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 and require Conditional Use approval.  Livestock technical review is administered by Municipal Government.
Manitoba Agriculture has created a land calculator to estimate the land requirements for livestock operations. The method used to calculate land base requirements in the Manitoba Land Calculator (Excel 148 KB) (Revised February 19, 2020)  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

The fixed variables related to livestock production 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 literature values for N and P retained in live animals and animal products
Crop-specific N and P2O5 uptake and removal rates were adapted by Manitoba Agriculture from nutrient uptake and removal ranges published by Fertilizer Canada and the (now defunct) 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.

Manitoba Land Calculator (EXCEL 148 KB) 
Revised February 19, 2020
References (PDF 527 KB)

Additional Reading (PDF 28 KB)
For more information or assistance with the Manitoba Land Calculator, contact:
Clay Sawka
Agri-Ecosystems Specialist -Manure Management  Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development
Petra Loro
Agri-Ecosystems Specialist - Livestock Environment Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development