Definitions for Frozen and Snow-covered Land

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 Purpose -- Define frozen and snow-covered land

Relevant Legislation -- Agricultural Operation Practices Act and Standards and Administration Regulation


This guideline provides definitions for frozen and snow-covered land as referred to in the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA). It also provides methods to determine if land is frozen or snow-covered.

These methods will help operators who are considering applying manure to identify whether the land is frozen or snow-covered.

Operators need to be aware of the regulations within AOPA regarding the spreading of manure on frozen or snow-covered land. If uncertain about whether land is frozen or snow-covered, operators should contact the NRCB for assistance.


  • Frozen land - the soil is impenetrable as a result of freezing temperatures, or more than one third of the top 15 cm (six inches) contains frozen soil water
  • Snow-covered land - more than 50 per cent of the field is covered by an average snow depth of more than 5 cm (two inches) from the ground surface
Methods to Determine Conditions

  • Frozen land: Use a shovel to determine penetrability. If the soil can be dug using a shovel, visually inspect the soil for frozen soil water. Repeat this test at several locations on the field that is being considered, in order to make a representative determination.
  • Snow-covered land: Visually examine the field for snow coverage and measure the depth of the snow. Conduct visual estimates and measurements at a number of locations across the entire field to make a representative determination.
For more information

Contact your nearest NRCB field office or an AF Agri-Environmental Extension Specialist (dial 310-0000 to be connected toll free)

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Ag Info Centre 310 FARM (3276)
Publications (780) 427-0391

Natural Resources Conservation Board
Fairview - closed, please contact Morinville.
Morinville (780) 939-1212
Red Deer (403) 340-5241
Lethbridge (403) 381-5166

This guideline was developed by the Technical Advisory Group, a partnership between Agriculture and Forestry, the Natural Resources Conservation Board and the agricultural industry.

Source: Agdex 096-70. February 2016.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Karen Yakimishyn.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on March 23, 2016.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 10, 2018.