Best management Practices
Across North America, ecologically sound agricultural practices are commonly called Best Management Practices, or BMPs. Some best management practices might include: using crop rotation, minimizing tillage, using cover crops or sod to keep the soil covered, intercropping, using manure and compost and avoiding commercial fertilizers, caring for animals humanely, feeding animals a natural diet appropriate for their species, minimizing pesticide use, using buffer strips and hedgerows to support beneficial insects, and integrating crop and livestock production.
In summary, BMPs are environmentally friendly techniques which support sustainable agriculture. They protect and conserve our water and soil so that the land will continue to be productive over the long term. To learn about some BMPs, check out the links below.
Buffer Strips (Best Management Practices Series) is an OMAFRA publication which is available at no cost through Service Ontario at 1-800-668-9938. It explains how buffer strips prevent sediment runoff and improve the health of streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes.
Buffers Protect the Environment is an Extension Note which describes several kinds of buffers and identifies sources to help you develop buffers on your property.
Best Management Practices: No Till – Making it Work is an OMAFRA publication which is available at no cost through Service Ontario at 1-800-668-9938. No-till is one of this century’s biggest breakthroughs in agricultural technology. It gives meaning to the term “sustainable agriculture”, because it is practical, profitable, maintains production targets, and protects soil and water quality on and off the farm.
Manure Management (Best Management Practices Series) is an OMAFRA publication which is available at no cost through Service Ontario at 1-800-668-9938. This book explains what’s in manure, how to mitigate concerns re: storage, odours and runoff, and how best to plan, set up and time its application.
Soil Management is a number of OMAFRA publications and fact sheets that are available at no cost through Service Ontario at 1-800-668-9938. The best management practices described in these publications stress the techniques and benefits of managing soils effectively in agricultural operations.
An Introduction to Organic Farming and Starting an Organic Farm are Fact Sheets available from OMAFRA that provide a thorough explanation of organic farming in Ontario. Crop Rotations on Organic Farms is a paper that discusses the history of crop rotation and the many benefits to organic farming such as increasing soil fertility and managing agriculture pests.
Field Crop Production is one of OMAFRA’s Best Management Practices Series. It is a detailed, broad-ranging view of crop production systems and how to improve their sustainability, yield, and economic viability is presented. The book lays out the basics of soil, nutrient and pest management, tillage systems, and conservation cropping and structures.
Adaptation and Use of Cover Crops is an OMAFRA fact sheet which explains the many functions of cover crops and how they play an important role in maintaining soil quality and productivity.
Integrated Pest Management (OMAFRA) focuses on methods which are the least harmful to the environment such as biological control, habitat manipulation, preventative measures and minimal use of pesticides.