The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has announced that farmers and their agents can now submit 2015 Nitrates Derogation applications using the Department’s online facilities.

The Nitrates Derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, subject to certain conditions.

The Minister said the derogation, secured by Ireland in 2014 for a four-year period, is an important facility for many farmers and should be considered by all farmers that are farming at higher stocking rates, in conjunction with their advisor.

“The online application process, which is now in its third year of operation, brings many advantages, including reduced errors and immediate confirmation of receipt of the application.”

He strongly advised farmers and agents to submit applications earlier rather than later to ensure that any issues that may arise can be dealt with in a timely manner.

Minister Coveney noted that 83% of applications were received online for 2014 and confirmed that applications can only be submitted using the online facility for 2015.

The closing date for applications is March 31, 2015. Derogation documentation is available on the Department’s website.

The Minister also highlighted the requirement that derogation farmers have valid soil samples for every 5ha of land and emphasised the cost savings that can be made by soil sampling and good nutrient planning on such farms.

The Minister encouraged farmers to discuss their stock plans for 2015 with their local agricultural advisor who will help them determine the best management plan for the coming year.

The Department have recently provided training for about 500 agricultural advisors in cross compliance requirements including the derogation and the full listing is available at on the Department’s website.

Minister Coveney encouraged farmers that expect to exceed the stocking rate limit in 2015 to apply for this Derogation or take other remedial action and thereby avoid penalties being applied to their scheme payments.

End of year Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for 2014 will be available, as in previous years, at the end of January on the ‘’ online system. Farmers who exceeded the limits in 2014 will be advised in writing of this in early February.

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