Department: Fertiliser register ‘subject to due consideration’

The issue of a “fertiliser register” – a list linking fertiliser purchases to farmers’ herd numbers – will be subject to due consideration as part of the review process into Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP), according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Confirming the news to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said:

“Ireland’s current Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) concludes in 2021.

The process of reviewing the Nitrates regulations and derogation has commenced. The initial consultation closed on January 15, 2021, and a second consultation will open shortly.

“100 submissions were received as part of the first consultation and these will be considered by the Nitrates Expert Group and will guide the second consultation process.”

The department highlighted that the European Commission has noted “hotspots” – specific areas where nutrient losses need to be reduced – in its recommendations to Ireland for the Irish Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan. This could be on a county-by-county basis.

“From a National perspective, nutrient and notably nitrogen management is a key theme both in the recently launched ‘AgClimatise’ strategy but also is being recognised by the EU Commission in their recommendations to Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan,” the department said.

Chemical fertiliser is recognised as a key input to the agricultural production system and the issue of a ‘Fertiliser Register’ has been highlighted and will be subject to due consideration as part of the review process this year.

According to the authority, the purpose of the Nitrates regulations is to give effect to Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme for the protection of waters against pollution caused by agricultural sources.

“The set of measures in these regulations provides a basic level of protection against possible adverse impacts to waters arising from the agricultural sources,” the department says.