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Land Application of Crops and By-products with Elevated DON Levels

Land Application of Crops and By-products with Elevated DON Levels

Some corn harvested in Ontario this year has concentrations of toxins from moulds that are elevated to levels that are too high to be used in animal feed.  This could lead to questions about what can be done with this corn, either prior to or after processing.  Land application is a possibility.

The following rules apply to corn or corn by-products that have been processed or aggregated so that the resulting material includes corn from more than one farmer.  These materials can be land applied as a Category 1 NASM.

Land Application

These materials can be land applied for their nutrient value, but they do have the potential to be odourous.  Land application would be subject to the following limitations:

Application rate

Category 1 NASM can be land applied at a rate of up to 20 wet tonnes per hectare (8.9 tons per acre) without analyzing the material or the soil.

Caution should be exercised at the higher end of this range, as the high protein content of the distillers grains could lead to excess nitrogen applications.

Application rates of greater than 20 wet tonnes per hectare are possible, but both the soil and the material (i.e. distiller’s grains) must be analyzed for nutrients and metals, and the application rate would be limited by the ability of the crop to utilize the nutrients applied.

Land Application Setbacks

The following minimum application setbacks from wells must be maintained when applying the material:

  • 15 metres from a drilled well that is a minimum of 20 metres deep with a watertight casing to at least 6 metres below ground.
  • 100 metres from a municipal well.
  • 30 metres from all other wells.

The following minimum application setbacks from surface water must be maintained when applying the material:

  • 20 metres from the top of bank, or
  • This distance can be reduced to as little as 3 metres if certain conditions are met.  Refer to Ontario Regulation 267/03, Section 52(7) for details.

The following minimum application setbacks from neighbours must be maintained when applying the material:

  • No application is allowed within 25 metres of a dwelling
    • Between 25 and 90 metres from the dwelling, the material must be incorporated within 6 hours
  • No application is allowed within 50 metres of the property line of a residential area (a group of four houses, each lot less than one hectare), or an area of commercial, community or institutional use (for instance a store, a town hall or a school)
  • Between 50 and 450 metres from the property line, the material must be incorporated within 6 hours

Winter Application

  • Land application of Category 1 NASM in winter conditions (either December 1st to March 31st, or any time that the field is snow covered or frozen) is possible in some situations, but is not recommended. 
  • If necessary, refer to Ontario Regulation 267/03, Section 52.5 (5) and 52.5 (6) for the detailed restrictions for land application.
  • If there is less than 50 cm of soil over bedrock, there is no application allowed from December 1st to March 31st, or any time that the field is snow covered or frozen.

Other land application restrictions

  • No application unless there is at least 30 cm of unsaturated soil at the surface of the land.
  • No application unless there is at least 30 cm of soil over bedrock. 
  • No grazing is allowed for at least 3 weeks.  If you want to graze the field, consult your veterinarian or livestock specialist regarding grazing material with elevated DON levels.

Storage

Permanent storage

Category 1 NASM can be stored in a permanent nutrient storage facility that was built after June 30, 2003 in accordance with the Nutrient Management regulations.

Temporary Field Storage Site

Solid Category 1 NASM can be stored in a temporary field nutrient storage site.  If temporary field storage is required, refer to Ontario Regulation 267/03, Sections 82 - 86 for the detailed site requirements and management options.

Read the field crop news article to get information on options for corn from individual farmers.

Reviewed 11/12/2018

Contact

Business Development Centre
University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
120 Main St. E
Ridgetown, ON N0P 2C0