Farmers who have exported slurry or farmyard manure this year are reminded that they must submit record of movement of organic fertiliser (Record 3) forms to the Nitrates Section, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle before the end of the year.

Making the call this week, the Department of Agriculture has highlighted that the deadline for receipt of forms is December 31.

According to the Department these records will be taken into account when the final stocking rate for each farm for 2014 is established.

Record 5 (Rental/grazing agreement) forms must also be submitted to the Nitrates Section before the end of the current year, if they are to be taken into account for nitrates credit purposes. The Record 5 form is used where lands are rented after the closing date for the Single Payment Scheme.

The Department of Agriculture says approximately 116,000 livestock farmers complied with the livestock manure limit in 2013. It says farmers should be aware that if the limits are breached twice within a three-year period their penalty will be trebled in accordance with regulatory requirements to protect the environment.

Farmers who are registered for can avail of the online system to view their Nitrates position for cattle to the end of September. Text messages were sent to farmers registered with the text messaging service in July and in October alerting them if they were approaching or exceeding the limits at that time.

The Department of Agriculture is also encouraging all farmers to review their stocking rate levels, in conjunction with an advisor if needed, and take appropriate action now to plan ahead for 2015. This may mean applying for a derogation, exporting slurry, renting extra land where available or reducing stock numbers.

It says farmers should consider applying for a derogation if their annual Nitrogen per hectare figure is 160kg or higher. Over 80% of derogation applications were received online in 2014. The Nitrates Derogation Application system will be fully online in 2015 and no postal applications will be accepted. Farmers and advisors should be taking soil samples now if considering applying for the derogation for the first time or where samples will not cover the 2015 fertiliser year.

Fertiliser Accounts for 2014 can now be submitted online. The form for completion is available on the Department of Agriculture website.