The closing date for submission of 2017 Nitrates Derogation applications has been extended by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The decision to extend the closing date until Thursday, April 13 was announced by the Department today.

The extension was announced in light of the significant interest in new derogation applications, according to the Department.

Nitrates Derogation applications can only be submitted online using the Department’s on-line facilities.

Farmers are advised to contact their agricultural advisor to determine if they should avail of this facility.

The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers, with the Department stating that almost 7,000 intensively-stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2016.

It is hoped the online system will simplify the application process and assist farmers to avoid penalties.

Farmers can also remain compliant with the regulations by managing their livestock numbers, exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land.

End-of-year Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for 2016 are available on the Department’s online system.

The Nitrates Derogation is available to grassland farms on an individual basis, according to the Department.

The derogation applies only to grazing livestock on the holding, it added.

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 conditions.

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 interested in applying will have to meet a number of eligibility criteria, which include:
  • You must be farming a holding that is at least 80% grass.
  • You must have grazing livestock – a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock.
  • You must make an annual online application to the Department in the format specified and by the specified date. No postal applications will be accepted.
  • You must not import livestock manure.

Derogation documentation is available on the Department’s website.