Over 7,000 farmers applied for a Nitrates Derogation in 2017

Some 7,010 farmers applied for a Nitrates Derogation in 2017, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed.

This represents an increase of 208 farmers, or a rise of 3% in the space of 12 months.

The Nitrates Derogation allows farmers to exceed the limit of 170kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations, up to a maximum of 250kg per hectare – subject to adherence to stricter rules.

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

Last week, farmers were alerted that they could access their Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) statements for the first nine months of the year on the department’s online system.

These statements allow farmers to plan for the remainder of the year, in order to ensure compliance with the limits of the Nitrates Regulations, the department explained.

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.

Any intensively-stocked farmers who are close to breaching these limits will also have been contacted by the department directly.

Farmers who wish to avail of the derogation are required to make an annual application and farm in accordance with a fertiliser plan and a number of other conditions.

A derogation is available to grassland farms on an individual basis and it only applies to grazing livestock on the holding. Derogation documentation is available on the department’s website.

Meanwhile, the department added that there are a number of farmers who do not apply for a derogation – but export slurry, rent extra land on a short-term basis or move stock on a temporary basis to stay within the 170kg limit.

These farmers are reminded that the appropriate forms should be submitted as soon as possible to the Nitrates Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford.

Forms can be returned by registered post or by email to: [email protected] Any farmer who needs more information can contact the nitrates helpline on: 053-9163444.