The Department of Agriculture has confirmed to AgriLand that it plans to issue approximately 8,800 text messages tomorrow to those herd-owners who were at 120 kgs Nitrogen per hectare or greater at the end of last month.
A spokesperson added that the Nitrogen and Phosphorus data is for cattle only. The figures are generated from the animal identification and movement system (cattle movements) and the single payment system (area).
The figures provided for these interim statements do not take into account any action taken by farmers to date to reduce nitrates loading. Besides exporting, farmers have other options to reduce their nitrates loading, including reducing stock numbers before the end of the year, or renting additional land.
Included in the 8,800 herd-owners are derogation farmers who can farm up to 250 kgs N per hectare and not 170 kgs, so the majority of them will be compliant.
Earlier today the Department confirmed that Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for the period 1 January to 30 September 2013 will be available on-line from tomorrow for all farmers registered with agfood.ie. These N&P statements are a valuable tool, especially for the more intensive farmers, and should assist them in deciding whether or not they need to change their farming practices before the end of the year to stay within the limits set down in the Nitrates Regulations.
Image fertiliser spreading on grassland. Photo O’Gorman Photography