“Record keeping requirements under the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA) is one of the reasons why ManureTracker came about,” explains Trevor Wallace, nutrient management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
“Beyond that, every operation is keeping and sharing records. There is a lot of information used with the management of manure, so we created the app that is easy to use on a smartphone when the producer is on the tractor and in the field, so they can quickly collect, maintain and input data.”
To use ManureTracker, producers identify the location of their fields using Google Maps. Producers can then add any features in the field such as setbacks, their manure production information, their livestock, their manure storage as well as the location of that storage. The app can be used to store soil test or the manure test information, by either entering on a smartphone, computer or taking a picture of it.
“One of the biggest features of this app is its ability to share all that information,” says Wallace. “You can send a custom applicator an application request. They will know how to get to the field, the rate of manure you want spread, any key features you want to point out like setback and where the manure is stored.”
Custom applicator can transfer completed information back to the producer through the app.
“You can have a few people adding information about the manure application, when fields were tilled, soil information, and it goes back into the master record,” he adds. “In the end, you have one record with several different people contributing information that’s collected during the day to day operations of the farm.”
ManureTracker also collects and stores weather data using the Alberta Climate Information Service (ACIS) a few days before and after the manure application.
Wallace says that this feature was included for an agronomic-management point of view. “If you feel that the crop did not respond as well to that manure application, for example, you can go back and look at the weather data that was collected during that time and see if any environmental conditions affected the application.”
The app also calculates and provides the volume of manure - based on book values - produced by the operation, based on number and type of animals. This allows the producer to realize when storage is becoming full.
“Based on the application rate or the livestock you have, ManureTracker will tell you the nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur – you’re putting on your field,” adds Wallace. “It is keeping your records, but it is also providing additional information around the type of manure you have and the nutrient content, which goes to help plan and make decisions about spreading.”
ManureTracker was created through the partnership of Alberta Milk, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Pork, Intensive Livestock Working Group, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the Natural Resources Conservation Board.
Connect with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre:
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276)