The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has reminded farmers that the date by which movements of manure off their farms this year must be declared is December 31.

All movements must be declared and verified by this date, by all farmers who have moved organic manure off their farm, including those who have applied for a nitrates derogation for 2023.

The department said that those applying for a nitrates derogation for next year have been given until December 31 to make the declaration due to the fact that some farmers have recently experienced flooding of storage tanks, and that they may need to move slurry to other tanks.

Moving slurry off farm is one of the measures all farmers can take to avoid exceeding the nitrates limits of 170kg of organic manure nitrogen (N) per hectare, or 250kgN/ha with a derogation.

Reducing livestock numbers and obtaining additional land are also actions that farmers can take in order to meet the nitrates requirements.

The movement of slurry off farm is seen as a key solution to offset the impending reduction of the derogation from 250kgN/ha to 220kgN/ha.

To that end, the department has proposed a 70% grant aid under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for slurry storage facilities for all farmers who have a contract in place to import slurry from other producers.

The measure was announced as part of the DAFM allocation for next year in Budget 2024.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue intends to engage with the European Commission on potential changes to TAMS, which could support the provision of additional slurry storage facilities for farmers importing slurry.

“The proposed grant aid of 70% would be available to all farmers, regardless of the sector, that have a contract in place to import slurry from other producers,” the department confirmed to Agriland earlier this month.