Farmers concerned with the possibility of new regulations to prevent the run-off of nutrients could get some hope from a study into conservation tillage methods.
The four-year University of Waterloo project combines alternate ways of working the soil with the use of cover crops and the selective application of nutrients.
Associate Professor Merrin Macrae says the farmers involved with the study have reduced their phosphorus run-off to less than half a pound per acre.
She says that number should make it possible to reduce the number and severity of algae blooms in the lakes, buts warns it could take a while because of the amount of nutrients already in the ground that will continue to seep into the waterways.
Macrae also notes that different soils react differently, so there is no single solution to cover farms across the province.
“I think certainly the innovative people we are working with are definitely at or near the targets that we hope to achieve so I think we can use what these people are doing on their farms as an example of how we can get there,” says Macrae.
“Where you plant the seed is where you want (the phosphorus), it’s where it needs to be when the plant needs it.”