Farmers call for greater flexibility on nitrates

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is calling for a strong scientific submission from An Teagasc to support necessary changes to the Nitrates regulations.

IFA president John Bryan has led a delegation of IFA national commodity chairmen to meet with Teagasc director Gerry Boyle and scientific experts to discuss the review of the Nitrates Regulations, and to ensure that Teagasc makes a strong scientific submission to Government that supports necessary changes to the nitrates regulations as part of the current review of the legislation.

Speaking after the meeting, John Bryan said: “Falling soil phosphorous levels in grassland continues to be a significant issue raised by farmers across the country. This is supported by the results of soil samples taken by Teagasc, which shows more than 50 per cent of samples have inadequate phosphorous levels to support grass growth. The IFA is calling for increased allowances in the regulation to support the build-up and maintenance of nutrients in soils. The agronomic case exists for this increased allowance and Teagasc must support this with strong scientific evidence.”

In the IFA’s submission to Government, its national environment and rural affairs chairman Harold Kingston has called for greater flexibility in the rigid calendar farming regime to allow farming to take place based on best agricultural and environmental conditions, as opposed to the date of the year.

He has also stressed the importance of the derogation for the future expansion of the sector, and the need to address the nutrient management challenges for the pigs and poultry sectors.

The submission also highlights the impact on the competitiveness of the tillage sector due to the ban on winter ploughing and the requirement to establish green cover, measures that are not imposed on farmers in other EU member states.

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