAFRD Land Calculator (EXCEL 93KB)
The MAFRD calculator is designed to be easy to use.  As such, the assumptions that went into the calculations are not accessible within the calculator itself.  More information on the data that were considered for each livestock category, crop nutrient removal rates and the land summary is provided via the links below. 
Background information for each tab in the calculator:
For more information or assistance with the MAFRD Land Calculator, contact:
Clay Sawka
Nutrient Management Specialist, MAFRD
Petra Loro
Livestock Environment Specialist, MAFRD
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, 2011. CowBytes Version 5.  Agdex420/52-5.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex12486
ASAE Standards, 2005.  D384.2 Manure Production and Characteristics.
Flaten, D.  2003.  The Risk of Phosphorus Transfer to Water from Manure Application onto Agricultural Land.  Presentation to the 46th annual MSSS Meeting, 2003. 
Lynch, P.B. and Caffrey P.J.  1997.  Phosphorus Requirements for Animal Production.  Pp. 283-296 In H. Tunney, O.T. Carton, P.C. Brookes and A.E. Johnston, eds. Phosphorus Loss from Soil to Water.  CAB International. Wallingford, UK. 
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.  2013.  Guidelines for Estimating Swine Farrow to Finish Costs Based on 500 Sows and 11920 Pigs Sold.
Manitoba Agriculture.  1998.  Farm Practices Guidelines for Hog Producers in Manitoba. 
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.  2009.  Manure Management Facts: Managing Manure within Tillage Systems and Crop Rotations.
National Research Council, 2001.  Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle: Seventh Revised Edition.  Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
National Research Council.  2012 Nutrient Requirements of Swine: Eleventh Revised Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
USDA,  2008.  Part 651 Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook (AWMFH), Chapter 4 Agricultural Waste Characteristics.
Wilson, C., Undi, M., Tenuta, M., Wittenberg, K. M., Flaten, D., Krause, D. O., Entz, M. H., Holley, R. and Ominski, K. H. 2010. Pasture productivity, cattle productivity and metabolic status following fertilization of a grassland with liquid hog manure: A three-year study. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 90: 233-243.