Re: Manure on fields causes concern (Progress, Jan. 31)
In reply to Dr. Jennifer Wilson’s letter regarding farmers spreading on fields, I would like thank her for her interest in protecting the environment and our groundwater.
As a dairy farmer that has lived and farmed here most of my life and enjoyed our previously unchlorinated drinking water, amongst many other benefits of living in the beautiful Fraser Valley, I would like to point out a few facts. Almost all of the manure spread the last couple weeks were on well-grown winter wheat or other cover crops planted after corn was harvested in the fall.
Winter wheat becomes active at 5 degrees Celsius, cooler than grasses. Interestingly enough, some grass fields are starting to grow as well. We had a few days at over 10 degrees and the forecast was for more warm weather and no heavy rains. Two small applications of manure will be more effective as fertilizer with less runoff or leaching into the aquifer than one large application later in spring, when we are also more likely to get heavy rains.
Also important to note is that there are no commercial farms near the city’s water source, only developed land and subdivisions, some complete with septic systems. The reason that our water is so rigorously tested and results acted upon is from the Walkerton tragedy in 2000 which was much more of a failure of city officials than a pollution issue.