900 farmers notified of Nitrates breaches and payment deductions

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has notified more than 900 farmers around the country that they are breaching Nitrates regulations – with a resulting deduction to their direct payments.

In a statement on the matter to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said:

“The department conducts administrative checks annually to ensure compliance with maximum stocking rates prescribed in the Nitrates regulations of 170kg/N/ha; or for those who hold an approved derogation of 250kg/N/ha.

Over 900 farmers identified to date as having breached the limits have been notified of this and the resulting deduction to payments.

“Work is ongoing to identify those in breach of the regulations and further letters will issue in tranches from now to year end,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said that the department has “proactively highlighted” the opportunity for farmers to avoid these penalties by issuing press releases and text messages periodically to alert farmers when the nitrogen and phosphorus statements have been updated.

Measures farmers can take to reduce Nitrate levels include:
  • Exporting organic manure;
  • Renting additional land; or
  • The temporary movement of animals.

The deadline for submission of the Nitrate record form declaring these actions (Record 3, 4 and 5 forms) in relation to this year is Thursday, December 31, 2020, the department representative concluded.

Last week, the department announced that interim Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N and P statements) for the period January to August 2020 are now available on the department’s online ‘agfood’ system.

Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto: www.agfood.ie and clicking the ‘Register’ button.