Farming groups welcome news of nitrates derogation extension

Irish farmer organisations have welcomed the announcement that a four-year extension has been granted for Ireland’s Nitrates Derogation.

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.


The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has welcomed the news with its president, John Comer, saying that the news was testament to the work of Irish officials. He also recognised the “huge efforts” that Irish dairy farmers in particular are already making to reduce their impact on the environment.

Comer said that the extension would enable farmers to go forward with some degree of predictability and stability when so many other factors were still undecided and ‘up in the air’.

“It’s a huge boost to our dairy farmers and testament to the negotiating skills of the officials responsible,” he said.


Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Joe Healy has said that the EU Commission decision yesterday to renew Ireland’s Nitrates Derogation will underpin the sustainable delivery of growth objectives in the Food Wise 2025 Strategy.

Speaking from a major conference on the strategy yesterday, Healy described the review as an important first step in addressing significant soil fertility issues, with increased phosphorous allowances for nutrient deficient soils.

He said this will support grass growth and reduce the need for additional concentrates to be used by farmers.

IFA environment chairman Thomas Cooney added that over the past 12 months, IFA has led a robust campaign here in Ireland – and in Brussels – to secure the necessary changes to make the nitrates regulation more workable for farmers.

“I particularly welcome the move by the departments of Agriculture and Local Government to achieve better compliance with the regulation, to reduce penalties imposed on farmers and to move to a more collaborative approach,” Cooney said.

The IFA expressed concern over the introduction of additional restrictions for those who avail of the derogation, and who wish to spread slurry, however.

Cooney said the additional costs associated with slurry management for farmers who spread after June 15 will require increased TAMS funding

Also, concerns regarding the transitional arrangements for pig and poultry farmers must be addressed over the coming weeks.