Just over 6 weeks left for farmers to submit nitrates records

Farmers have been reminded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that they have just six weeks left to submit nitrates records for 2017.

These nitrates records must be submitted on or before December 31 of this year.

Nitrates records for the movement of organic fertiliser, the temporary movement of animals during the year or short-term rental grazing agreements (Records 3, 4, 5 Forms) must be submitted before the deadline closes.

Completed forms should be sent to the Nitrates Section, of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford.

These forms are particularly important for farmers wishing to avail of such agreements in order to ensure compliance with the limits of the Nitrates Regulations, the department explained.

Otherwise, penalties will apply to farmers who breach the limits of 170kg livestock manure nitrogen per hectare – or the 250kg limit for those who hold an approved derogation.

Some 7,010 farmers applied for a Nitrates Derogation in 2017, figures from the department show. This represents an increase of 208 farmers, or a rise of 3% in the space of 12 months.

Farmers were able to submit their derogation applications online in 2017 and the deadline for submissions closed on April 13.

Only records received before the deadline can be taken into account when calculating the nitrate levels for 2017, the department added.

Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for cattle only are available online for farmers who are registered with www.agfood.ie.

The aim of these statements is to assist farmers to keep within the limits outlined in the Nitrates Regulations.

As well as the statements available online, informational SMS text messages issue periodically to farmers registered to receive them from the department.