Cattle only nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) statements for the period of January 1 to October 31, 2022, are now available on the agfood website, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced.

The department said N and P statements are helpful for farmers when they are planning for the remainder of the year to ensure compliance with the limits outlined in the Nitrates Regulations.

The limits under the regulations allow 170kg of organic nitrogen per hectare, or 250kg/ha for those who hold an approved derogation license.

In a statement, the DAFM also stated that from March 9, 2022, a maximum stocking rate of 50kg organic nitrogen per ha on commonage will become effective, whilst a ban on the use of chemical nitrogen will also come into force.

Some of the actions suggested by the DAFM to avoid exceeding the nitrates limits include renting additional land, reducing livestock numbers, exporting slurry and declaring movements online.

The department also issued a reminder to farmers that the deadline to declare movements of organic manure off their holdings is fast approaching, on December 31, 2022.

All movements of organic manure must be declared and verified on the agfood website by this date.

Record four forms, for the temporary movement of animals, and record five forms, for short term grazing agreements, must also be submitted to the nitrates section by this date.

Earlier this week, there were calls for indefinite postponement of the cow banding proposal under the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP), which would come into effect in 2023.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) called on government ministers postpone the plan, stating that neither the department or farmers are prepared to implement the new regime.

“General confusion still reigns, many if not most farmers, still have only a vague understanding of what the new banding system will entail and what it means for their farm,” said ICMSA president Pat McCormack.